Georgia 2020 Depth Chart Preview: Inside Receivers
Georgia went out this offseason and aggressively addressed their need for more dynamic receivers. The influx of young receiving talent combined with the hires of new Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken and addition to the offensive staff Buster Faulkner could prove to be one of the more dynamic in all of the SEC and the country next season.
The Dawgs brought in big-bodied, physical receivers like Justin Robinson and Marcus Rosemy that are expected to join the George Pickens, Matt Landers, Tommy Bush, Trey Blount, and Makiya Tongue as the outside wide receivers. Today we focus on the expected depth chart breakdown of the inside receivers.
1. Demetris Robertson or Dominick Blaylock
Demetris Robertson is a player that has seen a dramatic decline in production from his Freshman year at Cal. The former 5-star recruit has not seemed to find his footing at Georgia. The volume simply has not been there for Robertson and honestly the times that he has been targeted there have been some inconsistencies in his routes and he's been hampered by injury.
A healthy offseason will be crucial for the Savannah native as he'll be learning a new system under Todd Monken. When 100 percent, Robertson has the versatility and speed to be a weapon out of the slot via jet sweeps, screen passes, and deep shots. Monken likes to drive the ball down the field and Robertson has shown the ability to track the long ball well in the past.
Dominick Blaylock burst onto the scene for the Dawgs as a true Freshman in 2019. Blaylock had the longest reception of the season for the Bulldogs with his 60-yard touchdown reception against Auburn. Excluding John FitzPatrick's lone reception for 22 yards, Blaylock led the team in yards per catch with an average of 17.22. Unfortunately, the 2019 campaign was cut short for Blaylock in the SEC Championship Game when he suffered a torn ACL.
All indications are that Blaylock had a successful surgery and his rehab process could have him ready close to the beginning of the season, maybe sometime in fall camp if all goes well. To be so youthful, the Marietta, Georgia product has displayed a lot of poise in his short time as a Dawg. That touchdown reception mentioned earlier against Auburn was a coverage read by Blaylock and he had to be on the same page as Fromm to make that play happen.
This type of football acumen bodes well for Blaylock's prospects at mastering Monken's playbook, even with limited physical reps during the offseason. At his best physically, Blaylock possesses the ideal abilities of a slot receiver. He's a crisp route runner, smooth in and out of the break and is elusive with the ball in his hands. Blaylock also proved himself trustworthy to Kirby Smart as he was placed back as the deep man on punt return quite often.
2. Kearis Jackson
Much like Demetris Robertson, Kearis Jackson has not been able to live up to his full potential at Georgia mostly due to a bevy of injuries. Also like Robertson, Jackson was heavily recruited coming out of Peach County High School in Fort Valley, Georgia. Alabama, Auburn, and Florida all put their hat in the ring before the former 4-star signed with UGA.
Jackson will be a redshirt Sophomore and can provide leadership to this young unit along with his two teammates that have been listed ahead of him. Kearis is tough and might be one, if not the, strongest of the inside receivers and can pay dividends in run blocking and creating separation at the top of routes. This spring will be key for Kearis. With Blaylock recovering, Jackson has the ability to emerge as a true contender for playing time.
It was evident that the Georgia staff was confident in the 5'11" 200-pounder early on in the 2019 campaign as he was targeted multiple times by Jake Fromm on key downs and even produced an explosive play against Vanderbilt before breaking his hand. Jackson will need to show awareness, the ability to make people miss in space, and reliable hands in order to hold off the incoming Freshman and push Robertson and Blaylock for added snaps.
3. Jermaine Burton or Arian Smith
There is plenty to be excited about when it comes to Jermaine Burton. Georgia was able to flip the 4-star wideout away from LSU before early signing day. The change of heart that the Dawgs were able to convince Jermaine of, may be looked upon as one of the bigger coups of the 2020 recruiting cycle.
Former Georgia all-time great and personal receiving coach to Burton, Terrence Edwards compared the incoming Freshman to the 2019 LSU star and Biletnikoff Award Winner Ja'Marr Chase. Like Chase, Burton commands the ball in his direction with an uncanny ability to track the deep ball and suddenness in his route running that leaves defensive backs looking like they're standing still.
Burton is a relentless worker, constantly posting videos of his workout regiment in order to try and become the best. Adjusting to the speed of the game is always something that has to be taken into consideration when thinking about playing time for true Freshman. Burton is also not arriving on campus until this summer. However, should he prove to be a quick study and pick up what Monken and company are putting out there, then he has the versatility, speed, and especially the ball skills to climb the depth chart in a hurry.
Another incoming Freshman and soon to be a teammate of Burton, Arian Smith, is plain and simple a burner! Bulldog Maven has written about the game-breaking speed that Smith possesses. If you need a reference as to how fast the Lakeland, Florida product is, just try to grasp that he is officially recorded and documented as faster than former Dawg Mecole Hardman was out of high school.
You know, the Mecole Hardman that has taken the NFL by storm due to his speed, has been named to the Pro Bowl and will be playing in the Super Bowl in his rookie season?
Smith is as fast, if not faster, than every single receiver that Todd Monken used in Tampa Bay to accumulate over 5200 passing yards in the 2018 season. While being an accomplished receiver in his own right throughout high school, it would not be shocking at all to see Smith make an immediate impact on special teams in the return game. Give this man a crease and it's over!
Smith is built like a world-class sprinter at 6'1" 170, he possesses a powerful lower half and also has great leaping ability. Combine his length, speed, and ability to jump and you have a receiving target with a tremendous catch radius. Undoubtedly Kirby Smart and Todd Monken will be looking for ways to incorporate what will be one of the fastest players in the entire college football landscape into the offensive gameplan throughout the 2020 campaign.