There were few questions along the defensive side of the football for Georgia headed into the 2020 football season. Though they only lost three starters on a defense from a year ago that was truly historic, they lost a true leader in J.R. Reed.
Reed was a Jim Thorpe Award finalist, started 42 consecutive games for Georgia after transferring from Tulsa, and was constantly in the right place at the right time. Kirby Smart once called him the best decision he's ever made in the transfer market. He won with a level of cerebral instincts and never was one to blow evaluators away with his physical traits.
His replacement in 2020, Lewis Cine? The complete opposite.
Cine just might be one of the fastest and most physical defensive backs in the entire country, and his performance in Saturday's scrimmage in Athens provided one of the best quotes I've ever received from a source:
"I'm faking an injury if I'm a slot receiver with Cine in there. Not trying to come home in a bodybag."
Cine has been knocking heads the entire camp and it's no shock. Someone with this type of speed and explosiveness was just an offseason of studying the playbook away from being able to play with complete freedom in the back end of that Georgia defense.
"It's big shoes to fill for one. Two, this offseason I have a lot to improve on and watching film. Communicating with my teammates and becoming more of a unit and not a group of individuals. But really just get all-around comfortable with everything. This year it was really me just playing off talent. I didn't know nearly as much as J.R. or Rich, but this offseason I'm going to use that time to really get to know the playbook."
Those were Cine's comments following the Sugar Bowl and from everything we continue to hear about him, he's playing fast and physical and continues to light people up.
Cine reminds me a lot of a player like Xavier McKinney, the 2020 second-round NFL draft pick by the New York Giants out of Alabama. McKinney is a long, wirey football player with tremendous striking ability. Safeties with this type of body composition, similar to Cine's, typically aren't known for their physicality. Physical safeties more often look like HaHa Clinton-Dix, or Landon Collins, players that carry up to 215-220 pounds playing safety.
The modern version of those players has arrived. The "in the box" safety isn't as appealing as it used to be as the game becomes much more passing oriented. Now, you need a safety that can cover the middle of the field, sideline to sideline, has ball skills and can strike like a linebacker.
You need a safety like Lewis Cine.
You can follow us for future coverage by clicking "Follow" on the top righthand corner of the page. Also, be sure to like us on Facebook @BulldogMaven & follow us on Twitter at @DawgsDailySI.