5 best returning players: Georgia
Georgia’s highly touted freshmen won’t be the only players talked about in Kirby Smart’s first season. The cupboard has plenty of returning players on both sides of the ball capable of making an impact, including WR/PR Isaiah McKenzie, DL Trent Thompson and a host of younger offensive linemen. But here are the best:
WR Terry Godwin, rising sophomore
The MVP of the TaxSlayer Bowl will likely be the top target for whoever wins the quarterback job. And with the ability of passing out of the Wild Dawg formation, Godwin adds a wrinkle to the new Jim Chaney offense. He was Rivals’ No. 1 athlete last summer, and with the graduation of Malcolm Mitchell, Godwin will receive more attention from opposing defenses. This past season, Godwin was second on the team in receiving with 35 catches for 379 yards and two touchdowns.
Dominick Sanders, rising junior
Sanders led Georgia with six interceptions, including one returned for a TD. He’ll be counted on in a young secondary. A lightly regarded recruit coming out of high school, Sanders is not only the best safety at Georgia, he’s one of the best in the SEC.
LB Lorenzo Carter, rising junior
Carter will try to fill the shoes of departing linebackers Leonard Floyd and Jordan Jenkins. Carter was responsible for knocking down the final pass against Penn State in the TaxSlayer Bowl. Last offseason, he added about 20 pounds to enter the season listed at 243 pounds. One of the program’s best in-state recruits in recent memory, Carter should be coming into his own for a banner season.
RB Sony Michel, rising junior
The absence of Nick Chubb from the lineup gave Michel time to show how he looks as an every-down running back. With Chubb due to return, Michel could be used in a variety of roles, capable of making big plays. He rushed for 1,161 yards and eight TDs with 270 receiving yards and three TDs.
RB Nick Chubb, rising junior
The one-time Heisman Trophy candidate will return from a knee injury. While soft-spoken and reserved, Chubb could evolve into a mentor for teammates, particularly those who might suffer a knee injury. Former teammate Todd Gurley provided some of that same leadership before Chubb. When Chubb’s season ended at Tennessee, he was averaging 8.1 yards per carry with seven TDs.