True freshmen are always a hot topic during the preseason.
Georgia brought in 23 true freshmen and two junior college transfers in its recruiting class of 2017. The class was coveted by recruiting experts, with it earning a No. 3 overall ranking in the 247Sports.com composite.
Early on, there have been quite a few freshmen who have made plays and stood out on the practice field.
After 10 days of the preseason, here are five true freshmen who have stood out at practice.
Never miss a local story.
Running back D’Andre Swift
Swift put on a show during Saturday’s open practice. He drew a lot of applause with two particular runs that came close to one another. Swift first trucked safety Jarvis Wilson on one run and then spun away from a tackler on an ensuing carry.
There won’t be much pressure placed on Swift early on in his career. The Philadelphia area native will get to play behind Nick Chubb and Sony Michel while battling Brian Herrien and Elijah Holyfield for carries.
But one area Swift could see some early playing time is as a slot receiver. Swift has seen reps at this position, which is something offensive coordinator Jim Chaney has been working running backs and tight ends in at.
As of now, Swift has been the most impressive freshman in practice.
Wide receiver Mark Webb
Webb, Swift’s cousin, has showed off size and speed through more than one week of practice. And Webb even earned some first-team reps at receiver during Saturday’s open practice at Fan Day.
Webb, at 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, figures to be one to watch throughout the remainder of August. And the Bulldogs, at least to start the season, plan to rotate plenty of receivers, considering one hasn’t emerged as a go-to No. 1 wideout.
Therefore, Webb should have plenty of chances to state his case for early playing time.
Offensive lineman Andrew Thomas
Isaiah Wilson enrolled at Georgia as a five-star recruit who figured to challenge for a starting spot immediately.
But the first freshman offensive lineman to run with the first team has been Thomas, the Pace Academy standout and U.S. Army All-American Bowl participant. While Thomas projects down the road as a left tackle, he received first-team reps at left guard during practice this week.
It’s only a matter of time before Wilson gets a shot at some first-team reps. But Thomas has impressed the coaching staff enough to get a look at first-team left guard during the first 10 days of the preseason.
Wide receiver Trey Blount
Notice a trend here?
Georgia’s freshman offensive players have stepped up quite a bit already and Blount is among those who have fared well through the early part of the preseason. Of course, now it’s on Blount, and the other freshmen, to avoid that early wall many young players can hit.
Blount has showed off his athleticism at times during practice. He’s quick, agile and catching the ball well.
While Webb was the top freshman receiver at Saturday’s open practice, Blount had plenty of exciting plays as well, including a deep ball for a touchdown in the corner of the end zone. It’s easy to see what Blount could potentially bring to Georgia’s offense.
Cornerback Ameer Speed
Based on early results, Speed could find himself competing for a rotational role in Georgia’s secondary.
It will be incredibly hard to unseat Malkom Parrish and Deandre Baker as starters at cornerback. But Speed offers a lot of size at 6-foot-3 and 211 pounds, which could be tough for Georgia’s coaching staff to ignore.
Bigger cornerbacks who can press receivers at the line of scrimmage are hard to find. The Bulldogs will hope Speed fits the bill for the future. And if he can show that early on, perhaps there will be a role for him as a true freshman.