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Cleveland’s Injury Opens Door For Young Linemen

Injury bug taking toll on O-Line

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship Game-Alabama vs Georgia Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

There were many things that went right last year for Georgia. One of them - a lack of serious injuries.

But like many factors in college football, injuries are cyclical. That’s hitting Georgia in a hard way this year, especially on the offensive line.

A unit perceived as Georgia’s deepest and most talented to some is thrusting those young players with much expected of them into the spotlight.

It does not matter if they are ready or not - due to injuries, the time to step up is now, ready for it or not.

Not only is left tackle Andrew Thomas banged up - having reinjured his ankle on Saturday - now comes to news that right guard Ben Cleveland stands to miss about four weeks due to a fractured left fibula. The good news for Georgia and Cleveland is that the injury won’t warrant surgery or a cast. It’s safe to assume that Cleveland should be back and ready by the November stretch run.

In the big picture - it means that Georgia will have two starters next week, Cade Mays at tackle and presumably Justin Shaffer at guard, with about three combined starts between them.

Trey Hill and Jamaree Salyer could also be in the mix on the interior rotation. For those keeping score, that’s three true freshmen that’ll be possibly getting serious playing time on the offensive line.

It also harkens back to when Georgia kept recruiting and recruiting for positions, even though the signing class was set position-wise.

It’ll be a trial by fire of sorts for these young linemen, but this is what they were brought to Athens for - to contribute and make an impact - sometimes sooner than expected.

Go Dawgs!