Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Tabula Rasa – The 2019 Georgia Receiving Corp

It was not the headline I was expecting see come across Twitter.  Jerimiah Holloman had always seemed like a stand up and well respected member of the Georgia football team, so when news of his dismissal for a 2018 incident of violence broke on Friday, I was genuinely surprised.  Sure, it sounds like he made a mistake and he is owning up to it, but I agree with Kirby Smart’s decision to kick him out of the program.  Zero tolerance is the best policy in these situations.  Holloman’s loss leaves the Dawgs without their top 4 receivers (and top 5 passing game targets when you include Nauta) from last season.  When you throw in Akhil Crumpton and Jayson Stanley, the Dawgs receiving experience is DeAndre Swift, Charlie Woerner, and Tyler Simmons.  That’s it. But with the best offensive line in the country, anew man calling plays at OC,  and a excellent and experience QB in Jake Fromm, maybe this clean slate will provide the Dawgs the opportunity to really open up the passing game.

While most people immediately point to Demetris Robertson as the person most needed to step up, I think Miami transfer Lawrence Cager actually has the biggest opportunity with the dismissal of Holloman.  Statistically, Cager (21 receptions for 374 yard and 6 touchdowns) and Holloman (24 receptions for 418 yards and  5 touchdowns) were near mirror images in 2018.  Cager’s size (6’5’’ 220 lbs) should also help provide the tall receiving threat that Robertson (6’0’’) will not fill and also help with downfield blocking for the Georgia running back crew (which Holloman excelled at.)  Cager has improved each season at Miami and was projected as a starter before his transfer and if he develops a strong relationship with Fromm, I think he may lead the Dawgs in receiving yards this fall.  Here’s a look at Cager’s 2018 highlights:




Much has been written about Robertson and his potential.  Still just a junior after receiving a medical redshirt for his sophomore season at Cal, we have see the flashes of speed that he posses.  The question is has he finally learned enough about the Georgia pass and running game to be the weapon we expect as opposed to the liability he appeared to be last year.  If my memory serves me correctly,  he had at least two passes that he should have hauled in for touchdowns last season (4th quarter against LSU and in the second half against UMASS).  He clearly has talent and I could definitely see him  in a similar role to Mecole Hardman from 2018.

Tyler Simmons has shown that he has the ability to make some big plays, from a couple of long running scores to a key touchdown that sparked the Georgia offense in the game against Auburn.  I am not sure if he has  the ability to regularly beat SEC caliber defensive coverage, but he is a strong run blocker.  Matt Landers is very big and looked to be able to get open during the G-Day game, but his hands need serious work.  Kearis Jackson and Tommy Bush are still unknowns.  And that leaves the Freshman, where I see an opportunity for three highly rated recruits to really breakout in their first year on campus.

There quite a few examples in recent Georgia history of freshman breaking out and becoming a leading target during their first year on campus.  One example of a freshman stepping up on a team that had lost most of its receiving experience from the previous season was Mohamed Massaquoi in 2005.  The Dawgs had lost seniors Fred Gibson and Reggie Brown to graduation and entered the fall with Sean Bailey as the only known commodity at receiver (Brian McClendon, Mario Raley, Demiko Goodman, and Kenneth Harris were others on the roster, but I would not consider any of them stars).  Massaquoi came in and caught 38 passes for 505 yards and 2 scores.  I think either Dominick Blaylock or Georgia Pickens will have the chance to make a similar impact this fall.  Blaylock could help fall into the role Terry Godwin held, contributing both in the passing game and on special teams.  The much hyped Pickens, who is now on campus and eligible, brings a five star pedigree and expectations that I don’t think we have seen since AJ Green.  If he can step in and contribute half of what Green did in 2008, the Dawgs should be just fine.

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