And the hits just keep coming for Georgia’s defense, with the news on Monday that rising junior inside linebacker Roquan Smith had surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle and could miss most of spring practice, according to DawgPost.com
Just last week, on Thursday, the Bulldogs got news that they would be without defensive tackle Trenton Thompson who had to withdrawal from classes for the semester to deal with an undisclosed medical condition he is undergoing treatment for currently. That means that Georgia will be without two key starters for the spring in the middle of the defense.
Roquan Smith was limited to conditioning and non-contact drills during last year’s spring practice after he had surgery to repair an injury to his left wrist, but it did not hinder his sophomore campaign as he played in all 13 games for the Bulldogs, starting 10, and leading the team in tackles with 95. He also had 5 tackles for loss, 5 quarterback pressures and broke up a couple of passes. During Georgia’s post-season game versus TCU in the Liberty Bowl, Smith was all over the field, tallying 13 stops.
So there is a silver lining that he should be ready for fall, and if last season is any indication, that his time missed should not limit his ability to produce on the field.
Of course, in Roquan’s absence, who will be getting reps at inside linebacker for Georgia during the spring? Rising junior Natrez Patrick and rising senior Reggie Carter will likely see the majority of snaps but also keep your eye on rising junior Juwan Taylor and freshman Monty Rice, a class of 2017 prospect the Bulldogs flipped from LSU back on January 2nd. Three days later, Rice enrolled early at UGA on January 5th. Taylor has played in 17 games for Georgia at linebacker and after Smith, Patrick, and R. Carter has the most experience.
Also in the mix at inside linebacker is redshirt sophomore Tae Crowder who was switched over to defense from running back last season. The coaching staff has been pleased with his progress thus far. Rising sophomore Jaleel Laguins can also be counted on to see reps in the middle.
A start date for the Georgia football team’s spring practice has not been released as of yet, but it is expected to be just several weeks away, sometime in the latter half of March and will conclude with UGA’s G-Day game, set for the 22nd of April.