IMPORTANT UPDATE REGARDING UGA FOOTBALL’S SPRING PRACTICE | Friday, March 13, 2020, 9:05 a.m. ET: University of Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity has announced that spring practices for the football team are suspended for at least the next two weeks, CLICK HERE for story.
Since Jan. 1 the Georgia football program has had an action-packed couple of months to start the year, and now that it’s March that means spring practice starts next week.
Since that date, the Bulldogs coaching staff has added Todd Monken to replace James Coley as the offensive coordinator, and former Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke to take over coaching the offensive line. The specials teams will now be coached by long-time Alabama strength and conditioning coordinator Scott Cochran.
Since the departure of Jake Fromm, Georgia has added Wake Forest graduate transfer Jamie Newman. With the losses of Charlie Woerner and Eli Wolf, Florida State transfer Tre’ McKitty has signed with the Bulldogs and will report to campus in the summer.
Georgia has also added six new freshmen that enrolled in January as apart of the No. 1 recruiting class in the 2020 cycle.
Here are my spring projections for the offense’s spring depth chart:
1) Jamie Newman (Sr)
2) Stetson Bennett IV (RJr)
3) D’Wan Mathis (RFr) / Carson Beck (Fr)
Even though Newman hasn’t set foot on the field in a Bulldogs’ uniform yet, I think he is the clear frontrunner going into spring. The graduate transfer is already garnering Heisman Trophy buzz, and spring practice hasn’t even begun yet. Either way, the Bulldogs are loaded at this position with talent. Bennett, who has a lot of experience, is known by the nickname ‘Mailman’ by his teammates. I think under Monken’s system, Bennett will give Newman a run for his money in spring practices. I don’t think 15 practices will push Mathis or Beck up the depth just yet, but I do think they can challenge Bennett for that two spot come fall.
1) Zamier White (RSo)
2) James Cook (Jr) / Kenny McIntosh (So)
3) Kendall Milton (Fr)
For the first time since 2012, Georgia doesn’t return a 1,000 yard rusher, but there still is a lot of potential in this group. After returning from a pair of ACL injuries, White should be 100% healthy heading into spring. He had an impressive Sugar Bowl and is my favorite to win the job. Cook is my second choice here because he has more experience than McIntosh, and in my opinion, has been under-utilized his two years at UGA. Cook provides a burst out of the backfield that no other running back has on the depth, and he can also line at receiver as well. When tested, even in limited action, McIntosh has proven he can be a weapon. Milton is a very talented freshman and has gained a lot of weight since arriving in January. This spring will be good for him to learn the new offense.
1) John Fitzpatrick (RSo)
2) Ryland Goede (RFr)
3) Brett Seither (RFr)
This spring, Georgia is a little short-handed at the tight end position. McKitty and five-star prospect Darnell Washington will arrive in summer, so that leaves Fitzpatrick in the top spot for now. Fitzpatrick has the size and has played more downs than Goede and Seither combined. Last season, he only caught one pass, but his coaches have spoken highly of him saying he’s an excellent down-the-field blocker. Goede and Seither have a chance to make some noise since Monken is a big fan of the passing game.
1) George Pickens (So)
2) Tommy Bush (RSo)
3) Trey Blount (RJr)
Last year, Pickens showed why he was a five-star prospect coming in as he lead Georgia in receiving yards. This is first time since 2014 that Georgia is returning its leading receiver, and Pickens is slotted to have another breakout year with Monken at OC. But the Bulldogs would love to see more consistency from him, as well as Bush and Blount. Bush should be fully healthy, and Blount has a lot of playing time. We’ll see how this plays out.
1) Demetris Robinson (RSr)
2) Matt Landers (RJr)
3) Justin Robinson (Fr)
Expect to see a couple of the X-receivers to jump in this spot as well this season as Kirby Smart sees these spots as interchangeable. UGA lacks depth at receiver this spring, so expect Robertson to get plenty of reps in this spot. Landers is really talented but has lacked consistency. His touchdown catch against Baylor in the Sugar Bowl might have given him the confidence he needs to put it all together. I expect Robinson to get reps at both spots, but I can see him being the flanker.
1) Kearis Jackson (RSo)
2) Demetris Robertson (RSr)
3) Makiya Tongue (RFr)
Dominick Blaylock will normally hold this position, but he is recovering from ACL surgery. The Bulldogs won’t get Jermaine Burton or Lad McConkey until summer, so Jackson will probably fill this role as long as he can remain healthy. I think that he can win this job with a strong spring, but do think Tongue will get some reps in this spot. Tongue is listed as 6-foot-2, 210 pounds and only played in two games last year. Despite that, I think this is his best fit to make some noise.
1) Xavier Truss (RFr)
2) Warren McClendon (RFr)
With the loss of four offensive lineman in the offseason, Georgia is low on numbers across the board. The tackle position will be heavily inexperienced heading into spring, and Matt Luke won’t have time to really string together a bunch of alternatives before G Day. I noticed that Truss worked a lot on the left side for most of his freshman campaign and earned praise when he saw snaps. He seems to be the best option for left tackle because of his size and skillset. McClendon is also a viable option because of what coaches have said. He has the power to burst off the line and is known to have really good footwork.
1) Justin Shaffer (Sr)
2) Clay Webb (RFr)
3) Warren Ericson (RSo)
After coming off a season-ending neck injury, Shaffer returns for his senior year and he’s shown that he competes. If he can stay healthy, I think he will be the best option for this position. This will be Webb’s second spring at UGA and expect him to be tested at this interior position. Ericson started the Sugar Bowl at left guard, and I think he will get switched around some to other positions on the line to test his abilities.
1) Trey Hill (Jr)
2) Warren Ericson (RSo)/ Clay Webb (RFr)
Hill started all 14 games at center last year, and that’s why I have him slotted at the top spot entering spring. Last year, he had some snapping issues and I can see Luke possibly moving him around, but until then he remains here. Experience is crucial at center, but I could see Ericson moving into this position as a backup because the coaches might want to keep him on the interior of the line.
1) Ben Cleveland (RSr)
2) Warren Ericson
3) Netori Johnson (RJr)
If Cleveland can keep his grades up, I can see him as the top spot at right guard. Last season, I witnessed him and Cade Mays rotate in and out of this position in practice. With Mays gone, Cleveland will take over this spot because he has a lot of experience as a fifth-year senior. Ericson is the next best fit in this position because of his performance in New Orleans. During bowl practices, Johnson moved to the defensive line to help out, but I expect him to get reps on both sides of the ball this spring.
1) Jamaree Salyer (Jr)
2) Owen Condon (RSo)/ Warren McClendon (RFr)
Salyer started two games at right guard last year, but I expect to move over and take over the eight tackle position this spring. Salyer has the knowledge, skills, and athleticism to compete at a high-level so changing positions shouldn’t be that big of a deal. I think Condon will get work on both sides, but I can see him sticking to the left side. The program will get Broderick Jones, Chad Lindberg, Austin Blaske, and Tate Ratledge over the summer and that will add to the depth chart.