UGA Football

Landers providing defense a look at opponent’s best receiver

Georgia receiver Matt Landers.
Georgia receiver Matt Landers. Georgia Sports Communications

Throughout the season, freshman receiver Matt Landers has donned the scout-team jersey of the opposing team’s best wideout. This week, he’s wearing Bryan Edwards’ No. 89 while giving the first-team defense a good look at South Carolina’s top passing target.

Landers has done a good job in this role through the first two-thirds of the season. As a result, Landers was given an opportunity for some extra reps during the bye week before beating Florida, which he apparently took advantage of.

He did a good enough job in practice that head coach Kirby Smart thought hard about bringing him up for more duties than what he has become accustomed to on the scout team.

“He’s a force to be reckoned with, I’ll be honest with you,” Smart said. “We talked long and hard in the off week about bringing him up. We gave him a lot of reps and let him work.”

Landers is actually the tallest receiver on Georgia’s roster at 6-foot-5, which is an inch taller than starting wideout Javon Wims. Having that kind of height usually provides a great advantage over smaller defensive backs.

Landers has yet to play in a game this season, which puts him on pace for a redshirt if Georgia continues to hold him out. And with Wims graduating after this season, Landers may have an opportunity to slide into his role in 2018.

While he hasn’t gotten in a game, Smart said Landers has remained focus in practice.

“He likes practicing, he goes up and makes plays,” Smart said. “He competes with those corners with that great length. He enjoys that part of it.”

While it may be some time before Landers contributes in a game, he has carved out a quality role in helping Georgia’s defense prepare for opposing wideouts.

“He gives us a little something out there at wideout that we really don’t have, in that size, outside of Javon. But I don’t know if he’s ready yet,” Smart said. “He’s got to mature a little bit. He’s got to continue to improve academically. But he’s tough on the scout team. He’s fast, he’s long and athletic. He’s going to be a good player if he keeps his head on straight.”