Georgia has one of the biggest offensive lines in the nation, and they are one of the deepest positions groups on the team. Next year, the Bulldogs are expected to lose junior left tackle Andrew Thomas to the NFL Draft, and it is likely that a freshman could take over Thomas’s place on the line.
Clay Webb, Xavier Truss, and Warren McClendon are learning the system under offensive line coach Sam Pittman without having to contribute much this year. If Thomas forgoes his senior season, it is probable that Truss would start in his place.
Truss is a 6-foot-7, 330 pound beast from Rhode Island, and from practice observations this season he has been working behind Thomas at left tackle. Truss has only appeared in two games, against Murray State and Arkansas State, but Thomas believes that he has a great future ahead of him in Athens.
“I try to give him some pointers and things like that,” Thomas said Tuesday. “I try to make him a better player.”
Thomas praised him, but also critiqued him on his pass blocking abilities.
“For him, it’s not to lean in during pass protection, which I still work on today,” Thomas said. “Because we’re such a run-heavy offense, we pride ourselves on being physical. When you see a guy coming at you, you want to try and hit him, but that’s when you have to be patient, lean back and punch with your hands.”
McClendon, on the other hand, has been seeing a lot of reps at right tackle behind redshirt sophomore Isaiah Wilson in practice. McClendon has only seen action in two games this year, and it is expected that Kirby Smart will redshirt him by the end of the season.
“He’s been doing pretty well,” said Thomas. “Warren’s been seeing more reps with us because he’s been down with the scout team, although he’s been getting some reps with the twos. He still needs to pick up some weight, but he has good technique.”
Webb has only appeared in one game this season, and it’s apparent that he expected to redshirt as well. During practices this season, Webb was taking snaps behind Trey Hill at center and Cade Mays at right guard.
“Once Clay figures it out, as far as the offensive scheme, he will be a great player.” Thomas said. “He’s really strong, he’s got good leverage and he’s a good athlete. I think he’s going to be pretty good.”
Georgia’s starting offensive line has also battled the injury bug this season.
Mays’ versatility has been a big help, but recently, he has been banged up himself. Wilson has battled an injury this season, Hill has missed some action, and Ben Cleveland and Solomon Kindley have both dealt with their own issues.
Thomas mentioned that Justin Shaffer and Jamaree Salyer have stepped up in key moments, but next year these freshmen are expected to do big things.
Georgia already has five offensive linemen committed for next year’s 2020 recruiting class, which include five-star Tate Ratledge, and four-star prospects Borderick Jones, Joshua Braun, Chad Lindberg and Sedrick Van Pran.
Here is the video from Andrew Thomas’ press conference: