2023 Immediate Impact Team

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2023 Immediate Impact Team

Lawson Luckie

There is a problem with constructing a list of immediate impact players at UGA during the Kirby Smart era. Recruiting continues at the highest level, making it challenging to decide which of the class’ highly ranked and highly recruited freshmen do not make the cut. My first thought is eliminating linemen since only a few are consistent contributors as freshmen. Of course, exceptions prove the rule. Additionally, there is the word “immediate” that I’m defining as freshman year.

Harris is a four-star recruit at corner with the potential to become a safety. He is a very physical player whose attitude will fit well with Georgia’s defensive-back mentality. A.J. checks in at just under 6-1/190 and has the size for either position. If he progresses well during Summer practices and Fall Camp, look for Harris to start seeing snaps as Georgia moves through the schedule.





Damon Wilson, Jr.
A five-star edge from Venice, FL, is an excellent match for Kirby Smart’s defense. He will disrupt offenses with his pass-rushing ability when he becomes a fixture in the defense. Length makes a difference for talented rushers; Wilson is 6-4 and has 34-inch arms. Wilson could see action on passing downs early in the season but has work to do against an SEC run game.

Roderick Robinson II
Mr. Robinson is a load. A running back who weighed in at 235 before becoming acquainted with UGA’s weight room, Georgia fans will love his power runs using his powerful lower body to drive and accelerate. Expect to see his zero jersey trot on the field for goalline duty early in the season.

Samuel M’Pemba
Samuel transferred from his high school in St. Louis to IMG Academy and has become a consensus four-star recruit (Rivals rated him a five-star). The weakside defensive end played soccer growing up and didn’t start playing football until the seventh grade. At 6-3.5/250 has the size to contribute situationally right away.





Lawson Luckie
Lawson’s father, Mike, one of the Luckie triplets to play for UGA in the mid-nineties, was a teammate of Kirby Smart. Now his son will continue the family tradition between the hedges. Luckie has the talent and skillsets to join Todd Hartley’s loaded tight end room and compete for playing time. He has the frame to add weight and could be pushing to get on the field as a freshman.

Monroe Freeling
Although I do not usually list offensive linemen as players to watch because of the steep learning curve required for a lineman at UGA, the 6-7/284 five-star offensive tackle Freeling has the physical requirements (minus some needed muscle weight) to shine in Georgia’s offensive line rotation quickly. He has the tools to be a regular contributor as the season progresses.

Joenel Aguero
A 6-foot, 205-pound four-star recruit, Aguero signed with the Georgia Bulldogs in 2023. He chose Georgia over Ohio State, Miami, Florida, and other national offers. As a senior, he led St. John’s Prep (Massachusetts) to an 11-2 record and a state title.
Aguero was sought after by upwards of 50 schools during the recruiting process. He is an elite safety prospect who has receiver ability. He also had excellent ball skills from playing on offense earlier in high school.

Dominic Lovett and Rara Thomas
In the aftermath of Georgia’s latest national championship, the wide receiver room needed immediate help. Coach Smart went to work and landed transfers Rara Thomas (12 games, 44 catches, 626 yards, 7 touchdowns – 2022) from Mississippi State and Dominic Lovett ( 56 catches, 846 yards, 7 touchdowns).

Lovett is my pick to grab the attention of fans quickly. He caught six passes for 84 yards against Georgia last season (he was limited in the second half with an ankle injury) and finished the 2022 season with 846 receiving yards, which was good for fourth in the SEC. His best game of the year was against South Carolina, where he caught 10 passes for 148 yards.





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Greg is closing in on 15 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.