Seth Emerson ($$) notes that for all the hullabaloo surrounding Georgia’s 2018 signing class, there wasn’t that much impact felt in the starting lineup this past season.
For as hyped as the 2018 class was, it accounted for only a combined 28 starts, spread across six players (Tyson Campbell 11, Brenton Cox 1, Jordan Davis 4, Trey Hill 4, Cade Mays 7, Otis Reese 1). If you count Jake Camarda, then it’s 42 starts. A bunch more saw significant action. But in terms of immediate impact, it wasn’t huge overall, in large part because some of the highest-ranked players weren’t at positions of immediate need. (Such as Justin Fields.)
And that’s with a year many described as a rebuilding one. Instead, Smart wound up coaching a team that came within a whisker of winning the SEC and returning to the playoffs. Freshmen did play a fair amount, but as the numbers demonstrate, didn’t step in to many starting roles that weren’t decisions resulting from injuries.
This year, with the number of early departures, might tell a somewhat different story.
But the 2019 class has players who could fill immediate needs. Nolan Smith joins a team that loses D’Andre Walker as well as Jonathan Ledbetter and simply will need edge rushing from somebody. The needs up the middle on defense are well known, and here are Dean at inside linebacker and Walker at defensive tackle. Dominick Blaylock joins a team that loses a few receivers.
That’s only mentioning a few freshmen. Junior college transfers Jermaine Johnson (edge rusher) and D.J. Daniel (cornerback) could contend for starting spots right away, as could Tramel Walthour (defensive tackle.)
You can make a good, yet fairly easy, case for any of those new faces to crack the starting lineup. With that in mind, what’s your way-too-early take on Georgia’s 2019 regular season record?