Red Wolves to Watch

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Red Wolves to Watch

Omar Bayless (7), Photo courtesy of Arkansas State Athletics
Omar Bayless (7), Photo courtesy of Arkansas State Athletics

OMAR BAYLESS (WR, #7)

Arkansas State has a corps of dangerous wide receivers including returning Sun Belt Conference Newcomer of the Year Kirk Merritt, who caught 83 passes for 1,005 yards in the Red Wolves’ 8-5 2018 season. However it was Omar Bayless, a 6-3, 207-pound redshirt senior, who tied the school record in an opening 37-30 loss to SMU by pulling in four touchdown passes from quarterback Logan Bonner. The Bulldog secondary will have to be on point defending Bayless and Merritt as well as another talented wideout, Brandon Bowling (#32), who caught a career-high 12 passes against SMU.

LOGAN BONNER (QB, #12)

And getting the ball to the Red Wolves receivers is redshirt junior quarterback Bonner. Making his first career start against SMU, all the 6-1, 215-pound Bonner did was to complete 32-of-50 passing attempts for 324 yards and the four touchdowns to Bayless … with 265 of those yards coming in the second half. Georgia’s defensive front and linebackers must bring the pressure on Bonner come Saturday at high noon.

KIRK MERRITT (WR, #13)

As mentioned, the 6-0, 215-pound Merritt had quite a year in 2018 with his 1,000-yard reception total and was named All-Sun Belt first team. He transferred to Arkansas State for his junior season last year after leading East Mississippi Community College to the NJCAA national championship in 2017. As also mentioned above, Merritt, Bayless and Bowling will pose quite a challenge for the Dawgs’ defense.

MARCEL MURRAY (RB, #34)

Marcell Murray (34), Photo courtesy of Arkansas State Athletics
Marcell Murray (34), Photo courtesy of Arkansas State Athletics

Still another member of Arkansas State’s potent offensive attack the Bulldogs must deal with on Saturday. Named SBC Freshman of the Year last season, the 5-11, 197-pound Hiram, Georgia. product ran for 860 yards as a true freshman in 2018. So it goes without saying the Bulldogs’ defense can’t allow Murray and the Red Wolves running game to get going, thereby making their passing attack even more formidable.

JERRY JACOBS (CB, #1)

This Atlanta native, a 5-11, 204-pound junior cornerback, compiled a career-high 13 tackles in the close loss to the SMU Mustangs. Along with linemen William Bradley-King, Forrest Merrill and Kevin Thurmon and fellow defensive back Darreon Jackson, Jacobs leads a Red Wolves defense that will be primed to clamp down on the Bulldogs’ powerful run game.

WILLIAM BRADLEY-KING (DE, #50)

Bradley-King is another Red Wolf the Georgia offense must account for. The 6-4, 248-pound junior was 2nd Team All-SBC in 2018 and can create havoc for opposing offenses coming off the edge. Last season he recorded 33 total tackles that included 9.5 tackles-for-loss and 6.0 sacks. The Bulldogs’ offensive front simply can’t allow Bradley-King to disrupt the attack on Saturday.

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Murray Poole is a 1965 graduate of the University of Georgia Journalism School. He served as sports editor of The Brunswick News for 40 years and has written for Bulldawg Illustrated the past 16 years. He has covered the Georgia Bulldogs for 53 years.