Georgia is in the midst of spring practice preparing to defend its championship. Every season on every college team has attrition which is now accelerated by the one-time transfer rule and the ability for players to enter the portal allowing players to reopen their recruitment.
The ability for a college team to maintain consistent elite results requires a pipeline of elite talent, which Coach Kirby Smart has done in his 7 signing classes and transfers to offset that attrition. Georgia set a school record for players selected in the NFL draft last year, which could be broken this NFL Draft. Smart has stack class after class of talent which allows for a program to absorb those players moving on in their careers. I will be breaking down the players who have moved in terms of their production over the last two season and which players will be asked to step in to produce.
First up are the running back. Zamir White suffered multiple injuries and battled through each one to not only be a fan favorite but a leader and RB1 after D’andre Swift entered the NFL. James Cook came into his own under the last two seasons under Todd Monken’s offense and was explosive as any back in the SEC and in Nation.
Georgia has not only highly rated players to fill the roles left by White and Cook, but bring experience from the last two years. Kenny McIntosh has a highly recruited player from the 2019 Class. Kirby added Kendall Milton and and Dejuan Edwards in the 2020 class. These three players have contributed significantly over the last two years amassing over 1,400 yards and 270 carries the last two season. A case will be made that any of the three could take over RB1 this season.
Looking at the PFF grades, both Milton and McIntosh improved on their rush grades from 2020 to 2021 with McIntosh winding up with a 90 grade by the experts at PFF. Although Edwards’s grade declined, he still wound up with a 76 grade. Looking at the grades for each of the RB’s pass blocking grade, you can see McIntosh’s was a liability in pass pro in 2020, but had the highest grade among all UGA RBs in 2021. This will be worth watching on G-Day to see if McIntosh can protect his QB. Any of these guys can run the ball, but to run the ball under Smart you have to be on the field. The RBs who can block will have an edge in snap counts.
There was no doubt that White and Cook were the guys Georgia depended on, but Milton, McIntosh, and Edwards have meaningful carries. At times, each have taken over portions of the game. Edwards basically ran the Gamecocks out of Columbia in 2020 and the Tigers in 2021. McIntosh and Milton have been brilliant in key games. Here are each’s production the last two season by game
With Lovasea Carroll’s transfer, the experience behind these there is lean. Expect to see Anthony Summey, Sevaughn Clark, and Cash Jones to contribute in the backfield in the scrimmage. They have combine for 20 carries and 62 yards in 2021. 2022 signees yet to enroll is Branson Robinson, a 4 Star out of Germantown TN, and Andrew Paul and 3 star from Dallas