Taking A Look: Wide Receivers
During the Bulldogs’ home opener against Auburn on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020. (Photo by Chamberlain Smith)
Over the next couple of weeks, DogWatch will be examining each position group as spring practice nears, and Georgia gets started on prepping for the 2021 season.
So, let’s continue with the wide receivers position.
Depth and experience
For the second straight year, Georgia has its leading receiver returning for the next season. In 2019, it was George Pickens who led the Bulldogs in receiving, but in 2020, it was Kearis Jackson, who had a breakout year. Last season, Jackson hauled in 36 receptions for 514 yards and three touchdowns. On the other hand, Pickens finished his sophomore campaign with 36 receptions for 513 yards and six scores. Jackson was the guy earlier on in the 2020 season and when Pickens dealt with an upper-body ailment. When J.T. Daniels took over as quarterback, Pickens and he thrived towards the end of the year.
Having those two veterans back coupled with a ton of youngsters is huge for offensive coordinator Todd Monken. Georgia will certainly have one of the more talented wide receiving corps in the conference heading into 2021. Nonetheless, we should see a huge step from 2020 to 2021 in terms of production. Now that the offense finally has a dependable quarterback, Georgia’s receivers will have more chances to pad the stats next season. On an interesting note, Georgia only had three receivers catch over 20 passes last season with two of them being Jackson and Pickens. Rising sophomore Jermaine Burton was the only other receiver with over 20 catches. He finished the year with 27 receptions for 404 yards and three touchdowns.
Still, you’ve got to like that Georgia finally has some depth in the wide receivers room because in 2019 it did not. The Bulldogs will return several faces who could make an impact in 2021, including Demetris Robertson, Arian Smith, Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint, and Dominick Blaylock.
A few unknowns
In that 2020 recruiting class, Georgia signed five wide receivers and three have already made an impact in some form or fashion. The two that haven’t yet are Ladd McConkey and Justin Robinson. Not much is known about either receiver heading into 2021, but spring could provide a different viewpoint.
What we do know is that McConkey was on the scout team this past season and redshirt in 2020. Head coach Kirby Smart also revealed that he had been dealing with COVID-19 protocols later on in the season. McConkey is a former three-star recruit out of North Murray High School in Chatsworth, Georgia. He may not have been highly recruited, but was a solid sign for wide receivers coach Cortez Hankton. The 6-foot, 175-pound receiver is a speedster that could be a great fit for Georgia on the field in 2021, but it’s unlikely he will do so. Expect to see McConkey involved in special teams this year.
Robinson did play in the 2020 season opener against Arkansas but didn’t record a stat. Robinson enrolled early and had a head start on his competition heading into spring of last year, but sadly the pandemic shut down the country. So, he didn’t get to showcase his skills last March. There’s not much to say other than he might have battled a nagging injury last season, so that’s why he may not have seen the field. When interning for Bulldawg Illustrated, I wrote this:
Robinson can fit well in both the inside and outside spots at receiver, but he’d probably be most suitable at playing the flanker position. With his size and speed, that will give Robinson a cleaner release off the line of scrimmage. It is also will allow him to beat the defensive back to where the timing between him and the quarterback won’t be off. His 6-foot-4 frame will give him a lot of advantage in 50/50 ball situations as well.
So, only time will tell if McConkey or Robinson will make an impact in 2021.
Check out the other Take A Look previews: