Offensive Line Primary Concern Following Transfer Portal Acquisitions

Head coach Kirby Smart and Georgia did a tremendous job of filling holes in the roster through the transfer portal. Is Georgia's biggest concern now shifting toward the offensive line?

One thing that supporters and critics of Georgia head coach Kirby Smart can both agree on during his time in Athens is that Smart has excelled in identifying holes or weaknesses in his roster and addressing those, whether through recruiting or the transfer portal. 

The trend continued this offseason with an obvious weakness at cornerback following the departure of starters Eric Stokes, Tyson Campbell and Mark Webb, and key contributors DJ Daniel and Tyrique Stevenson, who transferred to Miami. 

Smart and Co. responded with Tykee Smith and Derion Kendrick; both look to start in 2021 in the secondary for the Dawgs. They also added a depth piece in Brandon Turnage, a rising sophomore from Alabama, who saw action in only four games in two seasons in Tuscaloosa. 

Georgia's staff had the entire offseason to search the portal for suitable guys who could help the team out in the secondary, and they certainly found their guys. But they had to adjust their plans following the ACL injury to star wide receiver George Pickens at the beginning of spring practice. The Dawgs were already in pursuit of former LSU tight end Arik Gilbert, but the injury to Pickens further enticed Georgia's interest in the new Bulldog. 

With the receiver position looking firmly entrenched in the strength column heading into this season, the same could be said about the secondary. At the very least, the questions were answered on paper.

Now the concern shifts to Georgia's offensive line. Clemson boasts one of the country's most talented defensive lines heading to Week-1 matchup with a perennial playoff contender.

With the losses of starting center Trey Hill and starting right guard Ben Cleveland, there are questions about who starts where along the starting offensive line in Week 1.

The question marks created by moving starting left tackle Jamaree Salyer back to guard for the Peach Bowl saw Georgia struggle up front against Cincinnati. Xavier Truss was the starter at left tackle for the Peach Bowl and he struggled in pass protection in his first career start. 

Whoever ends up at left tackle will also answer other questions along the line. It is likely we will see senior Justin Shaffer stick at left guard if the Dawgs opt to stay with Salyer at tackle, while redshirt freshman Tate Ratledge would likely start at right guard next to Warren Ericson or Sedrick Van Pran at center.

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