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Georgia Football

ESPN Releases Top 100 Players - Which Dawgs Made the List?

August 17, 2022
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ATHENS - Several of Kirby Smart’s Georgia Bulldogs appeared on ESPN’s list of top 100 college football players Wednesday. 

The No. 3 Bulldogs will start the season in Atlanta against Dan Lanning and his No. 11 Oregon Ducks. The game kicks off at 3:30 and will be shown on ABC. Jalen Carter, who returns for his junior season, was listed at No. 6 in the the rankings - behind Alabama LB Will Anderson Jr., Alabama QB Bryce Young, Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Texas RB Bijan Robinson. 

Carter was not listed by ESPN a year ago. The outlet had this to say about Carter:

“Georgia had three defensive linemen selected in the first round of the NFL draft, including No. 1 pick Travon Walker. Carter, a 310-pounder from Apopka, Florida, might end up being better than all of them. He averaged a tackle on 11.7% of snaps and led the team with 8.5 tackles for loss last season. ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. has him ranked as the fourth-best prospect for 2023.


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Two spots later Georgia TE Brock Bowers, who has +15,000 odds to win the Heisman Trophy this season, checks in at No. 8. 

“Bowers was arguably the best tight end in the country last season, as a true freshman. It's hard to imagine what he might do in his second season with the Bulldogs if he stays healthy. He had 56 catches for 882 yards with a school-record 13 touchdown receptions in 2022. He figures to once again be quarterback Stetson Bennett's favorite target.”

Sophomore DB Kelee Ringo is listed at No. 14 for ESPN. Ringo is most well known for picking off Young and taking it to the house to cap the Dawgs’ 33-18 win over the Tide

“Ringo will forever be remembered by Bulldogs fans for his game-clinching pick-6 that put a bow on Georgia's first national championship in 41 years. At 6-foot-2, Ringo is a tall cornerback with exceptionally long arms and good ball skills and speed. He had 34 tackles with eight pass breakups and two interceptions in 2021. If Ringo is more consistent this season, he might be one of the first cornerbacks off the board in the 2023 NFL draft.”

Perhaps the most vocal player on the Dawgs’ 2022 roster, Nolan Smith is considered the No. 40 overall player in college football by ESPN. 

“One of the few holdovers from last season's record-setting defense, Smith has been largely overshadowed by former defensive line stars Jordan Davis, Devonte Wyatt and Walker. The No. 2 recruit in the 2019 class, according to ESPN Recruiting, Smith should have more of a spotlight this season. He had nine tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 56 tackles and three forced fumbles in 2021.”

6th-year quarterback Stetson Bennett is listed at No. 44 by ESPN. 

“For much of the past two seasons, some Georgia fans looked for every reason to bench the former walk-on. In the end, he silenced his critics by leading the Bulldogs to a national title. Bennett was offensive MVP in the CFP National Championship Game, completing 17 of 26 passes for 224 yards with two scores. With a full offseason as the starter under his belt, and a healthier and deeper receiver corps coming back, he might be better in 2022.”

Ringo wasn’t the only Georgia player to pick off Young in the national title game, Christopher Smith did as well. The Atlanta native’s biggest play of the year, however, came on his pick six during No. 5 Georgia’s 10-3 win over No. 3 Clemson in the season opener

“Smith is certainly not the most heralded player on Georgia's defense, but he is one of its most experienced and productive. Last season, he started 11 games and had 35 tackles, four pass breakups, three interceptions and two quarterback hurries. He was at his best in the Bulldogs' biggest game, totaling seven tackles, two pass breakups and an interception in a 33-18 victory over Alabama in the CFP National Championship.”

Checking in at No. 85 is LSU transfer Arik Gilbert

“As dangerous as Brock Bowers is for opposing defenses, Gilbert might be just as good. In high school, Gilbert became the first tight end to win the Gatorade National Player of the Year. As a freshman at LSU in 2020, he caught 35 passes for 368 yards with two touchdowns. He missed last season because of personal reasons.”

 
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