One of the major headlines for the University of Georgia football program ahead of today’s Sugar Bowl Game versus Baylor is the number of Bulldogs out. Whether that number is higher than any other game the Dawgs have played this season is debatable as the UGA has been dealing with a number of injuries at the end of the regular season, but there are certainly some key starters and players who will either be out or are questionable for the 8:45 p.m. ET kickoff in the Mercedes-Benz Super Dome in New Orleans, LA.
All eyes have been on running back D’Andre Swift since leaving the Georgia Tech game on November 30th with an apparent injury to his arm or shoulder which head coach Kirby Smart confirmed as a shoulder contusion later after the game. The junior tailback from Philadelphia was limited versus LSU in the SEC Championship Game just a week later on December 7th, but he did play. Swift has been practicing and doing everything the coaching staff has asked him to do in preparation for the Sugar Bowl, but his status was still “questionable” as of Tuesday.
“As far as D’Andre, I don’t know. We’re going to wait and see. He’s competed. He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. I keep repeating that because he has,” said Kirby Smart during Tuesday’s Sugar Bowl pregame press conference. “Certainly, if he feels like he’s able to go and go at 100%, we’re going to use him. He’s done more this last week in practice than he did before the SEC championship game, that’s for certain. So excited to see where he goes.”
On Sunday, Georgia’s Offensive coordinator James Coley also commented and fielded questions on Swift’s status.
“D’Andre Swift, he’s working really hard to get healthy. You guys know he hasn’t been healthy 100%,” said Coley. “He’s practicing hard. We’re all supporting him through this because it’s tough. He’s a leader. He’s one of our leaders.”
And Swift also discussed how he was doing on Sunday and stated he was “day-to-day.”
“I’m practicing. I have been at the institute doing treatment,” said Swift. “I’m going to play it by ear the next couple of days. It is a day-by-day thing.”
In addition to Swift on offense, Georgia will be without Lawrence Cager. The graduate transfer from Miami has been one of the Bulldogs’ key receivers this season with 33 catches for 476 yards and 4 touchdowns but has been battling a shoulder and rib injuries for most of the year. He suffered a season-ending broken ankle during the week of practice as Georgia prepared for the Yellow Jackets back in November.
The Bulldogs will also be without wide receiver Dominick Blaylock who suffered a season-ending ACL knee injury during the SEC Championship Game on December 7th. The true freshman has been one UGA’s top-four wideouts this year with 18 catches for 310 yards and 5 touchdowns.
While not injured, Georgia will be without starting left tackle Andrew Thomas and right tackle Isaiah Wilson on the offensive line. Both Thomas and Wilson declared for the 2020 NFL Draft back on December 17th and decided to forgo the rest of their collegiate eligibility to prepare for their upcoming pro careers.
On defense, starting safety J.R. Reed is out with a foot injury. The senior has started at safety for the Bulldogs the past three seasons in 42 games since transferring from Tulsa to UGA in 2016. Expect true freshman Lewis Cine to get the start in Reed’s stead.
Also on defense, Georgia will be without Divaad Wilson. The redshirt freshman defensive back has played in all 13 games for the Dawgs this season, starting two, backing up junior Mark Webb at the STAR position.
Kirby also commented on Wilson during Tuesday’s Sugar Bowl press conference.
“Yeah. Divaad won’t affect anything because Mark (Webb) has played star the entire year,” said Coach Smart. “Mark Webb has been the starting star. He and Divaad shared some of that time. But Mark started every game, and he’s been healthy at that position.”
Here is the full list of players dealing with injuries:
Dominick Blaylock – freshman WR- OUT – (knee, ACL)
Lawrence Cager – graduate WR- OUT – (broken ankle)
Walter Grant – junior OLB- OUT – (concussion)
Kearis Jackson – redshirt freshman WR – QUESTIONABLE – (ankle)
D’Wan Mathis – freshman QB- OUT – (has not been cleared to play since having emergency brain surgery back in May)
J.R Reed – senior S –OUT – (foot)
Justin Shaffer – junior OL- OUT – (suffered a season-ending neck injury vs. South Carolina on October 12th)
D’Andre Swift – junior RB – QUESTIONABLE – (shoulder)
Divaad Wilson – redshirt freshman DB – OUT – (undisclosed injury)
Here is a list of Bulldogs out for academics, undisclosed reasons, or have declared for the 2020 NFL Draft:
Ben Cleveland – junior OG – (academically ineligible)
Tyler Clark – senior DT – (undisclosed)
D’Marcus Hayes – senior OL – (undisclosed)
Brian Herrien – senior RB – (undisclosed)
Tyrique McGhee – senior DB – (undisclosed)
Andrew Thomas – junior LT – (declared for NFL DRAFT)
Quay Walker – sophomore LB – (undisclosed)
Isaiah Wilson – redshirt sophomore RT – (declared for NFL DRAFT)
Justin Young – senior DE – (undisclosed)