The "Wolfpack" will have a couple of new leaders to turn in 2018.
Lorenzo Carter and Davin Bellamy made many memorable moments over their time at Georgia. Bypassing the NFL draft for one final season, Carter and Bellamy teamed to form one of the most feared outside linebacker duos in the nation.
The two wreaked havoc on Notre Dame quarterback Brandom Wimbush in a 20-19 victory. Bellamy forced a key fumble that sparked Georgia in its 28-7 SEC Championship victory. Carter blocked a field goal in double overtime to help defeat Oklahoma 54-48 in an instant classic.
But now, this duo will be on to the next chapter in their careers. That means it is time for another tandem to step up and fill the valuable roles Carter and Bellamy provided for what Georgia calls its "Wolfpack" at outside linebacker. The key will be making this transition as seamless as possible. The last time Georgia lost two starting outside linebackers was following the 2015 season, when Jordan Jenkins exhausted his eligibility and Leonard Floyd declared for the draft early.
The Bulldogs have a couple of experienced contributors returning to fill those starting roles but will be looking to get a few freshmen up to speed to provide depth at the position.
They left: Carter, Bellamy
They return: D’Andre Walker (Sr.), Walter Grant (Soph.), Keyon Brown (Sr.), Jaleel Laguins (Soph.), Robert Beal (R-Fr.)
Enrolled early: Brenton Cox
On the way: Adam Anderson, Quay Walker, Azeez Ojulari
What to watch: As great as Carter and Bellamy were as seniors, neither finished the year as Georgia’s sack leader at outside linebacker. That designation went to Walker, who finished the year second on the team behind inside linebacker Roquan Smith (6.5) with 5.5. Bellamy had five sacks and Carter had 4.5.
Four of Walker’s sacks came in Georgia’s final six games. His pass-rushing presence at the Jack outside linebacker was huge for Georgia over the final half of the 2017 season. On the other side at Sam linebacker, Grant will open the spring as the favorite to start. Grant finished the year with nine tackles and half a sack.
Georgia has four talented freshmen joining the position, with Cox, a five-star according to the 247Sports.com composite rankings, enrolling early. This position group will look to cement its rotation with Walker leading the way.
Another variable to keep in mind is the fact the outside linebackers will have a new position coach. With Kevin Sherrer becoming the defensive coordinator at Tennessee, head coach Kirby Smart brought in former Memphis assistant Dan Lanning to lead the outside linebackers.
"I'm really excited to see what he's going to do with a really talented D'Andre Walker and some freshmen at outside backer," Smart said earlier this offseason during a radio interview.
Outlook: This is an interesting position to watch due to the departure of two key standouts. While Walker and Grant are two talented outside linebackers, how they handle the increased minutes with the first team in practice will be an important development. And by bringing in Cox, Anderson, Walker and Ojulari, the Bulldogs are adding some quality competition to the mix.