Georgia’s Jamaree Salyer is set to take over the starting left tackle position. this season, and will have some big shoes to fill. That spot belonged to former Bulldog Isaiah Wilson over the last couple of years, but he has since moved on and is now a rookie with the Tennessee Titans. Still, Salyer seems ready to be ‘the guy’ who can step up and play to a higher standard on the Bulldogs offensive line this season.
It will be the first time he’s played the position at Georgia, and he looks forward to the season opener on Saturday against Arkansas.
“Honestly, at this level, it’s kind of hard to say that I did,” said Salyer. “I didn’t think I would be. But probably midway through last year, I started thinking that maybe I could play outside, because I made that transition from last year, just on the other side.”
The former Pace Academy product appeared in 13 of 14 games in 2019, and started two games at right tackle last season. He saw his first action last season in his start at the right outside spot against Murray State, and again against Baylor in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Wilson decided to skip the Sugar Bowl, so Salyer took over in his absence.
“Coming out of high school, I was the No. 1 guard coming out, so I wasn’t really thinking about being the left tackle at Georgia,” Salyer said. “That’s what happened, and I’m really excited about the opportunity. But to say that I was expecting that, it’s kind of hard to say. I played tackle in high school. Of course, that’s not like playing tackle in the SEC, but I’ve worked really hard for this, and really excited to see how it turns out.”
Apparently to the coaching staff, Salyer was the best option for the position, and he also seems prepared for the challenge that lays ahead.
“I’m excited to go out and compete. I’m a competition guy. I love going out there and competing. I know they’ve (Arkansas) got some good edge rushers, but I’m excited about seeing what they’ve got,” Salyer said. “I’ve worked really hard for this moment. I worked every day during quarantine to keep my weight down, working on my technique, but the biggest thing for me is, I’m just ready to go out and compete against somebody else. I go against our defense every day.”
At 6-foot-4 and 325-pounds, Salyer is a big guy with a lot of athletic ability. He has a lot of experience and it doesn’t surprise anyone that he would win the starting job. A pair of redshirt freshman in Xavier Truss and Warren McClendon tried to surpass Salyer for the job, but he never the let the foot off the gas in fall camp.
“Being a guy that’s been here two years and sitting behind two great players, two first-rounders (Andrew Thomas and Wilson), I feel like this is the season for me to go out there and prove myself and do a lot of things that people say I can’t do,” Salyer said. “I’m really excited for the opportunity. Like I said, it’s the season I’ve been waiting for.”
Salyer will not only be making his first start at left tackle, but it will also be the first time he will compete against the coach that recruited him to Georgia.
“Of course [I support] Coach Pitt[man]. He has always been great to me. He’s been great to my family. He always treated me with the upmost respect here. I got a lot of love for Coach Pitt—I would tell him that right now if I could talk to him. I love to compete against him. He’s always been special to me—always will have a special place in my heart because he poured a lot into me when he was here. I got better. We had a great relationship. I would love for his team to have success. I am not upset with his decision. He did what was best for him and all I can do is wish him the best. I hope they have a great season. I am excited to compete against him.”
In fact, Salyer still recalls the day he committed to Georgia and Pittman had posted his famous “yes sir” video on social media.
“Oh man! It was funny. That was a fun day for me just to see that guy and his face light up. [Coach Pittman] has a smile you really can’t hate on. He’s got good energy. He has always been that way. It made me really happy. It made my mom really happy. He good at building relationships—that’s what he was best at. He just made me feel happy—to see him light up and how happy that made him.”