Georgia returns starting inside linebacker Nakobe Dean for his junior season following the departure of Monty Rice for the NFL. Dean is the most experienced linebacker on the team in 2021 and looks towards a springboard season that could boost his NFL Draft stock.
Despite the loss of Rice, Georgia is still well off at inside linebacker as both Quay Walker and Channing Tindall will have one final go in Athens this fall.
The two returning seniors are involved in a position battle to see who lines up next to Dean as the starting linebacker pairing this season. The early favorite is Walker, the Cordele, Ga., native who was a big contributor in 2020, seeing action in all 10 games and starting in Georgia's wins over Kentucky and Cincinnati.
Walker showed promise in 2020 as a freak athlete who helps out in run defense. Walker is a consistent tackler for the Dawgs, but still needs some work on reading his keys, often over-pursuing ball carriers and making mistakes in pass coverage.
While Tindall is the current underdog to "ride shotgun" to Dean at inside linebacker this season, there is no questioning his talent. Tindall made a name for himself in his first three seasons with his speed in pass coverage along with his ability to shoot the gaps and rush the passer. He totaled four sacks a season ago as Georgia's fourth linebacker.
This season serves as the first and final chance for Walker and Tindall to make their mark as major contributors at the linebacker position. The talent already shown on tape by both of them gives Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy hope these two could spring up draft boards in 2021.
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