ATHENS -- DeAngelo Tyson did his best. He sacrificed. Every game this season, he started at nose guard for Georgia, often playing almost every snap.
Now as his coaches scour the nation looking to replace him with a bigger, more natural nose guard, Tyson has the following reaction: Yes, please.
“I would rather move out to end and play there,” Tyson said. “Or whatever helps the team out.”
The consensus is that getting a bigger nose guard would definitely be what helps the team out the most.
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As the team switched to a 3-4 defensive scheme this year, no position was left more exposed than nose, which is one of the most critical spots on the defense.
Tyson, at 6-foot-2 and 290 pounds, is a more natural fit at defensive end. But due to his experience, the junior got the nod over redshirt freshman Kwame Geathers (6-6, 325) and junior Justin Anderson (6-5, 325), who suffered a season-ending injury in September.
Georgia ranked seventh in the SEC against the run, yielding 149.2 yards per game. But the lack of a big, physical nose guard may have had a wider and negative effect.
When he was asked what the defense needed most for next year, senior linebacker Darryl Gamble was adamant.
“We’ll have to get a nose that fits a 3-4 to get things the way things should be,” Gamble said. “I mean, start from that position, and I think things will fill in from there.”
Outside linebacker Justin Houston echoed that.
“It’ll really help out the defense,” Houston said. “It’ll free up the inside linebackers more, too. That way, you have to double-team the nose, you will not be able to single-block that.”
The Bulldogs have one commitment from a defensive tackle: Chris Mayes of Griffin is listed at 6-foot-5 and 292 pounds and rated a four-star prospect by Rivals and a three-star by Scout.
But head coach Mark Richt and his staff are making no secret of their desire for another one, preferably one who could play right away.
Some of the focus could be on John Jenkins, a junior college prospect in Mississippi. Jenkins is listed at 6-4 and 340 pounds and is rated a four-star prospect by Rivals and Scout.
Georgia assistant coach Rodney Garner has a keen interest in the situation: He is both Georgia’s recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach. He didn’t hold back either.
“It’s the nucleus,” Garner said. “It’s what we can build the defense around, build this class around. I know that’s one of the things that we’re stressing when we’re talking to the young men that we’re recruiting for that position. That’s one of the things that we’re stressing, how important they are to this class.”
So what about Geathers? He comes from a long family line of successful defensive players and has the size for the position. When asked about Geathers, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham had a short response.
“We’re gonna work him and find out,” Grantham said.
Tyson finished eighth on the team with 35 tackles. He had four tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. If he has to perform those duties again, he will, but his preference is clear.
“It would be great to have someone else to play nose or get depth on the defensive line,” Tyson said.