Today we complete our analysis of the Top 25 Dawgs with the reveal of players 5 – 1 in Part 5.
#5 – Mecole Hardman – WR (Jr.)
The 2017 season started slowly for Hardman who had difficulties adjusting to the receiver position. He was dropping balls that he should easily catch and was indecisive on kickoff and punt returns. However, once he made the 59-yard TD catch against Missouri, he became a bad, bad man. He is the most explosive athlete on the team, and with the progress, he has made as a route runner this offseason he will be a monster. Hardman has Percy Harvin-like ability on the football field, and the UGA staff will find creative ways to get the ball in his hands at least ten times per game.
#4 – Jake Fromm – QB (So.)
Fromm exceeded all expectations as a true freshman leading the Bulldogs to their first National Championship game appearance since 1982. He proved to be mature beyond his years and his work ethic shined through on the field. During the offseason, Fromm has continued to work through the playbook but has also worked hard to develop his athleticism and arm strength. Being snubbed by Athlon (not making 1st, 2nd, 3rdor 4thteam All-SEC) will only serve as motivation, he will be better than last year and that is a very scary thought for the rest of the SEC.
#3 – D’Andre Swift – RB (So.)
You don’t simply replace Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Not only were they the most productive rushing duo in college football history but they also were leaders in the locker room. As a running back Swift may be more talented than both. He is powerfully built through the lower body, dynamic in the open field and has the hands of a receiver. There will be plenty of expectations and pressure on this young man’s shoulders, but he just needs to play his own game because that is more than good enough.
#2 – Deandre Baker – CB (Sr.)
There are many valuable positions on defense but none more impactful than a true shutdown cornerback. In 2017, Baker proved to be an elite shutdown corner capable of locking down one side of the field. He does not have the size of a Richard Sherman or the athleticism of a Patrick Peterson, but he has elite instincts and supreme confidence in his abilities. With Baker locking down one side of the field it will afford the coaching staff to roll the coverage to the other side of the field where an inexperienced corner will likely be manning the position.
#1 – Andrew Thomas – LT (So.)
In 2017 the Bulldogs had the luxury of an elite left tackle in Isaiah Wynn. Jake Fromm was able to sit in the pocket and go through his progressions, and running backs consistently found holes on the left side. Thomas does not have the same level of experience as Wynn but has the physical traits to be even more dominant. At 6’5 325 pounds with light feet, a powerful base, and long arms he is the prototypical left tackle. If Thomas plays at an elite level in 2018, the Dawg offense will be very difficult to handle.