Smart talks about receivers heading into G Day
Georgia receiver Kearis Jackson (10) celebrates a catch during the Bulldogs' game against Auburn at Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Georgia has had a lot of back luck at the wide receiver position this spring.
First, junior George Pickens went down with an ACL injury a couple of weeks ago, which will keep him out for an undisclosed amount of time. Then, sophomore Jermaine Burton hyperextended his knee at practice two weeks ago, although his injury is not so serious and he is healing quickly. Another gut punch was when sophomore Arian Smith sprained his wrist in Georgia’s first spring scrimmage two weeks ago.
Last season, Dominick Blaylock suffered a second straight ACL tear, which was the same knee he injured against LSU in the 2019 SEC Championship game. He missed all of the 2020 season due to the injury. In 2020, against Florida, Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint suffered a season-ending injury on a touchdown pass he caught from Stetson Bennett.
Last month, Smart gave an update on both Blaylock and Rosemy-Jacksaint.
“Both of those young men are running straight lines and beginning to increase their workload,” Smart said. “They’re not working with us in our offseason conditioning program, meaning they’re not in the actual drill. They have to work separately, but they are increasing speeds.”
Georgia wide receiver Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint (81) during the Bulldogs’ practice session in Athens, Ga., on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Even though the Bulldogs have battled the injury bug at the position, head coach Kirby Smart remains optimistic about his remaining wide receivers.
"I'm fired up," Smart said this past Saturday. "I wish I had all of them because I think that competition would be really good to see who the top guys and the starters are. But a lot of the young guys are catching up to the old guys now really fast with the work they've been able to get."
Some of those guys have stepped up, even as they battle injuries.
Smith caught a touchdown pass in the second scrimmage as he battled a sprained wrist. Sophomore Justin Robinson has performed well this spring while he combats an Achilles injury. Burton has practiced well following his injury, although he hasn’t played in a scrimmage yet.
Even with some dinged-up players, Georgia still has a ton of talent down the depth chart.
Kearis Jackson, who led the team in receiving yards last season, is having a great spring camp. Redshirt senior Demetris Robertson is slated to have a big year in 2021 as his name has come up several times throughout the past month. Freshman Adonai Mitchell has garnered some buzz after former UGA wide receiver Terrence Edwards tweeted about him. Sophomore Ladd McConkey is slated to make some plays if given the chance.
Smart said that Saturday will give some of the younger guys a chance to showcase their talent.
"It's really a valuable time for the younger guys, the other guys get an opportunity," Smart said. “Kearis Jackson has been very consistent. JRob (Justin Robinson) has made some plays and continued to grow and get better. AD (Adonai) Mitchell has made some plays. Jaylen Johnson has made some plays. Ladd McConkey has made some plays today and has continued to grow. D-Rob (Demetris Robertson) had some."
Some other names to watch for are Jaylen Johnson and Jackson Meeks. Both of whom should see significant snaps on Saturday while the injury bug still bites. Johnson, a walk-on, played extensively last year in certain situations while Meeks is a freshman who enrolled in January. The Bulldogs also have a ton of talent at tight with Darnell Washington, John FitzPatrick and Brock Bowers at the position.