Building the 2019 defense

In his 2019 preview, Pete Fiutak has this to say about Georgia’s defense:

Best Georgia Defensive Player

S JR Reed, Sr.
The 6-1, 194-pound Reed combines with Richard LeCounte to give Georgia one of the nation’s better safety tandems. Reed could do more when the ball is in the air, and LeCounte led the team in tackles, but the senior is the better pro prospect and should be the biggest playmaker in the secondary.

But this could all change in a hurry in terms of who the best defensive player really is.

Freshman LB Nolan Smith and ends Jermaine Johnson and Travon Walker are special, and there’s a whole lot more talent coming in. For now, though, the secondary will be the star.

2. S Richard LeCounte, Jr.
3. CB Eric Stokes, Soph.
4. DT Jordan Davis, Soph.
5. LB Tae Crowder, Sr.

As we sit here in late May (which is a way of saying things can change, of course), what there doesn’t appear to be on Georgia’s defensive roster is an obvious All-American candidate, like Smith or Baker.

That’s not to say there isn’t talent and that there isn’t depth.  The Dawgs have both.  But if you’re like me and believe the best units have that one guy, or if they’re really special, two guys, who a coordinator can build his defense around, you have to think the new defensive brain trust is either going to have to develop that guy, or be a little more creative with its schemes.

Which do you see as more likely for the Dawgs this season?


Filed under Georgia Football

15 responses to “Building the 2019 defense

  1. I’m not sure UGA has a clear star on defense a la Quinnen Williams, Deandre Baker, etc.. I think anyone relying on a freshman (or JUCO, in Johnson’s case) to come in and be that guy is going to be disappointed. I do think, however, that on the whole, the defense will have a bunch of really good players and a few who “flash” a decent bit. Everything hinges on getting to the QB, though. UGA has been lacking in that regard for some time now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Macallanlover

      Agree, we have more play makers, even if one specific superstar doesn’t emerge. This is specifically true in the secondary, and probably the group of LBs, both should be better in 2019. And I like that better than being dependent on that one guy staying upright all season. The defensive concern I have, like most everyone else, is the DL. We have some quality guys, who should be enough when combined with the back group, but depth is the issue (even more so with Davis’ back problems.)

      Last year Baker shut down his side of the field but could do nothing when teams picked on the other CB. This season we have talent fighting for playing time much like we have along the OL, perhaps not as proven but they are hungry.


      • The DL is a major concern for me precisely because of Davis’ injury history given how much he means to the defense as a whole. I’m probably more concerned about the WR unit when looking at the entire team, however.


        • W Cobb Dawg

          Um, when was Jordan Davis injured? I thought his issue was weight. And despite any weight problems, he still worked his way from mop-up duty to regular contributor as his freshman season progressed.

          Frankly, I think folks are dawggrading the DL. We may not have any pending first round picks, but we have a deep group of steady contributors. We match up with the envied bama DL much better now that Williams is gone. If Davis, Wyatt, Beal, etc. continue to step up, that DL will be very tough, not to mention contributions from newbee studs like Walker, Smith, Johnson, etc.


          • Argondawg

            He was hurt lifting weight and was limited going into spring. I think the DL will be very good when healthy because it is loaded with seniors who have their last chance to impress scouts. Tyler Clark at times looks like a force and Rochester has been pretty good at times.


  2. artful codger

    Going into ’17, I didn’t think we had a consensus AA generational type player. R.Smith, tho we knew he was very good, surprised us with just how good. So, there is a chance.


    • Macallanlover

      You are right, nothing before prepared me for the monster R became in 2017. Everyone knew he was talented, no one knew he was close to a Butkus Award year. We have so many athletic guys on this defense, it is really hard to pick which might emerge as the All SEC, or AA player; and I think we could easily have that surprise guy stepping up. Or, they may just collectively be good enough that we never can pin down that one key guy who was “the” guy in 2019.


  3. Spence

    I think Big Baby Davis in the middle may wind up being that guy. He’s shown some pretty incredible flashes early in his career and is the type to break out and really change the whole defense. It’s possible this will happen and most of us laypeople won’t really notice it because he’s getting double teams and chips, but he’ll open up a lot for the rest of the defense and clog lanes.


  4. Pedro

    The killer bs defense for the dolphins in the early 80s was a really good defense with only marginal star power. Maybe that’s the dawgs this year. Having a Roquan or quinnen helps, and it doesn’t appear like there is one yet. I do feel this defense is solid across the board with some call options on guys becoming all Americans. That being said there are a lot of guys even outside the ones mentioned that have the potential talent wise to be special.


    • Dawgoholic

      Assuming Tyson Campbell improves as a sophomore and Stokes plays like he did last year, we may have the best CB duo in the country. You can certainly build around that.


  5. Biggus Rickus

    I expect someone will break out from the outside linebacker position. There’s just too much talent in that group for someone not to. I also think Stokes will demonstrate himself to be a stud at corner.


    • GruvenDawg

      Agreed on OLB, we should have someone with All SEC consideration there. I think, Reed, Stokes, and Davis are all probable 1st team SEC selections. A little early to expect anything from Dean this year, but I expect Tindall to be on fire by the WLOCP.


      • Biggus Rickus

        Maybe. Crowder did improve dramatically last year, and Rice was good when he was healthy. Tindall may prove to be that good though.


  6. TXBaller

    JR Reed is the highest graded returning safety in the conference. He may not be a consensus preseason AA….but I have a feeling when the smoke settles and the season is complete, UGA may have two strong Thorpe candidates and AA’s in Reed & Stokes.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Gurkha Dawg

    You never know when a player will make that big leap. But it would be extremely unlikely that a freshman would do it. I think Stokes may be that guy. Regardless, we have potential All Americans at every defensive position. I ain’t too worried. By the way, we also have potential All Americans at every offensive position. Good times.