Georgia football has no shortage of big names heading to the 2021 season. Even with wide receiver George Pickens out, there are household names littered throughout the roster.
However, this isn't about the JT Daniels' of the world, Jordan Davis or Jalen Carter, nor Nakobe Dean or Lewis Cine. No, this is about the players on the team that will need to venture into that realm this season for Georgia to reach its national title aspirations.
DE Travon Walker: At 6-foot-5, 290 pounds, Walker is a huge guy on the defensive line at UGA. After two seasons playing behind defensive end Malik Herring, he's now entering a season where Georgia will be relying heavily on No. 44. Walker is a freak athlete who has had sparks here and there including a game-clinching sack against Auburn in 2019, and ridiculous plays such as covering Auburn running back Tank Bigsby out of the backfield in 2020.
In 2021, Walker is expected to take over where Herring left off. He'll play more towards the tackles this year, perhaps even taking an outside linebacker role in the place of Azeez Ojulari. Combine Walker's freakish size and speed with the mountain known as Davis, the sophomore stud Carter and returning senior Devonte Wyatt, Georgia's defensive line is a strength heading into the fall.
WR Arian Smith: Speed kills. In its purest, raw form, speed is the answer to everything. Smith is the definition of speed.
With a year under offensive coordinator Todd Monken's system and a spring and summer practice to refine his route-running skills, Smith is in the driver's seat to become a major deep-ball threat to any defense that Georgia comes up against. Especially with Pickens out.
He caught on late in 2020 after recovering from injury during the early part of the year, but he quickly proved there are few who can run with him.
DB Chris Smith: When a motorcycle crash after the Kentucky game sidelined Richard LeCounte, lesser-known veteran Chris Smith stepped up to the plate. He never looked back. The experience gained in 2020 will prove monumental this fall with Georgia having a green secondary outside of Cine and Smith.
Smith is fast and quick to diagnose plays and has the physicality to come downfield in the alley and destroy any poor soul who happens to have the ball in their hand. He's a name that started to emerge at the end of the 2020 season, but could become a household name by the time 2021 is through.
WR Kearis Jackson: Jackson is an obvious choice on this list, but not for the reason you may be thinking. Sure, he's a reliable receiver. He makes big catches when they are needed. He's a favorite target of Daniels. All of these things are true. But his role as a kickoff-return and punt-return specialist are crucial aspects to the game that are often overlooked.
Jackson has a couple of years of experience at this position and has proven the ability to flip the field in the return game. It is easier for an offense to gain 50 or 60 yards on a drive than 75 or 80 or more. Jackson's output in this area may go unnoticed, but it will have a substantial impact on how many points Georgia scores in 2021.
RB Kenny McIntosh: McIntosh tends to be overlooked, and why wouldn't it? Players like Zamir White, James Cook and Kendall Milton dominate the headlines, but McIntosh has proven to be one of the better backs in the rotation. He's a good all-around back, but ever since his first touchdown against Arkansas State in 2019, McIntosh has held his own in what is the most talented running backs room in the nation.
He has the ability to make defenders miss. He has the ability to become a major weapon in the air attack similar to Cook. No. 6 is a potent piece of Georgia's offensive rotation, and don't be surprised to see his name pop up multiple times this year.
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