Top Dawgs: Cortez Hankton

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Top Dawgs: Cortez Hankton

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Cortez Hankton arrived at UGA in February 2018 and hit the ground running with his wide receivers. Although he walked into a talented room that included current Kansas City receivers, Mecole Hardman, Riley Ridley, and Terry Godwin, and the trio did not miss a beat under their new position coach.

Kirby Smart had this to say about his decision to hire Hankton:

“We got to visit and meet with and just thought the world of him. He carries himself in a first-class manner, the way we want to do things at the University of Georgia. He’s a very intellectual guy. He also played the position, and any time you play the receiver position, I think it helps you tremendously with kids. He was an overachiever as a player. Here’s a guy that played on several teams, and he kept making teams. He made them through toughness, his route running, his special teams play, and those are all things we want in our wide receiver room.”

After the 2018 season, Hankton was promoted to Pass Game Coordinator and Wide Receivers Coach. It was recruiting the 2019 class of receivers that Coach Hankton displayed the recruiting chops that any coach working for Kirby Smart must possess – landing both George Pickens and Dominick Blaylock.





Hankton played a key role in landing George Pickens as a recruit, and he then went on to lead Georgia in catches, receiving yards and touchdowns as a freshman. He also made strides over the course of the season, peaking in Georgia’s final game of the year. Factor in the flashes fellow freshman Dominick Blaylock showed and there’s reason to be optimistic about the future of the position.

And the best way to improve the talent in Georgia’s wide receiver room is to go out and recruit better players. Hankton played a key role in Georgia signing five wide receivers in the 2020 cycle, including three who ranked in the top-100 in Marcus Rosemy, Arian Smith and Jermaine Burton.


Cortez Hankton is another rising star in the coaching ranks who is currently building his resume while pursuing championships for UGA.

The son of two New Orleans police officers, the 39-year old Hankton is an ex-NFL wide receiver who joined the Georgia staff in 2018 after three seasons as the wide receivers coach at Vanderbilt (2015-17) and three as the wide receivers coach at Dartmouth (2012-14). A high-ranking NFL staff member was extremely complimentary of Hankton and said he wouldn’t be surprised to see Hankton land an offensive coordinator job in the near future.

Coach Hankton defies coaching stereotypes. Attention to detail is his hallmark and teaching is his calling:

“Guys like [Jim] Chaney and [Sam] Pittman get a lot of credit for their role on offense,” one UGA staffer said. “But people don’t always see what Hank is doing. He puts a lot more effort into the small things. The minute details in route running, the breaks. To fans, it just looks like the receivers making normal plays. For us, we can see the results of the stuff he’s taught them.”

Dawg Post

Georgia’s five wide receiver signees for 2020 are in Athens and preparing for the upcoming season – Justin Robinson, Jermaine Burton, Arian Smith, Marcus Rosemy, and Ladd McConkey. Smith, however, is currently sidelined after undergoing MCL repair surgery earlier this summer. Smith will likely return early in the 2020 season, filling out a roster that was dangerously thin for most of last year.





Hankton will have plenty of young talent to combine with returners like George Pickens, Demetris Robertson, RS Freshman Makiya Tongue, Kearis Jackson and Tommy Bush to reinvigorate the Dawgs’ passing game in the scheme devised by new offensive coordinator Todd Monken.





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Greg is closing in on 15 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.