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KIRBY: "We're Not Where We Need To Be At Wide Out"

May 6, 2022
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ATHENS - If you had question marks about the offense this spring, it was likely centered around the wide receivers.

Kirby Smart knows who his quarterback is. He has the best tight end room in the country, the offensive line should be stout, and we all know who the running backs are.

With Georgia losing talented receiver George Pickens to the NFL and starter Jermaine Burton to Alabama, this spring was big for a lot of receivers on the team. After G-Day, head coach Kirby Smart said he thought the receivers got better, but they still weren’t where they need to be as a whole.

“Yeah, I think we got better”, Smart said after G-Day.  “Like we got younger players better.  We still aren't where we need to be.”

The Bulldogs already have two standout receivers who could suit up for anyone in the country in Ladd McConkey and AD Mitchell. They have experience and they made a lot of plays last year for the 2021 national champions. 

If the guys behind them can continue to develop, Georgia’s receiving core might be one of the best in the SEC once the fall comes around.

“I really feel good about Ladd and AD, they're SEC wide outs”, Smart added.  “They can compete at a high level. But when you go past that, you've got Marcus who's done a tremendous job.  Marcus is extremely smart and he can play all positions.  We don't have like, okay, this guy has got a hamstring, who's going in.  We don't have that.  We've got to grow that.  We've got to get Arian and Jackson, CJ, De'Nylon up to speed and days like today get them closer.  But they're not there yet. We're not there yet.  We have to continue to grow.”

It’s easy to see the talent and the depth that Georgia has. Dominick Blaylock could be the team’s “X” factor on offense if he’s fully healthy. Rosemy-Jacksaint, a former high four-star recruit, has been more of a blocker so far in his career than a pass-catcher. Still, he absolutely has the ability to catch a lot of passes if given an opportunity.

We know what Kearis Jackson brings to the table. He’s tough, explosive, and has become a team leader on offense. He’s a guy who needs the ball in his hands.

Of course, there’s also Arik Gilbert. Whether he’s lined up at tight end or on the outside, he’s going to catch some passes this fall. They brought him in as a receiver, and while he’s also now where he needs to be at the moment, it appears he’s as healthy as he’s been in some time. 

Arian Smith has track-star speed. We’ve seen how he can torch defenses deep down the field. If he can “continue to grow” like Smart wants, he becomes an even bigger weapon that most programs would kill for.

“You look at Arian (Smith), he has an elite trait and we try to use that elite trait as much as possible, but we're not where we need to be at wide out, and we've got some more guys coming, so we're going to get some guys to help out.”

Outside of Mitchell, some of the younger receivers currently on the roster include second-year player Jackson Meeks, speedy true freshman CJ Smith, freshman De’Nylon Morrissette. It’s hard to imagine some of the freshmen making a big impact this fall with so many veterans ahead of them, but the goal is to get better, and it appears like they did this spring.

Could the Bulldogs use more help at receiver? Absolutely. Especially if they want to defend their national championship. But there’s talent there, they have some experienced playmakers, and they have a loaded group of tight ends that defenses will want to focus on.

It may not be the deepest or most talented receiver room they’ve had recently, but if Georgia’s wideouts “continue to grow”, they could be one of the best groups in the SEC this fall.

According to FanDuel, the Bulldogs have +350 odds to win the 2022 CFP National Championship later this fall.


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Tags: Kirby Smart
 
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