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George Pickens’ NFL Success Could be Massive for Georgia

What could a successful NFL career for George Pickens do for Georgia?
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With college football transitioning into a high-paced, high-scoring, offensively orientated sport, the need for elite wide receivers has never been higher.

The worst-kept secret in Athens, Georgia, is that Georgia's program has not had a wide receiver catch for more than 1,000 yards in a season since Terrance Edwards in 2002. Along with that, the last All-pro wide receiver that played for the Bulldogs was AJ Green in 2015. 

Some of the other top programs, like Alabama and Ohio State, churn out multiple 1,000-yard receivers a year. However, over the years, the lack of production at wide-out in Athens has left fans worried about the future of recruiting at the position. That fear grew when star receiver Jermaine Burton transferred to Alabama following the program's first national championship in four decades.

Fast forward months later, and former Georgia receiver George Pickens is taking over the headlines so far this preseason in the National Football League.

Pickens was once a verbal commit to rivals Auburn before flipping to Georgia on signing day of 2019. It didn't take Pickens long to start creating buzz, as a clip from practice was released that showed him making a circus one-handed catch.

Pickens lived up to the hype in his time at Georgia, as he tallied 1347 yards and 14 touchdowns on 90 receptions in 24 total games. UGA fans will always be left wondering what could have been with George Pickens in 2022, but unfortunately, a torn ACL limited him to the team's final four games. The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted the six-foot-five Wide Receiver in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft after previously being projected as a first-round pick before the knee injury.

All George Pickens has done since arriving at camp with the Steelers is make highlight-level plays consistently. He has been the talk of NFL Twitter for the last month, already being labeled as "the steal of the draft."

In the Steelers' first preseason game, Pickens kept the momentum going for 43 yards on three catches with a touchdown while also adding a signature George Pickens pancake block in the run game.

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Nobody (other than Steelers fans) is pulling for Pickens to continue to build on his success at the next level more than Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs' coaching staff. 

The best recruiting tool that a staff can have is players with success at the next level, and when you combine that with the media buzz created by a former five-star wide receiver out of high school, it is a perfect scenario for Georgia. 

No longer will Georgia have to sell wide receiver recruits on the idea of what they might be, but they can point to a guy like George Pickens and show them what they ultimately could be.

The former Hoover, Alabama, native is already considered a Georgia legend as he helped the team win its first national championship since 1980, but how he impacts the program's future might be his greatest attribute yet. 

Georgia Football Injury Report as of 8/16/22

  • Arian Smith, WR (Ankle) OUT - SI Dawgs Daily confirms Smith will miss at least six weeks due to undergoing surgery.
  • Kendall Milton, RB (Hamstring) OUT - Sources confirmed a minor hamstring tweak. Limited participant for a week or so to recover.
  • De'Nylon Morrissette, WR (Knee) OUT - Smart said during his press conference Saturday that Morrissette suffered a hype-extended knee early on during camp.
  • Tate Ratledge, OL (foot) IN - “Ron Courson actually told us that what he's gone through this summer would actually be more demanding on him than the season. He's been repping with the 1's and 2's.”
  • Tykee Smith, S (Knee) IN - "He's back repping, but he's not 100%. Knee injuries can be tricky. But he's back practicing to an extent."
  • EJ Lightsey, LB (Knee) IN- He's been medically cleared from the gunshot wound per Smart, but he has been dealing with a knee injury from the summer.
  • Bear Alexander, DL (Shoulder) IN - Smart indicated based on practice demands, Alexander will be available in camp.
  • Darnell Washington, TE (Foot) IN - Smart said that Washington has been doing extra conditioning and is back running at full speed. Sources have indicated he’s a full participant at practice.

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