Kirby Smart landed one of the top recruiting classes in 2017 and some of these incoming freshmen will be counted on immediately. The Bulldogs have a lot of talent returning for the upcoming season so playing time will be hard to come by for these first-year players.
However, these are the five freshmen that I believe will see early playing time and may even earn a start in their first game in the red and black.
Although the Bulldogs have a loaded backfield with seniors Nick Chubb and Sony Michel returning along with sophomores Brian Herrien and Elijah Holyfield, D’Andre Swift is the type of weapon that should find the field sooner rather than later. Swift has the typical size that is coveted for an SEC running back at 5’8′ and 220 lbs. I do not see Swift starting right away, but I think there will be various packages and schemes that the Bulldogs will put together to utilize his skill set immediately.
4. Mark Webb
Swift should be joined by his cousin Mark Webb as a prime candidate for early playing time. The Bulldogs had some issues with dropped passes last season and this may bring opportunities for early playing time for each of the incoming freshmen wideouts. Webb has been impressive in practice thus far and it would not surprise me if he cracked the receivers’ rotation early on in the season.
3. Andrew Thomas
Isaiah Wilson was almost my pick for early playing time among the outstanding offensive line group that coach Kirby Smart and his staff were able to sign in 2017, but Andrew Thomas has received a ton of praise from Smart thus far and that is why I think he is the early favorite to crack the starting five. Smart is adamant on the fact that he wants the best five guys to start so age should not play a role in making this decision. I think if the Bulldogs have any offensive line struggles early in the year, then Thomas will be the next man up for Georgia.
2. Deangelo Gibbs
Gibbs is much like Swift, in that, I believe he is too talented to keep off the field. Gibbs has been seen working at the STAR position with what appears to be the second-team, while his cousin J.R. Reed has worked at the spot for the first team. This should be a hotly contested battle between these two family members all throughout the season and Gibbs should see his fair share of playing time.
1. Richard LeCounte III
When senior Malkom Parrish went down with a foot injury, it remained to be seen of who the Bulldogs would call on to take his place. It seems the Bulldogs have decided to shuffle around a few players and call up freshman Richard LeCounte III to the first team at the safety spot. LeCounte is a very hard-hitting and exciting prospect that should produce immediately. LeCounte was seen as a leader in the recruiting world for the Bulldogs so it is no surprise that he is one of the first guys, who I believe will receive early playing time.
This is my top five list of freshmen that I believe will receive early playing time, so I would like to see what you guys think. Please leave your top five freshmen in the comments section.