Five Players Who Could Surprise in 2016

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Five Players Who Could Surprise in 2016

Jayson Stanley
Jayson Stanley

Every year there are players that didn’t have much of an impact the year before that seem to come out of nowhere and become important contributors.  When you have a new coaching staff come in these players tend to emerge more often.  With that said, there are five players who I believe could become household names amongst the Bulldog Nation by the end of the 2016 season.   

#5 – Justin Young – DL

The thinnest position on the Bulldogs roster this season is the defensive line.  With Jonathan Ledbetter likely to be suspended, Chauncey Rivers dismissed and four senior contributors having graduated there is a big need for contributors.  Young was a monster defensive tackle for Grayson who used his quickness and non-stop motor to be a disruptive force in the backfield.  This spring he showed flashes and with his work ethic in the weight room this summer Young is going to get opportunities and it won’t be a surprise to see him take advantage.

#4 – Jackson Harris – TE

Harris seems to be the forgotten man at TE for the Bulldogs with Jeb Blazevich returning and incoming studs Isaac Nauta and Charlie Woerner poised to earn snaps.  However, it would be unwise to discount Jackson’s abilities and potential.  The 6’6 254 pounder has the size to be a mauling blocker at the line of scrimmage and the soft hands to make the big catch on third down to move the chains.  He is a also a big time size mismatch in the redzone that has the potential to make an impact.

#3 – DeAndre Baker – CB

The former Miami Northwestern product came to Georgia with the reputation of being a fearless quick twitch athlete that excelled at locking down opposing receivers in man coverage.  Under Jeremy Pruitt last season the Bulldogs played a lot more bail out technique and zone coverage to keep the opposing receivers in front of them.  Baker struggled with that but with Kirby Smart and Mel Tucker now in charge the Bulldogs will be playing a lot more man coverage.  With Baker’s natural Miami swagger I expect him to carve out a role this season.

#2 – Lamont Galliard – OG

There is a lot of competition on the offensive line at the guard positions but Lamont Galliard is someone to keep a close eye on.  The former defensive lineman made the move to offensive line last season and made some progress over the course of the year but made a huge jump this spring under the tutelage of Sam Pittman.  Galliard is extremely athletic and very powerfully built.  He quickly earned a reputation as one of the strongest run blockers and a handful to deal with.  If Isaiah Wynn does in fact remain at LT then Galliard will get a long look at left guard.

#1 – Jayson Stanley – WR

Stanley may be the most physically gifted receiver on the UGA roster.  At 6’2 210 pounds he brings an impressive physical stature to the WR position and he is also one of the fastest players on the UGA roster.  In the spring he demonstrated that he was fully recovered from his knee injury and was a handful for UGA’s cornerbacks routinely exploding behind them to create big play opportunities.  Coach Chaney loves to stretch the field vertically and Stanley may be the most capable player on the roster of doing just that.

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Author /

Matthew “Huck” Pasek was born into a family of Georgia Bulldogs. Huck’s father, Gary, graduated from UGA in 1976 and became a high school chemistry teacher at Peachtree HS in Dunwoody, GA where he coached alongside Georgia High School football legend T. McFerrrin. Gary’s love of football, especially Georgia football, was passed along to his son. Huck lives in Belmont, NC with his wife, Whitney, and works in Financial Services Litigation. In his spare time he is an avid golfer, movie fanatic and habitual traveler to St. Simons Island with his wife “just to get away”. The moniker ImYourHuckleberry arose from his favorite movie, Tombstone, and character Doc Holiday’s famous line, “I’m Your Huckleberry”. Matthew was never one to shy away from a confrontation or debate, thus the nickname instantly stuck.

13 responses on “Five Players Who Could Surprise in 2016

  1. AtomicDawg

    Oh BTW would Javon Wims not fall in this category because he IS expected to be an early impact? I’m really hoping Wims turns it out from day one. Got high hopes there.

  2. AtomicDawg

    Good read and I agree with most.

    Not to spin this away from the topic too much but i’ve been thinking about something that you put in the DeAndre Baker part. Talking about the man to man coverage that CKS and company will be bringing in. This transition alone will be a big change for our DB’s and our DL in terms of strategy. I’d like to see Bulldawg Bob write something in reference to our adjustment from the zone to the man-zone that we will be changing to. I know we might need a few practices before any assessment can be made, but this is my #1 concern because of the major change in coverage and alignment. Even down to the type of player that we have currently and what we are recruiting has changed because of the changes in thought and strategy. Not to be negative, but that year in transition could spell a couple losses. The lack of depth at DL puts even more pressure on the man alignments/coverages as well.

  3. Bulldawg Bob2

    Good stuff Huck. 

    I really like Harris. He is just a blue collar, big framed and bodied TE who can catch and block. TE maybe UGA’s deepest position at the moment, and hopefully, the new offensive staff will be able to use them effectively.

  4. IYH_BI

    Joe Dawg I like D’Andre to lead the team in sacks this season.  Also, Michael Barnett is going to get a lot of PT.  Wouldn’t surprise me if he is a starter in the Dome.

  5. IYH_BI

    McDawg8 There are a lot of guys that need to step up this year.  The fun part is that they will all get the opportunity with a new coaching staff with no preconceived perceptions of what they can and can’t do.

  6. IYH_BI

    PTCDawg I think Rico is a safe bet.  The kid was highly recruited by Kirby Smart to Alabama for a reason and I think he will fit very good playing the Star for Smart’s defense.

  7. Joe Dawg

    I’m picking D’Andre Walker and Michael Barnett from the group that was here last year. Chauncey Manac is my pick from the new guys. Can’t wait to see what happens!

  8. McDawg8

    4 of the 5 (excluding TE) are going to have to step up if 2016 is going to be a successful season

  9. PTCDawg

    Excellent as always!!

    My dark horse list is Woerner, who I think has the second biggest impact among the true freshman, Keyon Brown and Rico McGraw. 

    Some day one of my dark horses is actually going to have a big year then I can tell everyone on how I called it in advance!

  10. IYH_BI

    Reddawg13 I have big time expectations for Hawkins and will not be surprised to see him have a big year.  He is one of those 3-star recruits that is going to play like a 5-star before he leaves Athens.  That young man wants to be great!

  11. DawgDaddy

    Great list Huck, I am excited to watch each of those listed this year, looking for good things from each of them.