The homegrown freshman phenom out of Jefferson, Georgia Malaki Starks has exploded onto the college football scene in the first five games of his college career.
Starks was a highly-touted five-star recruit coming out of high school and was especially recognized for his insane athleticism. Before settling into the defensive back position at Georgia, he played quarterback, running back, linebacker, and safety at Jefferson High. Although he’s just a first year, Starks is already used to making plays on both sides of the ball.
What really started the Starks hype-train was his interception against Oregon in the Dawg’s season opener at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Ducks’ quarterback Bo Nix had his time in the pocket and heaved it deep. From the stands it really looked like an alright decision and an okay throw, but Malaki Starks just made an outstanding play on the ball.
He used every inch of his frame to reach backwards over the Oregon receiver and intercept the ball in the first quarter of his first college game. Making the catch was one thing, but coming down, falling on his back, and still maintaining the ball was another. Overall it was just such an impressive play.
Since then he’s caught another interception and ran up his tackle numbers having the second most on the team only after linebacker Jamon Dumas-Johnson.
One of those more recent tackles was on a game-saving play in a defensive matchup against Missouri where Starks brought a runner down just inches short of the end zone forcing a field goal which wound up being the difference in that road victory.
He looks great so far, but being a freshman, he does come with his fair share of faults. Coach Smart isn’t afraid to say that the young star is still “a work in progress.” Like the greats, J.R. Reed, Richard Lecounte, and Lewis Cine that came before him, Starks “makes mistakes each and every practice, but “he keeps chopping and getting better.”
Starks has already come a long way in his short time in this Georgia program, and we haven’t even seen all of what he has to offer. He’s making a name for himself by making plays on the field, and the transition from high school to college is doing little to stop him. He’ll be a guy to keep an eye on moving forward and is slowly building up a reputation to eventually be remembered as a DGD.