Just off the back of the first scrimmage of fall camp, the media was able to speak with Coach Smart about everything that transpired Saturday and throughout the week. Of course, the news of Arik Gilbert is the headliner following the scrimmage, but Georgia did have some good news about some freshman stepping up on Saturday during live action.
With notable absences from Jermaine Burton, Kearis Jackson, Arik Gilbert, and Derion Kendrick, the Dawgs knew they would get the younger players involved on Saturday.
Smart made sure to highlight some freshmen as those making plays in the teams' first scrimmage, giving fans hope that the future is bright in Athens due to the elite-level recruiting that Smart and his staff brought to Athens.
A pair of freshman linebackers received praise from the head coach as he spotlighted their play not only on Saturday but throughout fall camp. Smart said:
"I thought Jamon Dumas-Johnson made a great play on a pick. He has flashed in camp. You know this kid did not play his senior year, they canceled football and he didn't get to play. I keep watching him, and I'm like man who is No. 10. Man who is that. He flashes and makes plays. He and Smael (Mondon) are just so hard-working and tough and strike people. I feel like we have two real good young players at linebacker. They're going to be real good players, but nobody really stuck out or anything like that. There weren't really a lot of turnovers in the scrimmage, but there weren't a lot of big plays either."
The future does indeed look to be bright at linebacker even though three contributors are draft eligible at the end of the 2021 season, those three being Nakobe Dean (junior), Quay Walker (senior), and Channing Tindall (senior).
Mondon was one of the premier signings in 2021 as a do-it-all linebacker who can play off the edge and inside. Mondon is practicing as an inside linebacker since arriving in Athens this spring, constantly showing off his athleticism. On the other hand, Dumas-Johnson was an under-the-radar signing for the Dawgs out of Baltimore, Maryland.
A potential surprise shoutout was the mention of freshman defensive back Kamari Lassiter, who Smart pointed out as someone who was not in Athens for spring practice; Smart said the young freshman was a "surprise highlight of camp."
"Kamari Lassiter is a guy that didn't get to play in the spring, he wasn't here, but he's really been a surprise highlight of camp. He's intentional. He's smart. He cares about special teams. He learns the first time you tell him. Just another evidence that if you go get smart students that can run, they can play. I think he is going to be a really good football players."
Smart also pointed out fellow freshman defensive backs Nyland Green and Lovasea Caroll as guys still learning and developing at the position so far.
With injuries and events outside of football keeping some key players off the field for Georgia for the first scrimmage of the fall, hearing the name of some freshman gives encouragement that Georgia is doing their job as coaches developing young talent.
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