Technically the Georgia football team’s depth chart still only has two wide receiver positions. But when it comes to the Bulldogs offense these days, and college football in general, that’s a bit of an antiquated concept.
In fact, Mike Bobo said recently that Georgia’s base offense last year was a three-receiver set, used about 70 percent of the time.
So when breaking down the preseason outlook at receiver, the fairest thing to do is list three spots. This breakdown also doesn’t differentiate between flanker, split end and the X receiver, mainly for reasons of simplicity, but also because Georgia’s receivers are experienced enough to play multiple spots.
Finally, we also break down tight end, which remains an important spot in the Georgia offense. So here you go:
STARTER: Chris Conley, Sr.
OTHERS RETURNING: Reggie Davis, Soph.; Michael Erdman, Sr.
NEW GUYS: Brendan Langley, Soph. (moved from cornerback).
WHAT TO WATCH: Conley was quarterback Hutson Mason’s favorite wide receiver last season, so the two are already in sync. Davis and Erdman also got some time throwing on the second-team with Mason last season. The bigger intrigue is around Langley, who switched over from defense after spring practice. Will he transition quickly enough to be a factor this season? Or will he take a redshirt season? The preseason will have a big bearing on that.
STARTER: Michael Bennett, Sr.
OTHERS RETURNING: Kenneth Towns, Soph. (walk-on); Jonathan Rumph, Sr.; Clay Johnson, Soph. (walk-on).
NEW GUY: Shakenneth Williams, Fr.; Rico Johnson, Fr.
WHAT TO WATCH: Like Conley, Bennett and Mason know each other well, so developing a rapport isn’t an issue. The other five receivers listed above offer some preseason intrigue: Towns will try to continue a gradual ascent that may eventually land him in the rotation. Rumph has height and ability, he just needs to stay healthy and work hard. Johnson had a nice spring game, and around Georgia they’ve gotten used to playing unheralded walk-ons. Johnson was mentioned by Todd Gurley as a freshman who was impressing during summer workouts. And Williams comes from high school with a solid reputation. Those five need to have a good preseason if they want to crack an exceedingly deep depth chart. (As evidenced by the fact we’ve listed a bunch of experienced players and are just now getting to
STARTER: Malcolm Mitchell, Jr.
OTHERS RETURNING: Justin Scott-Wesley, Jr.; Blake Tibbs, Soph.; Charlie Hegedus, Jr. (walk-on).
NEW GUYS: Isaiah McKenzie, Fr.
WHAT TO WATCH: Mitchell and Mason have not worked together much the past three years, as Mason has mostly been on second-team, and Mitchell has been on first team or injured. He was also out for most of spring practice. So the preseason will be critical in developing some level of chemistry between the quarterback and his most explosive receiver. Then there’s Scott-Wesley, whose return to health has been a bit slower than expected, but the team hopes can still end up participating fully in preseason practice. Even if he does he’s likely suspended for the Clemson game. Still, based on experience Scott-Wesley should be the top backup on the depth chart, which means plenty of balls thrown his way. So if he can return to health in August and feel comfortable, that will be big for the offense. Tibbs, on the other hand, needs to make a move this preseason, after two years and not catching a pass yet. (He redshirted his freshman year.) Hegedus, the transfer from N.C. State, will probably redshirt. McKenzie’s focus may be on special teams, where he could make a huge impact this season. But the speedy receiver will also be given a chance to be involved in the offense.
STARTER: Jay Rome, Jr.
OTHERS RETURNING: Jordan Davis, R-Fr.; Quayvon Hicks, Jr. (also an H-back); Jack Loonam, Jr. (walk-on); Jared Chapple, Soph. (walk-on).
NEW GUY: Jeb Blazevich, Fr.
WHAT TO WATCH: Rome is yet another skill-position player returning from injury, so the focus for him early in camp will be on getting back up to full speed after foot surgery kept him out of spring practice. Davis, his top backup, impressed coaches last year while redshirting, and was certainly helped by getting most of the first-team work with Mason during spring practice. Hicks made the move from fullback to H-back (hybrid fullback-tight end), and was with the tight ends during the spring. It hasn’t been announced whether it’ll stay that way in the preseason. Hicks could be the third tight end, but that depends not only on his practice ability, but on how quickly Blazevich develops. Long-range it will be an interesting competition between Blazevich and Davis to be the team’s tight end of the future. The competition begins in August.
Next up: Offensive line.