Most of the Georgia Bulldogs’ entries into the 2023 transfer portal have been relatively expected. Georgia has lost reserve tight ends, defensive backs, and linebackers who’d found themselves bypassed or buried on the depth chart, and most left with an understanding nod and the thanks of a grateful Bulldog Nation.
Today however may have delivered the first portal entry that could really ding the ‘Dawgs, with receiver AD Mitchell entering the portal with Texas the likely destination. The move wasn’t entirely unexpected, with persistent rumors over the past several weeks that Longhorn boosters were putting together a blockbuster NIL package for the Antioch, Tennessee native. I haven’t personally verified it, but it’s also been reported that Mitchell has a child who lives in Texas, and wants to be closer.
It’s also worth noting that the Bulldogs picked up three high school receiver commitments as well as two potential All-SEC transfers, RaRa Thomas from Mississippi State and Dominic Lovett from Missouri. Some of that may be effect rather than cause, with the expectation that Mitchell and Dominick Blaylock might enter the portal driving the staff to bring in more help. Either way, it’s reasonable to assume there will be strong competition for catches in the 2023 UGA offense.
Even with those pickups Mitchell’s departure leaves a hole. He made an immediate impact in Athens as a freshman in 2021, snagging 29 passes for 4/6 yards and 4 touchdowns. He also caught a critical touchdown pass from Stetson Bennett on the national title game that arguably sparked the Bulldog comeback.
2022 was less kind to Mitchell. After a solid debut against Oregon (4 catches, 65 yards and a touchdown) he went down with an ankle injury early against Samford and missed most of the season. But Mitchell again came up big in critical situations upon his return, catching the go-ahead score against Ohio State in the Peach Bowl and a touchdown in the title game. He’s also among the Bulldogs better blockers at the receiver position.
That said, with Ladd McConkey, Arian Smith, Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint, and Dillon Bell back at receiver and the above additions, the cupboard isn’t exactly bare in Bryan McClendon’s meeting room. Add in the talent returning at the tight end position and it’s pretty clear that Todd Monken (and whoever is ultimately his starting quarterback) will still have plenty of options in the passing game.
This, frankly, is the modern era of college football. The portal giveth, and the portal taketh away. Georgia is a compelling destination, but every player’s decision is different. At the end of the day Adonai Mitchell will go down as one of the more clutch receivers in recent Bulldog memory, and I personally hope he finds happiness wherever he lands.