I confess I hadn’t come across the CFB Saturdays blog before. The folks there just got through rating their Top 25 returning players at each offensive position and have followed that by compiling their Top 10 returning offenses.
… we thought it would be a good time to look at what teams are returning the best offensive talent based on the rankings. Below you will find the teams returning the most experienced talent. This list does NOT include recruits or players who do not have significant sample size. We are not considering players that are likely breakout candidates who have not yet played much and strictly limiting ourselves to returning players with experience.
In ranking these teams we looked at how the returning ranked players will fit together and help their offense produce. Two key factors were given preference over just sheer numbers – positional value and star power. Clearly, quarterback is the most valued position on offense and a team with an elite player at the position will usually be ranked higher.
The value of star power also cannot be underestimated in college football. There are very few players rated as great players (8 out of 10 rating) or better in our entire rankings (51 total out of 150 players). That is only one third of the best returning offensive players in the country. We recognize that there are a lot of above average to good players in the game, but very few that are truly elite. An offense with five total players graded as 7 on our scale of 1 to 10 may be ranked below a team with a 9 QB, 9 OT, and an 8 WR. These are the parameters we considered in compiling these rankings.
Based on that, Georgia checked in at number five, somewhat surprisingly (at least if you’ve been tracking all the punditry lately).
The Bulldogs are another team that returns only four players but is rated higher due to star power and positional value. It all starts with the shot in the arm provided by Jamie Newman (#6 QB) who brings true dual threat ability to Athens (as we highlighted in our Transfer Spotlight here). Newman is one of three quarterbacks rated an 8 out of 10 due to his elite tools and strong production.
The most talented player returning for Georgia is without a doubt George Pickens (#8 WR). With the offense expected to open up, and with Newman’s propensity to hit deep shots, we expect to see Pickens make a ton of big plays in 2020. Pickens is rated an 8 out of 10 and has the potential to move up as he perfects his craft. Adding to the pass catching talent is transfer Tre McKitty (#13 TE). McKitty is the highest rated 6 out of 10 at the position due to his impressive pass catching skills. Center Trey Hill (#6 G/C) is one of the best at his position and should be the anchor for another strong Georgia offensive line this season.
Georgia ranks above some other teams as a result of the importance of strong quarterback play coupled with a borderline elite receiving target and offensive line anchor. The pieces are in place at the right spots for the offense to produce and make Georgia fans forget the lackluster performance of the 2019 unit.
I find this noteworthy, not because it’s dispositive of anything in the slightest, but because there’s more to evaluating an offense’s prospects than checking off what players have left in the prior offseason. I don’t know how Georgia’s will do, but having a boatload of talent and an improvement at offensive coordinator makes me think things aren’t as dire as some project.