We continue our ongoing series on players looking to step up in 2019 with a linebacker looking to live up to an emerging legacy.
Kirby Smart and his staff have stockpiled talent across the roster in the last three recruiting classes. Other than on the offensive line, that accretion has probably been most pronounced at linebacker. In all Georgia has signed 11 four or five star recruits at the position since 2017, 10 of whom remain on the roster.
The result is a logjam of talent at the position, with several talent players looking to secure a starting spot. And there are several available. Georgia loses senior inside linebackers Natrez Patrick and Juwan Taylor, as well as sack-specialist D’Andre Walker on the outside. The trio take with them 141 total tackles from 2018.
With the number of former blue chip recruits vying for those spots, the odds are very good that somebody (maybe several somebodies) will become legitimate stars in 2019. It’s really just a question of who.
My money is on sophomore Channing Tindall. The 6’2, 218 pound Columbia, South Carolina native played in all 14 games of his freshman campaign, racking up 17 total tackles. Tindall also finished second on the team in sacks behind Walker despite seeing only limited action.
Tindall plays longer than his 6’2 frame, and looks reasonably comfortable dropping into coverage. But he really shone in 2018 when called on to rush the passer and to attack the running game at the line of scrimmage. In the process he occasionally struggled in read/react situations, but is likely to improve in that area with another year of experience.
There’s no question Tindall is among the most athletically talented linebackers in Athens. The question will be whether he can pull ahead of fellow veterans like Tae Crowder, Monty Rice, and Quay Walker, while holding off talented freshman Nakobe Dean. Even if he isn’t a clear starter, Tindall is almost certain to be heavily in the rotation at inside linebacker. Until later....