Georgia receiver Michael Chigbu knows his 2016 season wasn’t close to meeting the expectations he had when it began. Chigbu started the season opener. He ended it watching from the sidelines, unable to play with a knee injury that required a surgical procedure.
“Personally, I got to do better,” Chigbu said. “I came this year to do better.”
Halfway through preseason practice and just more than two weeks before the Bulldogs’ first game, Chigbu, a junior out of New Orleans, has mixed in with the first-team offense. For Chigbu, a former four-star recruit, this season could be a year to affirm his high school ranking. He has yet to score a collegiate touchdown.
After catching at least one pass and seeing significant playing time in each of the first four games last season, Chigbu recorded two receptions for 20 yards over the remainder of the year.
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His final catch came against Vanderbilt — a game in which he was unable to corral a pass from quarterback Jacob Eason that would have given the Bulldogs a first down with less than a minute to play. The pass was behind Chigbu, but at the time he blamed himself. The next snap, Vanderbilt stopped Georgia on fourth-and-1 to win the game.
“I try not to think about it,” Chigbu said of the drops he recorded last season. “You have to move on. If you keep looking back on it, it's just going to haunt you. One thing that pushes out regret or things that happen in the past is to work hard. When you work hard, you feel happy.”
Chigbu, who missed the final three games of the 2016 season due to his knee injury, finished the year with nine catches for 88 yards. Tight end Charlie Woerner said Chigbu was hampered by the knee injury last year.
Chigbu spent the offseason participating in player-organized 7-on-7 activities, working out, running drills and using a JUGS machine to catch passes at high speeds. Chigbu has personal goals he wants to accomplish this season, although he prefers to keep those to himself.
It remains to be seen if Chigbu will begin the 2017 season in the starting lineup. But he certainly will contribute, if nothing else, as a blocker. For what it’s worth, Woerner hasn’t seen Chigbu drop a pass during the preseason.
“I'm going to add more value to the team than I did in previous years,” Chigbu said.