Georgia football had 15 players drafted, but there is plenty of talent still in Athens.
After such an outstanding 2021 campaign for Georgia football, there are some that don’t believe Georgia will now go quietly into the night. They believe that Georgia shot their only shot and now will creep back into an underachieving team. They believe Kirby Smart’s team has been emptied of every ounce of talent it had. Have they not been paying attention to the machine Coach Smart has been building?
Yes, this past weekend Georgia football had 15 players taken in the NFL Draft. Which was an amazing accomplishment for the program. However, it has also created the question of whether or not Georgia can bounce back from losing so many talented players. The short answer is, of course, yes. Coach Smart is one of the best recruiters and coaches in College Football.
However, let’s dive into the evidence that backs this claim up. Starting with the job Coach Smart has done on the recruiting trail for Georgia Football. Unlike a certain former SEC head coach, Coach Smart believes it is always recruiting season. According to the 247Sports Composite, Coach Smart hasn’t had a recruiting class ranked outside of the Top Three in the last four years.
Recruiting Class Rankings:
- 2019 No. 2
- 2020 No. 1
- 2021 No. 3
- 2022 No. 3
Recruit Rating Breakdown of 2022 roster:
- 14 5- stars
- 48 4-stars
- 22 3-star
Replacing the defensive players:
Georgia football lost defensive end Travon Walker, nose tackle Jordan Davis, and defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt to the NFL Draft. The plan to replace these players includes both experienced and young players. Upper Classmen like Zion Logue, Tramel Walthour, Jalen Carter, Warren Brinson, and Nazir Stackhouse will be aided by Under Classmen such as Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins and Jonathan Jefferson.
That is not even mentioning freshmen Mykel Williams, “Bear” Alexander, Christen Miller, and Shone Washington. As you can see, Georgia football has a plethora of defensive linemen at their disposal. The depth of their defensive line rotation is as deep as ever. Losing Walker, Davis, and Wyatt does sting, but Georgia has the players to get through it.
Georgia football saw three inside linebackers go to the NFL as well. Those being Nakobe Dean, Quay Walker, and Channing Tindall. This may have stung more than the defensive linemen. However, the cupboard is far from empty here as well. Sophomore Jamon “Pop” Dumas-Johnson will take over for Dean at the Money position and Senior Trezman Marshall will take over for Quay Walker at Mac.
However, just like with the defensive line, that is not where the rotation ends. Rian Davis and Jalon Walker figure to rotate behind Pop as Smael Mondon, Xavien Sorey, and C.J. Washington figure to get snaps behind Marshall. Dean’s instincts and leadership will be missed greatly, but what this group of inside linebackers lacks in experience they make up for with raw talent.
Georgia football also lost two players in its secondary, safety Lewis Cine and cornerback Derion Kendrick. With Chris Smith coming back for his final year and Tykee Smith coming back from his ACL tear, the loss of Cine isn’t as bad as it could have been. Junior Kelee Ringo remains at left cornerback while Kamari Lassiter and Nylan Green will compete for the hole left by Kendrick at right cornerback.
Super Senior William Poole, who will spend most of his time at Star, will also provide depth at cornerback. Freshmen Daylen Everette, Jaheim Singletary, and Julian Humphrey will also provide depth at cornerback. As for safety, redshirt-sophomore walk-on Dan Jackson, sophomore David Daniel-Sisavanh, freshman Malaki Starks, and JaCorey Thomas will most likely provide depth behind Smith & Smith.
Replacing the offensive players
Georgia football lost two offensive linemen in Jamaree Salyer and Justin Shaffer. However, this could be the deepest position group of the entire team. That is why so many are transferring out. Over the last four years, Coach Smart has brought in 18 offensive linemen. Of those, Broderick Jones will be taking over at left tackle for Salyer while Xavier Truss takes over at left guard for Shaffer.
Freshman Earnest Greene, sophomore Amarius Mims, and freshman Aliou Bah seem to figure into the rotation at left tackle behind Jones. While sophomore Micah Morris, sophomore Dylan Fairchild, junior Chad Lindberg, and freshman Drew Bobo figure into the rotation at left guard behind Truss. It’s not hard to imagine that Georgia football could have a better offensive line than they did in 2022.
Another big piece that Georgia lost was wide receiver George Pickens. Now Georgia has a plethora of receivers lining up to take over Pickens’ targets, but let’s focus on just the X receiver position. First up is Adonai Mitchell who filled in for Pickens when he tore his ACL last year. Junior Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint, freshman De’Nylon Morrissette, and freshman Dillon Bell all figure into the rotation at X receiver behind Mitchell.
Running Back University put two more running backs into the NFL this past weekend. Zamir White and James Cook were two of the best running backs to come through Athens. However, junior Kenny McIntosh has been chomping at the bit to get starter reps. McIntosh is an all-around back that has patiently waited for his opportunity and can’t wait to take advantage of it.
That’s not to say McIntosh is the only running back waiting in the wings. Kendall Milton is a beast with the ball in his hands. His bowling ball running style has made him an instant favorite in Athens. Then there is underdawg Daijun Edwards who could start for any SEC school if he so chose. Last but certainly not least are freshman four-star Branson Robinson and freshman three-star, Andrew Paul.
Georgia has one of the best tight-end rooms in College Football, so replacing John Fitzpatrick shouldn’t be a problem. Sophomore Brock Bowers could very well be the best tight end in College Football. Add to him “Big O” Darnell Washington and it’s almost impossible to shut down Georgia football’s tight ends. However, it doesn’t stop there. Marietta native Arik Gilbert is back with the team as well as freshman Oscar Delp.
Replacing the special teams players
Losing Jake Camarda could be the most underrated loss out of all 15 of the players that got drafted. Just ask Georgia’s defense how they feel about losing him. Camarda’s ability to pin the other team deep in their own territory will be sorely missed. However, maybe freshman Aussie punter Brett Thorson can start a new tradition of doing the same.
There you have it, how Georgia football plans to reload after having 15 players drafted from last year’s team. As was pointed out at the beginning of this article, Georgia has plenty of talent left to go around. Don’t let the naysayers tell you any different. This season could be another special one for Georgia. Coach Smart’s machine will keep rolling along.
Again, Georgia lost 15 players, 6 five-stars, 6 four-stars, and 3 three-stars to the NFL. However, Coach Smart is starting 6 five-stars, 16 four-stars, and 5 three-stars this season. There is still plenty of talent to go around in Athens. As was pointed out before, the cupboard is far from bare and the 2023 recruiting cycle will only add more talent to it. This machine isn’t stopping any time soon.