After a dismal ending to the 2010, Georgia fans were looking for something to brighten their spirits for the off season ahead. They got what they were looking for with the recruiting class of 2011. Nicknamed the Dream Team, this class has already become a key part of the team. The decision to play so many true freshman combined with a large talent pool of player who are in their second and third years on campus, and things may finally be looking up in Athens.
Georgia has already played 14 true freshman this season. While a number of these players have been used on special teams, three freshman have become starters and key contributors for the Dawgs. Isaiah Crowell has lived up to the hype and has become the the feature back all of the recruiting experts expected he would be. He leads the team in rushing and is on pace to rush for nearly 1,200 yards this year. Malcolm Mitchell leads the Dawgs in receiving yards and has become the favorite downfield target for Aaron Murray. And Amarlo Herrera has stepped in at middle linebacker and has become a force over the middle. Ramik Wilson, Christian Conley, and Ray Drew have also begun to see playing time beyond special teams.
In addition to the true freshman, Georgia is littered with redshirt freshmen and sophomores who as making a big impact. This begins with quarterback Aaron Murray who, in just his second year in Athens, has moved in the top 5 in school history in passing touchdowns. Jarvis Jones has had an immediate impact this season and may be up for All-SEC when the season ends. Kwame Geathers, Michael Bennett, Garrison Smith, and Kenarious Gates are all making impacts this fall.
Overall, the Georgia Bulldogs are a young team that should continue to get better. The only significant losses on defense for 2012 will be Brandon Boykin and Deangelo Tyson. On offense, the Dawgs will lose 3 on the line and will most like lose two tight ends (White and Charles). But the running backs and all of the receivers will return next fall to give Aaron Murray options.
After the 0-2 start, there was little hope for a successful season in Athens. But after 4 straight victories and signs of improvement (particularly on defense), things are beginning to look up. And while the schedule will get tougher with Alabama on the schedule next fall, we will be the much more experienced team when we travel to Tuscaloosa.