We begin our list of ten Georgia Bulldogs set to make a bigger impact in 2020 with a key defensive contributor who could become a bona fide superstar.
Georgia returns an impressive number of starters all over from 2019’s top ranked SEC defense. But if there’s one spot where a tiny bit of thinness exists, it’s on the defensive line. Gone are a group of seniors who played key roles for the entirety of their tenure in Athens, including perennial starters David Marshall, Michael Bennett, and Tyler Clark. Amongst them they started a total of 54 games over the past four seasons.
Rising senior Malik Herring started five games at defensive end himself in 2019. He saved his best performance for last, recording a season-high five tackles and batting down a pass in the Sugar Bowl win over Baylor, and was recognized as the defense’s Most Improved Player at season’s end. Herring’s 18 quarterback pressures was good for third best on a defensive unit loaded with elite players.
Herring has quietly emerged as a productive presence on the UGA defense, totaling 26 tackles in 2019 after netting 23 stops in 2018. But the 6’3, 280 pound Forsyth native may be ready for bigger things.
At times during his Bulldog career Herring has looked unstoppable. But he’s never consistently put it together and locked up a perennial starting spot. This season is his last chance to do that, and I expect him to get the job done.
Herring is a versatile athlete, with the speed to play outside at 5 technique but the size to slide down inside on 3rd down. But if he can play consistently inside in 2020 he could not only help the UGA defense maintain its dominance from last season, he could also augment his NFL draft stock. While Until later...