Shaping up in 2021

Cool.  Now do the defensive secondary.

The Bulldogs have lost some key defensive backs at the end of the 2020 season. Richard LeCounte III, a three-year starter, is on his way out. UGA will lose its top three cornerbacks as well in Tyson Campbell, Eric Stokes, and DJ Daniel. Mark Webb, a senior and key two-year contributor at the STAR/nickel position, hasn’t yet made his intentions known for 2021.

Mark Webb?  He gone.

Sure, there’s tons of talent to draw on for replacements, but that is a lot of retooling to do.  I think Chip Towers provides a fair summary of where Georgia is right now.

… Georgia – as of Jan. 7 at least — will return nine starters on offense and six on defense from the 8-2 team that entered the postseason ranked No. 9 before defeating previously unbeaten Cincinnati (9-1) in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

Looking forward, Georgia is eyeing an opposite situation of what it faced in the 2020 offseason. That is, a lot of talent back on the offense – notably at the quarterback position — and more of a rebuild on defense. There also is a 100 percent talent return in the area of specialists.

But the Bulldogs have absorbed their resident postseason hits. They lost four underclassmen to the NFL in outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari, cornerbacks Tyson Campbell and Eric Stokes and center Trey Hill. Georgia awaits word from running back Zamir White. Six other senior starters with a chance to return have chosen to move on.

Of course, this isn’t to say the Dawgs are in bad shape going into next season.  Of course they aren’t.  That’s life in college football, especially for teams full of NFL draft-level talent.

That being said, remember the last time preseason conventional wisdom said Georgia’s offense would be well ahead of its defense?  That was all the way back in 2019.  In other words, you never know, even when you think you do.

59 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

59 responses to “Shaping up in 2021

  1. jsteph1967

    I love what JT is doing, but he is not 1st round talent. Unless I am missing something.

    Like

    • You know what I don’t care about? Daniels’ draft standing.

      You know what I do care about?

      Eyes on the prize, man.

      Liked by 2 people

    • What does being a first round talent have to do with any of this? I bet when the 2022 mock drafts start coming out, JT will be a 1st round selection.

      If his knee continues to heal and he becomes more comfortable in Monken’s offense, I bet he passes for over 3,500 yards in 2021.

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      • W

        I think jsteph is just responding to the tweet that calls JT a 1st rounder. Although I think he does have first rd talent.

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        • jsteph1967

          I could be very wrong and hope I am. Just I do not see the arm talent needed to be a first round selection. That does not mean he is not a good college QB. AM was a great College QB but was never going to be a first round talent.

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    • TEXBaller

      …….to be determined

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    • Derek

      You’re very, very wrong.

      Like

    • Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

      You’re definitely missing something if you’re claiming he doesn’t have first round talent. He very much has first round talent.

      Whether he gets picked in the first round is likely a combination of the kind of year he has in 2021 with his continued health.

      But the idea that he doesn’t have first round talent is ridiculous.

      Like

    • CB

      I suggest looking back at the many qb’s taken in the first round over the last decade.

      Like

  2. mg4life0331

    You know good and well vandergiff is gonna have the best spring qbr and scramble for 300 yards and 2 tds on the ground.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Those senior starters were leaving no matter what. Stokes and Campbell are the only true underclassmen leaving on defense.

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    • I think LeCount and Stokes were the big time losses. Both Daniel and Campbell were pretty good, but not really good, and for someone who came out HS as a receiver, Webb has been a step slow with stone fingers.

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      • I agree, but LeCounte is a 4th year senior. He wasn’t returning regardless of what happened this year. We were fortunate he loves UGA and came back. I have no idea what Stokes’s draft position is, but he has proven all he really needed to in his 3 years. He isn’t going to grow another 2 inches or drop his 40 time by another 0.2 by coming back. Daniel wasn’t a contributor this year due to injury. Campbell needed to come back. He may be a 2nd round talent, but he could have played his way into the 1st round with a good ’21 season. Webb is another guy who is a 4th year player. He may have improved his position by coming back.

        Liked by 4 people

        • dawg100

          Agree, especially on Campbell needing this year as a leader and to prove if he is a shut down corner that Stokes was.

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      • CB

        I’d still like to have Campbell for the experience.

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  4. Teacher Martin

    Something always goes wrong. I have been a UGA fan too long to expect any less. Not getting my hopes up. Fire away.

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  5. Dawg in Austin

    Totally agree with this. That said, the only top level receiving corps that the Dawgs will face next year is Clemson, in game one. This will have no bearing on then SEC standings, and the secondary will have the entire season to improve. With Warren and Kirby coaching them up, I like our chances.

    Liked by 3 people

    • The Tide has receivers stacked like cord wood waiting for their chance. Assuming Bryce Young is as good as people think he is, they aren’t going anywhere.

      If your comment was just about the currently scheduled regular season games, I would agree with you.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Dawg in Austin

        It is. We won’t see them until the end of the season, if at all. By then we’ll be able to match up better. Also, I don’t see any first round draft picks left at WR on Bama’s roster next year. They’re good, but none are generational talents.

        Liked by 1 person

        • silvercreekdawg

          I saw enough from Metchie this year to think he’ll be the one that steps up to the level set by Julio, Cooper, Jeudy, etc.

          Whether or not they can find a second one is a good question. But they did sign 4 of the top 10 rated HS WR in this class.

          Liked by 4 people

  6. Ace Harris

    As always “the proof is in the pudding”as they say in the South. I don’t believe anything about Georgia’s record until it happens. Too many excuses, too many years!

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  7. Mid-Age Man Coniston

    One key difference between ‘21 and ‘19… receivers. I don’t have the data numbers handy, but remember how key returning WR production is to offensive success. In ‘19 we ended up relying on a grad transfer and two true freshmen. On the other hand, this year may provide the most experienced and stacked receiver corps I can remember.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Russ

      I think this is the key point that’s different from every other recent year. We have excellent receiving talent both at TE and WR. And not just one guy, either. While I’d hate to lose any one of them, we could survive that loss with excellent replacements. Now that we have a QB that can get the ball to them, I think our offense will thrive.

      Like

      • Down Island Way

        Add to that fact, CKS ain’t through shopping/crootin’…(two good QB’s with knee issues…OL could be UGA’s Big?, another year for special teams play)…

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  8. Ran A

    Bottom-line. We only have one young/inexperienced position group and that’s the secondary. In a world where the ball is in the air 2 out of 3 plays. That could bite us with Clemson and with Bobo moving to Auburn, it could keep them in the game, if the receiving room is strong enough over there.

    In theory, this team should run the table in the SEC and should stand a good chance against Clemson. Their existing O-Line was mauled by OSU; now they are bringing in a lot of young talent, but it’s young talent and even if you threw them out there as a group; Georgia’s D-Line would eat them up. There is enough talent at UF that they cannot be overlooked, but Georgia should be able to win that football game.

    The East has three stable programs right now, Georgia, Kentucky and Missouri. South Carolina (rebuild), Vandy (build), UT (I’m not sure what you call that), UF (just weird – I really think Mullen might be encouraged to leave – he’s a strange duck and a lot of that was exposed at the end of the year).

    Figure the secondary out and Georgia very well could be undefeated going into the SEC Championship. Looked at Bama’s schedule. They get Miami early, but that’s it. A&M will not be easy but they will be breaking in a QB and an O-line. Auburn is rebuilding, especially at O-Line. Ole Miss will be a threat and the one team over their that seems to give Bama fits – but I don’t see them beating Bama. MSU isn’t beating Bama. Arkansas isn’t beating Bama. LSU travels to Tuscaloosa – they are not likely to beat Bama.. I think Bama comes into that game #1 in the Nation and undefeated and I think Georgia will be #2 or #3 in the Nation and undefeated or with one loss (Clemson).

    It’s so nice to even be able to think like this. Georgia has never been this talented year in and year out. Yes, QB has been a mess; but they just might have figured out now. I was trained by Dooley and Munson – that glass was always half full; but where Georgia sits right now – the opportunity is very real. Just have to figure out the secondary….

    Liked by 2 people

    • … if the receiving room is strong enough over there.

      That is a major if. Right now, it’s nowhere near that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ran A

        Completely agree. I counted on the WR/QB thing to be figured out this year before the UF game and it wasn’t. Not discounting it at all; but these kids that are looking to step up have been in the program, even Ringo was rehabbing with the program and with the team. And the word on Green is that he physically already looks the part.

        But like you said, it’s a major if…

        Like

  9. Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

    Man, almost everything went right on people we needed to come back actually coming back, starting with Daniels and Davis. Almost everything.

    We really needed Campbell to come back to provide secondary stability. He’s one of those guys who could be a second rounder but could slip to the third. I was really hoping that last part would be enough to get him to come back and improve his draft stock.

    Oh well. Having a great front seven, maybe the best in all of CFV, which we do, will make any collection of DBs we have back there better regardless.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I see a lot of comparisons to the 2017 team. It’s a somewhat fair comparison, though, I don’t remember the 2017 team hashtagging it, naming it or generally making a huge deal out of it. That team just quietly went to work and surprised people.

    Of course, the 2017 team didn’t have the expectations that come with multiple top 5 recruiting classes, either. My point is that as a Georgia fan… I’m tired of the hype and talk. Have been. Georgia has a little history of hyped teams being the biggest disappointments. The 2021 team could and should be very good but SHOW me. Debby Downer out.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Derek

    Successful seasons have more to do with who you play than who you are. Maybe we’ll have some flaws. Maybe we won’t be perfect. But its very hard to see many teams on that schedule being better than us for 60 minutes.

    Injuries and boneheaded special teams decisions are the only thing that keeps us out of Atlanta.

    The big things are making sure that we are always building to what we need to be to win the three post season games. Whether thats pounding the rock, bombs away or a balanced approach we need to be constantly seeking an offensive identity that will thrive in december and january no matter who shows up.

    We’ll be good enough on defense against the teams you can stop. Any that you just can’t? See above.

    Like

  12. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me for my entire life….

    Liked by 2 people

  13. CB

    Hot take. As much as I hated him as a full time starter I actually like Bennett as a backup if anything happens and JT has to miss time while the young guys are learning the system.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Holiday Inn Bagman

    Count me as someone not worried about losses in the secondary given how bad they were torched in both losses. This isn’t to say that they aren’t good players and that I’m glad they’re gone but that your secondary doesn’t determine your championship probabilities.

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  15. W Cobb Dawg

    Who said Kirby’s done with roster management? I think there’s still a couple top DBs out there we can fight for on 2nd signing day next month. And would anyone be surprised if Kirby was already doing the paperwork for a DB via the portal?

    Like

  16. Scotty King

    A couple of things:

    I really hate that so many of our guys leaving for “the league” will have the same view from the couch I’ll have.
    Hoping Brock is handled MUCH better than Justin was – meaningful snaps with passing included.

    Like

    • Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

      Brock played single-A ball at a small private school.

      He can sit his ass on the bench and learn while Daniels puts up Heisman-worthy numbers as we try to win a national title.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Derek

      If he gets no snaps, I’ll be happy.

      That will mean JT is healthy and that Beck is progressing.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Ozam

    All rat poison…

    Like

  18. Can Davis handle the wheel route? The best defense is going to be a great offense. Let. Them. Loose.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Corch Irvin Meyers, New USC Corch (2021)

      Amen!

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    • Russ

      Well, watching Davis chase down the Cincy QB was pretty impressive. I wouldn’t want to see him in coverage too often but the big man has some wheels. Same for Carter.

      And yes, I know you were being rhetorical. 🙂

      Like

  19. Morris Day

    more #unfinishedbusiness

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Tony BarnFart

    I see no reason to stray from my usual prediction:
    -undefeated, national championship

    Should that mathematically go out the window during the 2021 season, I expect that our play down the stretch will leave me encouraged for big things in 2022, possibly an undefeated national championship.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. bigjohnson1992

    Hoping the front 7 can take early pressure of the secondary. Just score 40 a game and we’ll win ‘em all.

    Like