Georgia is still searching for its go-to target at receiver. In the meantime, there are a handful of wideouts who should be able to provide valuable roles for an offense looking to be more explosive in the coming season.
The Bulldogs sputtered at times offensively in 2016, with a large part of that having to do with a stagnant running game. The offensive line, however, performed well for the most part in pass protection. If Georgia can find more balance, the passing game should find more windows to hit plays in.
If the offensive line can help balance Georgia’s offensive attack, the passing game should trend upward. And an experienced receiver group will have a large part of that occurring.
Coming out of the spring, here is a look at where the wide receivers stand.
Post-spring depth chart
Split end: Riley Ridley, Jeremiah Holloman, Jayson Stanley
Flanker: Javon Wims, Michael Chigbu, Tyler Simmons
Slot: Terry Godwin, Mecole Hardman
Those on the way
Georgia is adding a lot of size with the three remaining freshman receivers who will look to find a role in the receiver rotation. Pennsylvania product Mark Webb is a versatile target at 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds who displayed the ability to win position against defensive backs in high school.
St. Petersbug, Florida, receiver Matt Landers immediately will be the tallest receiver on the roster at 6-foot-5 once he arrives to campus. Georgia is in need of a taller wideout who can win the jump-ball battle. Landers could provide that down the road.
Georgia also will welcome Atlanta native Trey Blount to the receiver group. Blount may be the most underrated recruit in this class. At 6-2 and 185 pounds, Blount is a well-rounded route runner who has great football intelligence.
In total, the Bulldogs did a great job recruiting the receiver position in 2017.
Georgia is forced to replace the production of its top receiving target in Isaiah McKenzie, who elected to bypass his senior season for the NFL. McKenzie, who caught 44 passes for 633 yards and seven touchdowns, did most of his damage out of the slot.
That means Godwin, who practiced the majority of his reps in the slot during the spring, could see a major uptick in production. Godwin, a former five-star receiver, finished second in receiving last season with 38 catches and 397 yards.
While Godwin could be in for a big year, the flanker and split end spots are where Georgia would really like to see some improvement.
Ridley showcased his play-making ability at times, highlighted by a 47-yard touchdown near the end of Georgia’s heartbreaking loss to Tennessee. Wims came on strong down the stretch and has continued to build a strong rapport with quarterback Jacob Eason during the offseason.
Holloman enrolled early as a freshman and already looks the part of being a contributing receiver. Stanley and Chigbu are both possession threats who were regarded as two of Georgia’s best blocking receivers.
Georgia may not have one elite-level household name at receiver at the moment. But the group has a number of players who figure to contribute in multiple ways at the position.
Considering Eason was only a freshman last season, Georgia’s passing game numbers weren’t gaudy. The fact that he’ll be in his second year of Jim Chaney’s system should lead to an increase in yards and touchdowns.
Last season, Eason threw for 2,430 yards, 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions. If Eason makes the leap many expect, he should push 3,000 yards, which would mean more catches and yards for the receivers to share.
Godwin figures to be the biggest beneficiary from a statistical standpoint. Godwin only caught six fewer passes than McKenzie in 2016 but McKenzie totaled 236 more yards.
Stepping into an often-utilized slot receiver role, Godwin should not only see more targets but could see greater usage down the field for big plays.