Around the locker room and training facility Bulldogs’ cornerback Tyrique Stevenson is nicknamed “The Freak” by his teammates and coaches.
As a freshman, the Miami, FL native played in all 13 games this season finishing with 13 total tackles, five pass breakups, which was second on the team, and four quarterback pressures. At the post-season awards gala, he shared the Co-defensive Newcomer of the Year.
With all those accomplishments, Stevenson didn’t feel like it was good enough for his first year in Athens.
“I just feel like I could have done a little more,” Stevenson said after Georgia’s loss to LSU in the SEC Championship. “I mean, I did my job, did everything the coaches and the team wanted from me, but I just think I could have done a little more.”
Later in the season is when Stevenson really started the blossom. He had a big sack on third down against Auburn in the third quarter on Bo Nix. Stevenson was credited with the lone tackle for a loss, and that set up Georgia’s long touchdown drive ending with Jake Fromm finding Eli Wolf in the end zone for Georgia to go up three scores.
Against LSU, Stevenson played a season-high of 36 snaps in the loss. Although Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow had a field day against the Bulldogs’ secondary, Stevenson feels confident that those reps against an elite quarterback will pay off in the future.
“I think I was able to build trust with my teammates and coaches, and that showed today (in the SEC Championship game),” said Stevenson.
Coming out of high school, Stevenson was a big time recruit, and he admitted in that post-game press conference that he was used to being the center of attention on the field. He enrolled early this past spring semester, and quickly learned in spring drills that he would have to work hard for playing time.
“Obviously being a big recruit, people knew who I was, but as far as the team knew, I hadn’t proven myself,” Stevenson said. “This is a great team to be on, and just to be on the field means a lot.”
“As a freshman, just coming in with a work ethic, building trust, and just getting better as the year goes on,” he said. “There’s obviously better people out there, but the more you invest into yourself, the better you’ll be.”
He said that upperclassmen like J.R. Reed and Eric Stokes really helped him make that transition. Stevenson also added that extra time in the film room helped him learn the playbook better.
“I’m just blessed to be a part of Georgia football,” he said and Kirby Smart agreed.
“When you go back to talking about havoc, when you put guys on the field, there are guys who do their assignments, and then there are guys who create production,” Smart said. “We want guys who can do both. And Tyrique is an excellent example of that.”
Stevenson’s confidence is important because he knows he and his team are at the cusp of greatness.
“I have so much faith in our freshman class, the class that’s here and all the people that might come back. I just have so much faith in us that we can be back here. We left a lot of things out there today, so next time we come back, we’re not leaving with a L.”