We continue our analysis of the Top 25 Dawgs with the reveal of players 20 – 16 in Part 2.
#20 – Monty Rice – ILB (So.)
Rice’s spring was a bit of a disappointment until the lights came on for G-Day and he flashed the potential everyone knew he had. Rice is an explosive sideline-to-sideline linebacker but has also shown he can be a thumper between the tackles. What needs to improve is his work ethic in practice and his consistency. Rice must prove to the coaches that he can be reliable which is more important than the occasional spectacular play. The potential is there and this fall will go a long way in determining his future for the Dawgs because there are very talented young players waiting in the wings.
#19 – Charlie Woerner – TE (Jr.)
2018 is a big season for Woerner who has a world of potential but has struggled with injury and inconsistency. At every bit of 6’5 250 pounds, Woerner has improved as a run blocker and prior to the injury. His time in Athens has been somewhat underwhelming thus far (the same can be said for Nauta) but a major reason for that is the tight ends have been underutilized. With offensive coordinator Jim Chaney now also coaching the tight ends that should change. Warner is a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses and needs more opportunities to make plays.
#18 – Walter Grant – OLB (So.)
Playing time was limited for Grant as a true freshman with the likes of Carter, Bellamy and Walker ahead of him on the depth chart but he earned some very important snaps. Grant is not an elite athlete or a great pass rusher but he is a jack of all trades. When coaches talk about him the words thrown around the most are “coachable” and “instinctive”. This offseason his body appears to have really developed under Coach Sinclair and with young studs Quay Walker, Brenton Cox and Adam Anderson pushing him this summer and fall it would not be a surprise to see Grant really elevate his game.
#17 – Rodrigo Blankenship – K (Jr.)
Never before has a kicker had more nicknames – Hot Rod, Rec Specs, Rocket Rod and many others have been floated. There was also a hashtag that went viral suggesting he should run for President in 2016. As a sophomore Blankenship was deadly accurate, made numerous clutch kicks and routinely boomed the ball through the endzone on kickoffs. Rodrigo will be a weapon for the Dawgs and they are very lucky to have him.
#16 – J.R. Reed – S (Jr.)
Reed was the biggest surprise for the Bulldogs defense last season. He exploded onto the scene with 79 tackles to be the Bulldogs second-leading tackler and made big play after big play. He is at his best when flying downhill in run support or making the big tackle in the open field but he still struggled in pass coverage especially when asked to play man-to-man. Reed is going to be a vocal leader opposite Richard LeCounte and will play a big role in making sure everyone does their job.
Stay tuned for Top Dawgs 15 – 11 tomorrow!