With the offseason officially underway, SDS will examine what’s next for spring football for all 14 teams. Next up, Georgia.
The biggest change Georgia must endure in the coaching realm is losing defensive line coach and recruiting ace Rodney Garner. Todd Grantham also flirted with the NFL, but he decided to remain at Georgia, which is great news for a defense that loses nine starters. To replace Garner, Richt hired former Mississippi State defensive coordinator Chris Wilson. Everyone knows Garner could recruit with any coach in the country, but 2012’s defensive line was one of the more underachieving units, even with monster nose tackles John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers. Losing Garner hurts more in recruiting than coaching, and Wilson could be a better position coach for the long run.
Position of concern
One of the heartbeats to Todd Grantham’s 3-4 defense is the nose tackle, and Georgia lost their first- and second-string players in John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers. And between the two, Georgia lost 700 pounds of mass in the teeth of the defense. The one guy the Bulldogs want to replace both players is already on campus in redshirt freshman Jon Taylor. Taylor is 6-4, 315 pounds and is perfect for the nose, but he has no experience. Early enrollee JUCO transfer John Atkins will also get his shot to play nose, too. There is a little depth, but this group needs SEC game experience.
Emerging spring player prediction
Although Jordan Jenkins played a crucial role as a true freshman on defense, he’ll be the talk of the spring because of the noticeable development from his first to second year. Jenkins could be as good or better than Jarvis Jones in the long run – blasphemy I know. He has more upside just because of how physical he plays, his size and how athletic he really is. Aside from a select few, the coaching staff will talk about Jenkins exiting spring as the one player they can count on for 2013 on defense.
Three signees to be excited about
1. Tray Matthews, S: Matthews could see the field early because of Shawn Williams and Bacarri Rambo’s absence, and he’s a fantastic athlete. Matthews could make the biggest impact of any true freshman in 2013. He’s already enrolled and will get his feet wet this spring.
2. Shaq Wiggins, CB: In addition to Matthews, Shaq Wiggins will get playing time in the secondary, too. Wiggins was arguably the state’s top corner prospect, and while he’s slightly smaller than coaches would like at 5-9, 160 pounds, he makes up for it with his covering and play-making ability. Wiggins is underrated as a high school prospect.
3. Brice Ramsey, QB: Although Ramsey won’t be making an impact in 2013 unless Aaron Murray gets injured, he’s the quarterback of the future. Ramsey has a Howitzer for an arm and is the perfect quarterback for Mark Richt and Mike Bobo’s offense. As an early enrollee, Ramsey will get his feet wet in just under two weeks.
Biggest key to spring
Much has been made about Georgia’s nine starters lost on defense, including Jarvis Jones, Alec Ogletree and others, but it’s a chance for Richt and Grantham to really evaluate the players currently on the roster and develop them to succeed more as an overall unit. The players are there now – players like Garrison Smith, Jon Taylor, Ray Drew, Jordan Jenkins, Damian Swann, Ramik Wilson and others who have loads of talent, but developing that talent is the biggest key. And although big names and high draft picks aren’t on the roster, count me in the minority of thinking that this unit will be improved and more complete.
Previous Offseason Forecasts:
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