My story today looks more generally at the process of redshirting, including past decisions and whether they’ve been correct. But what about this year? Let’s take a deeper look at that.
This is about the time in the preseason when coaches develop a plan. Through interviews with coaches and players, and my own observations, I’ll take an educated guess (or better than a guess) on each of Georgia’s 31 newcomers. They can be broken into three categories:
- Almost certain to play this year. (Players who are working with the first or second team and are going nowhere near the scout team.)
- Likely to redshirt. (Unless there is an unexpected rash of injuries.)
- It depends. (Players who will be held back to start the year, but seeing the field is not ruled out. There are some good recent examples of this: Chris Conley almost redshirted two years ago, but his redshirt was pulled before the Florida game. Three years ago, Ken Malcome nearly had his redshirt pulled late in the season, but still redshirted.)
One thing to remember about the following list is that it’s a bit easier to project on offense than defense. That’s because a) depth is better on offense, so decisions are more clear-cut, b) the offensive coaches tend to be more candid about their plans, and c) defensive players you would assume will redshirt often end up playing because Todd Grantham likes giving them experience on special teams.
“If you like the guy, if you feel like they’re ready to play, just go ahead and play them. And that helps your depth on your special teams,” Grantham said. “It gives you guys that can be quality special teams guys, and I think once you start getting a feel for the speed of the game (on special teams), I think that helps you too.”
So here’s how we would break it down:
ALMOST CERTAIN TO PLAY
DL John Atkins: The prep school transfer may or may not be a definite member of the defensive line rotation as the season starts. But he’s 20 years old with four years of eligibility, so there’s really no sense holding the clock off a year.
ILB Reggie Carter: The freshman begins the season as the top reserve at both inside linebacker positions, and he might push junior Ramik Wilson for a starting spot.
TE Jordan Davis: He might have redshirted, but the departure of Ty Flournoy-Smith over the summer ended those plans. Davis is the third-string tight end, and there’s every indication he’s in the offensive plans, even if it’s just in a fourth-quarter role.
RB Brendan Douglas: Right now it appears all three of Georgia’s freshmen tailbacks will play, whether it be on special teams or as in the backfield.
OLB Leonard Floyd: A prep school transfer who has been the defensive story of preseason camp, Floyd could be starting sooner rather than later.
S Shaquille Fluker:: The junior college transfer is will start or at least get a lot of snaps at strong safety in the season opener.
RB J.J. Green: Green may have a leg up to be the top backup to Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall.
DL Toby Johnson: The junior college transfer is already set to be a member of the line rotation, and could be starting before long.
ILB Tim Kimbrough: Ideally the Indianapolis native may have redshirted, but the depth isn’t good at this position, making him a second-teamer already.
CB Brendan Langley: This freshman will begin the season as one of the top reserve cornerbacks, and a key part of the secondary.
FS Tray Matthews: Georgia’s starting free safety since about halfway through spring practice.
DL Chris Mayes: The junior college transfer (who is a sophomore) has been out the past week with a concussion. But he’s still on track to be part of the rotation, especially since he has three years to play three. In other words, he can’t redshirt.
WR Jonathan Rumph: The junior college transfer has had a good preseason, after a so-so spring, and as the team’s tallest receiver, there will be a special play or two for him on offense.
RB A.J. Turman: You still wonder whether one of these three freshman tailbacks will end up redshirting, especially if the team decides to use senior walk-on Brandon Harton. But the coaches keep saying they expect to play Turman, Green and Douglas.
CB Shaq Wiggins: Same as Langley. He’s playing, and he’ll play a lot.
LIKELY TO REDSHIRT
S Paris Bostick: This is a definite redshirt. Bostick came down with turf toe over the summer and will not play this season.
OL Aulden Bynum: The depth on the offensive line makes this a near-definite.
OL Josh Cardiello: Cardiello may be a little more likely to play than Bynum, as Cardiello is an interior lineman, and could get a look as the backup center. But the better bet is still that he’ll redshirt.
DL DeAndre Johnson: The 311-pounder nicknamed “Moose” is caught behind a bunch of other candidates to play on the line. There would have to be a rash of injuries for him to see the field.
WR Uriah LeMay: There are just too many receivers ahead of Christian’s younger brother.
QB Brice Ramsey: The plan is still to give the team’s freshman quarterback a year off, even if he comes out of the preseason as the team’s third-team quarterback. Aaron Murray and Hutson Mason would have to both go down with injuries, and Ramsey be the only viable option.
CB Reggie Wilkerson: Wilkerson had season-ending knee surgery over the summer. It’s too bad for the freshman and the defense, because he finished the spring very high on the depth chart.
OLB Davin Bellamy: Thumb surgery caused the freshman to miss a week of practice, so he’s a bit back in the pecking order right now. But Bellamy is talented.
WR Reggie Davis: Entering the preseason this looked like a clear-cut redshirt candidate, given Georgia’s receiver depth. But the speedy Davis has been so impressive that he might crack that rotation, especially with an injury or two.
DB Kennar Johnson: It’s more likely that Johnson, a junior college transfer, will see the field this year. But it’s not quite certain yet.
G-C Brandon Kublanow: Offensive line coach Will Friend said recently that Kublanow was the freshman most likely to see the field, thanks to his potential to be the backup center, and help out at guard.
S Quincy Mauger: The freshman was in good shape to play after enrolling early and having a good spring, but he’s been a bit slowed by injuries this preseason.
OLB Shaun McGee: Right now the freshman is at best a third-teamer at outside linebacker, but he could end up being one of those guys Grantham gives some experience on special teams.
ILB Johnny O’Neal: It’s more likely that O’Neal will play, especially since he’s had a good preseason. But it’s not a given quite yet.
ILB Ryne Rankin: Much like O’Neal, ideally Rankin would redshirt, but the question is whether the depth at inside linebacker will allow that.
WR Tramel Terry: Perhaps the team’s highest-rated offensive recruit, Terry was definitely going to play, but his recovery from knee surgery has been a bit slower than expected. So now it will depend on how he feels, and whether the team needs him. The bet here is he still ends up playing.