This Saturday, who are the Georgia Bulldogs to watch as UGA travels to Knoxville to take on Tennessee in Neyland Stadium.
NATREZ PATRICK (ILB, #6)
Patrick, a 6-3, 238-pound junior, has seen starting action at the inside ‘backer spot ever since his freshman season in 2015. Patrick teams with junior Roquan Smith and senior Reggie Carter to give the Bulldogs three of the top run-stuffing linebackers in the Southeastern Conference. And certainly, his performance on Saturday at Vanderbilt will be a key in the Georgia defense slowing the Commodores’ talented running back, Ralph Webb.
D’ANDRE SWIFT (TB, #7)
Despite the presence of veteran running backs Nick Chubb, Sony Michel and Brian Herrien, this 5-9, 220-pound prep All-American from Philadelphia has been too good to keep off the field this season. The freshman tailback has not only displayed power and quickness running the football but has also flashed his receiving skills when lining up in the slot. Indeed, the future seems to be unlimited for Swift and the Bulldogs can certainly use another good outing from Swift in Nashville, Tenn. come Saturday.
ANDREW THOMAS (OT, #71)
And speaking of freshmen, no other Bulldog first-year player has garnered more playing time than Thomas this fall. Moving into the starting right tackle slot in preseason camp, the 6-5, 320-pounder from Pace Academy in Lithonia, Ga. has more than held his own with the older and much more experienced defensive linemen he’s gone against thus far. Thomas and his fellow O-linemen need to be at their best against the Dores’ defense on Saturday.
RODRIGO BLANKENSHIP (PK, #98)
“Goggles” has made tremendous improvement over last season, especially with his powerful kickoffs continually sailing out of the end zone for touchbacks. Blankenship, who was put on scholarship by head coach Kirby Smart in the locker room at Notre Dame, has also been perfect on his extra-point kicks and in the crushing 31-3 win over Mississippi State, matched his career best with a 49-yard field goal. If Saturday’s game comes down to a 3-pointer to win it, Blankenship should be Johnny-on-the-spot, just as he was with the winning kick last season at Kentucky and also against Notre Dame this year.
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