>Mark Richt released the post-spring depth chart on Thursday afternoon. You can take a full look at it here. Here are my thoughts on each position:
Aaron Murray (6-1, 206, RFr.)
Logan Gray (6-2, 192, Jr.)
This was the big question mark and with the dismissal of Zach Mettenberger most of us thought that Murray would be the choice. The biggest issue at this position is lack of experience and depth and those are huge issues. Naming Murray the #1 starter is big because he will get more and more reps when practice resumes. Richt and Bobo need to make sure Logan is ready to play because I would be shocked if Murray made it through an SEC schedule unscathed. Incoming Freshman Hutson Mason will also need to get familiar with the playbook ASAP. Hopefully Aaron Murray can channel his inner David Greene.
Shaun Chapas (6-2, 245, Sr.)
Kevin Lanier (5-11, 209, RSo.)
Injured players were not listed but Fred Munzenmaier is the back-up to Chapas. The combination of Chapas and Munzenmaier is one of the best 1-2 Fullback combinations in all of college football.
Washaun Ealey (5-11, 205, So.)
Carlton Thomas (5-7, 180, RSo.
Dontavius Jackson (5-10, 205, RSo.)
Caleb King is not listed here due to injury but he is the co-#1. Ealey finished last year with 717 yards on 5.7 ypc. King finished with 594 yards on 5.2 ypc. I feel really good about our running backs. Both Ealey and King really found their way towards the end of the year last year at the same time the offensive line started to mesh. Outside of Alabama I like Ealey/King as much as anybody else’s 1-2 punch in the league. I think Carlton Thomas could make an impact this year in the return game. Branden Smith also had 17 carries for 211 yards last year (12.2 ypc) and 2 TDs so expect him to get in every once in a while.
Tavarres King (6-1, 180, RSo.)
Kris Durham (6-5, 209, Sr.)
Marlon Brown (6-5, 200, So.)
King was our 2nd leading receiver last year in terms of yardage as he caught 18 passes for 377 yards. Durham was injured last year but caught 13 for 199 in 2008. I really like both of these guys and Marlon Brown has a lot upside. I also think Rantavious Wooten will line up opposite A.J. Green as well as Orson Charles used as a receiver some this year.
A.J. Green (6-4, 207, Jr.)
Rantavious Wooten (5-10, 170, So.)
If A.J. Green can stay healthy he’s a Heisman type player. He had a Heisman highlight reel that rivaled any other player in the country last year. When he lines up against the other team I’m confident that he’s better than any player that the other team can match up against him. As a freshman he led the team in receiving yardage with 963 yards and last year he had 53 for 808 yards but was sidelined with injuries. Wooten was a very pleasant surprise last year with 10 catches for 197 yards and 2 TDs. I think Wooten could have a very productive year this year. Israel Troupe is another guy who could have an impact that is not listed due to injury.
Orson Charles (6-3, 230, So.)
Aron White (6-4, 236, Jr.)
Bruce Figgins (6-4, 260, Jr.)
Arthur Lynch (6-5, 250, So.)
This is another position that I think we have the quality and depth of anybody in the league. Orson Charles is an absolute stud and I really like that he’s listed as a first teamer. It means he’s progressing into becoming a complete TE. Not only did he accidentally knock over a Florida National Championship Trophy and shatter it as a High Schooler but he also showed flashes last year of being a big time play maker. Charles had 23 receptions for 374 yards at 16.3 ypc and 3 TDs. Plus, he’s been waking up early and voluntarily training with the ROTC. Aron White had a good year last year and put up 13 receptions with 4 of those being TDs last year. Figgins is coming off of a redshirt year last year (partially due to suspension) and he and Lynch can play in this league. I just don’t know how much they will see the field with Charles and White playing in front of them. I also expect Charles to play some at the receiver position.
Clint Boling (6-5, 304, Sr.)
Jonathan Owens (6-4, 294, RSo.)
Cordy Glenn (6-5, 328, Jr.)
Dallas Lee (6-4, 296, RFr.)
Ben Jones (6-3, 300, Jr..)
Chris Burnette (6-2, 290, RFr.)
Chris Davis (6-4, 295, Sr.)
Ben Harden (6-3, 300, Jr.)
Josh Davis (6-6, 300, Sr.)
Kolton Houston (6-5, 270, Fr.)
Georgia finally has a good line. I thought they would be strong on the line last year but they didn’t play well up front until the end of the year. This depth chart does not include injured guys like Trinton Sturdivant, A.J. Harmon, Tanner Strickland and Austin Long. On paper it looks like we are going to be able to have a stable line for Aaron Murray and we will be able to open holes Caleb King and Washaun Ealey. Now we just have to worry about holding onto the football!
Just going through the offense makes me excited for next season to get here sooner! I like our skill set at every position but QB and that’s due to inexperience. If Murray has a good year we could contend for an SEC title with this offense. If he has a decent year we could still make a good respectable bowl.
Abry Jones (6-3, 290, So.)
Brandon Wood (6-1, 286, Sr.)
DeAngelo Tyson (6-2, 294, Jr.)
Kwame Geathers (6-6, 326, RFr.)
Demarcus Dobbs (6-2, 274, Sr.)
Kiante Tripp (6-6, 275, Sr.)
Nick Franks (6-2, 250, Jr.)
The defense is where the fun begins because honestly there is a lot of competition for spots on this side of the football. The front three could be the weakness of this team since Jeff Owens, Kade Weston and Geno Atkins are all moving on to the NFL. Richt sees Justin Anderson (who is moving from OL and is injured) plugging in and playing at the Nose Tackle and he sees Jeremy Longo playing at one of the end positions. Dobbs has proved in the past that he can make plays and Gathers has a big upside. Dobbs had 4.5 sacks last year, 18 QB pressures and caused 3 fumbles which was the most on the team. Georgia also has 5 4-Star Freshmen coming in that are listed as DE/DL and they should push for playing time. I think Garrison Smith and Mike Thornton will push for playing time.
Cornelius Washington (6-4, 248, RSo.)
Darryl Gamble (6-2, 250, Sr.)
Justin Houston (6-3, 259, Jr.)
Reuben Faloughi (6-5, 232, RFr.)
In the 3-4 these guys will be playing down on the line some and out in coverage on other plays. Justin Houston is our best defensive player and has been a DE for us during his career. Houston had 7.5 sacks last year in 10 games. I’m a little surprised that Washington is listed ahead of Gamble but it is probably because Gamble just started getting some reps at OLB. Washington started 1 game at DE for us last year but got more playing time as the year progressed and ended up with 4 sacks and was credited with 15 QB pressures. He has a lot of upside. Gamble is a guy that I think will end up playing a lot at multiple linebacker spots. He talked earlier this spring about learning the OLB position so he never has to come off the field. Incoming 4-Star Freshman T.J. Stripling could also push for playing time here.
Akeem Dent (6-2, 233, Sr.)
Mike Gilliard (6-2, 200, So.)
Akeem Hebron (6-1, 223, Sr.)
Christian Robinson (6-2, 216, RSo.)
Marcus Dowtin (6-2, 220, Jr.)
Richard Samuel, 6-2, 222, Jr.)
I was a little surprised that Gamble was listed in with these guys as I thought he would get a lot of playing time inside. Out of these guys Dowtin had the best year last year as he finished 3rd on the team in total tackles despite only starting 4 games. I think Samuel, who was our starting running back last year, might redshirt so he can learn the defense and acclimate. He entered school very early and is still very young. I wonder if incoming Freshman Alec Ogletree could play one of the inside backer spots in this defense or if he will play secondary like he did in HS. We definitely have talent at our LB positions I just wonder who will get the playing time. I definitely have confidence in Warren Belin and Todd Grantham to pick the best guys and put them in positions to succeed.
Brandon Boykin (5-10, 185, Jr.)
Branden Smith (5-11, 175, So.)
Vance Cuff (5-11, 177, Sr.)
Sanders Commings (6-2, 214, RSo.)
Jordan Love (6-0, 185, RFr.)
Boykin has the ability to become one of the top corners in the league this year. He was 4th on the team in tackles last year and 2nd in interceptions as a sophomore. Branden Smith is probably the most athletic and explosive guy on the team and I expect him to take a big step up this year. Cuff had one of the best springs of any player so if he beats out Smith then that means he can play. I feel comfortable with the corners that we have. Scott Lakatos is even teaching them to be….gasp….aggressive and jam guys at the line of scrimmage.
Nick Williams (6-2, 219, Jr.)
Quintin Banks (6-2, 213, Sr.)
Shawn Williams (6-1, 195, So.)
Bacarri Rambo (6-0, 210, RSo.)
Jakar Hamilton (6-2, 196, Jr.)
Richt said not to read to much into the placement of players at Safety so it’s possible that Rambo could end up starting at one Safety and Jaker “Hitman” Hamilton at the other. And that’s what I expected coming into this year. Rambo played very well last year. He didn’t start any games but had 25 tackles, 2 picks and made the hit of the year that saved the Auburn game for us. Hamilton is a JUCO kid that has a huge upside. I also expect Freshmen Alec Ogletree to come in and challenge for playing time this year.
When I look around the defense I see guys that can make plays (Justin Houston, Brandon Boykin, Darryl Gamble, Cornelius Washington, Bacarri Rambo, Jakar Hamilton, Branden Smith, Demarcus Dobbs) and I see incoming Freshmen that can make an impact. The biggest key for us is how quickly Grantham can get the defense installed and get the team understand the concepts he’s teaching. Grantham, Belin and Lakatos have been a breath of fresh air on defense. I just hope it translates in year one on the field.
Drew Butler (6-2, 203, Jr.)
Blair Walsh (5-10, 185, Jr.)
Hands down we have the pest punter/kicker combination in College Football. And our new coaches are actually going to let Walsh kick the kickoffs deep this year!
When does the season start? I’m ready for some football!