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Darkhorse: Demetris Robertson

Demetris Robertson joined Georgia Football as a transfer in 2018, but his UGA career hasn't lived up to expectations yet.

We know this is heard every year: This will be Demetris Robertson's breakout season for Georgia Football. The former five-star prospect and California transfer will finally live up to the hype in Athens. 

Everyone has every right to be jaded by that statement.

That's not what Dawgs Daily is going to say today. Instead, we're stating that Robertson has already had his breakout season and that 2021 will be the year it shows in the stat book. Hear us out.

Robertson's early career in review

Robertson, a native of Savannah, Ga., was a universal five-star prospect in the 2016 class. Rather than stay home or go somewhere else in the southeast, he committed to California-Berkeley. 

He immediately made an impact for the Bears, catching four passes for 81 yards and one score in his second collegiate game. Robertson exceeded 100 yards twice that season, including a 141-yard performance late in the year against Washington. At the end of 2016, Robertson had 50 catches, 767 yards, seven touchdowns and a bright future.

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Robertson was off to another good start in 2017, catching seven passes for 70 yards in two outings. However, that's where his sophomore season ended. He underwent surgery before Cal's third game of the year and he missed the rest of the season. 

To make matters worse for Robertson, family issues occurred back home in Savannah in 2018. To be closer to his family, Robertson transferred to Georgia and earned immediate eligibility as a redshirt sophomore. Still dealing with injuries, Robertson made little impact on the 2018 squad. He ended the season without a reception and only 109 yards on the ground.

Robertson's breakout season

The seas parted for Robertson going into the 2019 season when Georgia's five leading receivers left the team. The uber-talented junior would surely capitalize on his opportunities that season. For the first half of the season, he did.

By the end of Georgia's sixth game against South Carolina, Robertson had 17 catches, 204 yards and three touchdowns. He appeared to have good chemistry with quarterback Jake Fromm and the two even connected on a game-tying touchdown against the Gamecocks with less than two minutes remaining on the clock.

However, something else happened in the South Carolina game that would become the turning point for Robertson's season. In overtime, Robertson beat his defender on a deep fade and the nearest safety wasn't close enough to make the play. All Fromm needed to do was throw the ball into the end zone and let Robertson run under it for a game-winning touchdown. Instead, Fromm underthrew the ball and Robertson had to stop and go through a defender to have a chance at the catch. Georgia ultimately lost its first SEC East game in three years.

For whatever reason, Robertson and Fromm's connection appeared to be severed. Fromm only targeted Robertson once against Kentucky. Early against Florida, Robertson burned the defense down the sideline and should have scored an easy touchdown. Fromm underthrew the pass by five yards and a safety broke it up.

Those plays were typical of Fromm and Robertson's last eight games together. Just see for yourself:

Robertson could have, and probably should have, had an amazing season in 2019. He was getting wide open in Georgia's biggest games, but he simply didn't have great chemistry with his quarterback. Instead of another 700-yard season, Robertson ended 2019 with 36 touches for 385 yards and three scores. 

2021 Potential

The biggest factor that has hurt Robertson's career is continuity or a lack of continuity. In five years, Robertson has played with:

  • Two schools 
    • California
    • Georgia
  • Three head coaches
    • Sonny Dykes, California
    • Justin Wilcox, California
    • Kirby Smart, Georgia
  • Five offensive coordinators
    • Jake Spavital, California
    • Beau Balwin, California
    • Jim Cheney, Georgia
    • James Coley, Georgia
    • Todd Monken, Georgia
  • Five starting quarterbacks
    • Davis Webb, California
    • Ros Bowers, California
    • Jake Fromm, Georgia
    • Stetson Bennett IV, Georgia
    • JT Daniels, Georgia

That much change isn't good for a receiver. Learning new systems and building chemistry with new quarterbacks is a real challenge. Imagine doing that multiple times throughout your college career and adding a severe injury and family issue on top of that.

Robertson finally has some continuity entering the 2021 season. He's been in Athens playing for Smart for four years. He's entering his second season in Monken's system and second year with Daniels behind center.

The chemistry between Robertson and Daniels is clearly forming. Robertson's three-catch, 45-yard night in Daniels' debut was his best game of 2020. The duo produced four catches and 88 yards for the red team in the G-Day game. While Robertson and other receivers spent time with Daniels before spring camp, he did not make the recent trip to California with Daniels and other offensive skill players.

Most important, Daniels has a strong arm and confidence to use it, two traits that separate him from Georgia's previous two quarterbacks. The severely underthrown passes Robertson received from Fromm in 2019 aren't a concern with Daniels. And Robertson doesn't need to be wide open because Daniels will give him a chance to make tough catches.

Don't expect a 1,000-yard or 10-touchdown season from Robertson, but with so many factors now in his favor, Robertson should have his best season as a Bulldog in 2021.

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