Starters Returning (15 of 24):
Lettermen Returning (49)
Tight Ends: Arthur Lynch
Quarterbacks: Aaron Murray, Hutson Mason.
Linebackers: Michael Gilliard, Christian Robinson, Alec Ogletree, Amarlo Herrera, Corey Campbell, Kosta Vavlas, Jarvis Jones, Cornelius Washington, Reueben Faloughi, Chase Vasser, Ray Drew, T.J. Stripling.
***Reference: UGA Spring Media Guide
Note: Some of these positions are obvious – others are more of an opinion. We'll update as spring progresses from what we see at practice and hear during interviews.
The word: Aaron Murray will be the starter unless he suffers a long-term injury. The backup position is the interesting angle here. Hutson Mason would like to redshirt, leaving Christian LeMay all the mop-up duty. Should something occur to Murray that would force him to miss a game or more, Mason could be forced to remove the redshirt and start.
The word: Tailback is one of the deepest positions on the team heading into spring. Georgia's top five leading rushers all return with talented incoming freshman Keith Marshall joining the group. Isaiah Crowell is still the most talented back on the roster – can he create momentum heading into the summer? How far up the chart can Marshall climb with this being his first spring session? Does Richard Samuel remain at tailback? All are valid questions that we'll monitor.
The word: Zander Ogletree enters spring as the only experienced fullback on the team.
The word: Georgia returns it's top five receivers (counting Malcolm Mitchell) from 2011. The group has a good mix of seniors (King and Brown) and underclassmen (Bennett, Conley, Scott-Wesley). The pecking order doesn't matter as much here because coach Tony Ball has shown he likes to get as many players involved as possible.
Jack Loonam (6-0, 215 pounds. Redshirt freshman).
The word: The tight end position took two major hits in losing Aron White to graduation and Orson Charles to the NFL. Arthur Lynch has waited patiently for three seasons for this chance. He's plenty capable as a blocker, but wants to prove he can be an all-around threat. Jay Rome returns to football after time spent with the basketball team. He is talented, big and should be in great shape. He and Lynch will have a nice competition this offseason to see who commands targets and playing time in the fall.
This one will be more subjective to start off.
LT: Kenarious Gates
LG: Dallas Lee
C: David Andrews
RG: Chris Burnette
RT: Watts Dantzler
The word: Youth and versatility make up this spring's offensive line. We have Kenarious Gates slated to play LT, but he could play RT or either guard position. Watts Dantzler has played both T and G in the past as well and JUCO transfer Mark Beard is said to be a candidate for any number of spots, too. Will Friend has repeatedly said he will play his best five. The versatility will allow for flexibility. There are also a number of young and inexperienced players with the chance to prove their worth.
NT: John Jenkins, Kwame Geathers
DE: Abry Jones, Garrison Smith.
Also: Derrick Lott, Mike Thornton, Dexter Morant.
The word: The Bulldogs lost only one player from a unit that was successful in 2011. John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers will split time and push each other at nose tackle. Expect Abry Jones and Garrison Smith to start at the end positions. Perhaps underclassmen Ray Drew and Sterling Bailey could be on their way to defensive end in the future…
The word: Behind the talents of Jarvis Jones, this unit figures to be an exciting bunch in 2012. Jones became a national figure last season. Cornelius Washington, who had five sacks in 13 games, will join him in the starting lineup. Drew is the wildcard here – he's talented, but may change positions in the future.
The word: This could be the most solid position on the team. Alec Ogletree, Mike Gilliard, Christian Robinson and Amarlo Herrera all have starting experience. Ogletree is the prototype. Gilliard is a tackling machine. Robinson is the cerebral guy. Herrera has raw, excellent talent. Ramik Wilson is a player to watch this spring. Playing time will be hard to come by at this spot, but Wilson is a playmaker.
The word: Suspensions to Sanders Commings (two games) and Branden Smith (not yet announced, expected to be one game) have turned this position on its ear. Swann is capable of handling the No. 1 duties, but behind him is a trio of players that have never played CB in a game before. Obviously all eyes will be on Malcolm Mitchell has he switches from WR to CB this spring. How quickly can he adjust and learn the playbook? How high up the chart will he be by the time spring ends?
The word: Bacarri Rambo and Shawn Williams have to be in the discussion as the most talented safety duo in the SEC. Corey Moore is a talented backup eager to take a step up from his freshman campaign that saw him play on special teams. Connor Norman may switch to cornerback to help provide depth there, but he'll be needed to do the same thing at safety as well.
Punter: Adam Erickson (Redshirt sophomore), Ethan Jackson (Redshirt freshman), Cody Johnson (Redshirt sophomore).
Kicker: Jamie Lindley (Senior), Scott Eichler (Senior).
Long snapper: Ty Frix, Nathan Theus.
The word: Georgia lost punter Drew Butler and kicker Blair Walsh – mainstays in the starting lineup for years. Backup kicker Brandon Bogotay is also gone, leaving a group of unknowns to compete until freshman specialists Collin Barber and Marshall Morgan enroll in June.
All Eyes on Me:
3. Kenarious Gates: He's the most talented offensive lineman on the roster. Could play guard or tackle or both this season. Where he ends up will help shape the entire unit.
2. Malcolm Mitchell: Making the switch from receiver to cornerback – how does Mitchell fare?
1. Isaiah Crowell: Is he motivated? Is he hungry? Can he stay healthy? Will he live up to the potential and expectations?
Looking for Momentum:
3. Arthur Lynch: Finally with the opportunity to play and start firmly in his corner, Lynch needs a positive spring to help solidify his status.
2. Alec Ogletree: An injury in the first game of 2011 dampened what was supposed to be his breakout campaign. He returned as a playmaker late in the season, but others at the inside linebacker positions showed there isn't a great drop-off in talent. He's going to play in the pros one day soon, but he needs a productive, full season at Georgia first.
1. Marlon Brown: Entering his final year in Athens, he needs to put everything together. An ankle injury derailed what was beginning to look like a solid season in the making for Brown in 2011.
Young Players to Watch:
3. Justin Scott-Wesley: Mitchell moving to corner only opens up more chances for others at wide receiver and perhaps special teams. Scott-Wesley's speed has him in the discussion for those opportunities – is he a complete player?
2. Ramik Wilson: Can play inside or outside linebacker. Versatility and athleticism are his strong points. Needs to know exactly what he's doing on each play to make himself more of a commodity.
1. Corey Moore: Troubles at cornerback could open up time for Moore somewhere in the secondary. His famous quote from high school: "Every day is competition at Griffin," is still his mindset to this day.
Most Solidified Member:
3. Abry Jones: Has now started 20 games in his career. Quietly had a solid season in 2011.
2. Aaron Murray: Has a scary blend here. He's considered an elite quarterback – one of the best in the nation. But he still has something to prove – he's never won a game versus a ranked opponent.
1. Jarvis Jones: First-team All-American as a sophomore with 13.5 sacks. He's at the top of the list for SEC defensive players.
3. Bacarri Rambo: Made his mind up to go pro before changing at the last minute. Must avoid a hangover from an excellent season in 2011 and that entitlement feeling of "I didn't have to come back."
2. Richard Samuel: He may feel overlooked. But the Florida game last year proved he could still be a valuable asset when the timing is right.
1. Sanders Commings: Practicing all spring, summer and fall while knowing he can't play in the first two games won't be fun. But he's still the best corner on the team and will be important in 2012.
Top Position Storylines:
3. How Keith Marshall influences the tailback position: Marshall is young. It's going to take time for him to adjust to the college level. But just his presence alone could help push others or reveal how the rotation could shake out down the road.
2. How the secondary copes with suspensions: Just make it work. That should be the motto here. Whoever, however, whatever.
1. How the offensive line rotation shakes out: Versatility and youth make this spot intriguing. There are many routes Will Friend could go here.
Check back as we update Spring Central as practice moves along.
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