Spring Battle ground: The Fullbacks

Recently Georgia has developed the knack of turning walk on fullbacks in to scholarship stars.

Recently Georgia has developed the nack of turning walk on fullbacks in to scholarship stars. Verron Hayes was the first to do it a few seasons ago and he was followed by J.T. Wall. Now December Dawg Post cover man Jeremy Thomas leads Georgia's crop of fullbacks into spring practice.

Thomas is the incumbent and will be difficult to unseat as starter. Mark Richt's offense relies heavily on the fullback for protection. That became even more evident last season when Thomas was asked to stay in virtually every big play except one last season to block.

Too bad for Richt and Thomas that the one time that Thomas was looked to for a huge play it came up short. That came against Florida in the 4th quarter last season.

But with the offensive line's improvement expected to be significant, Georgia fullbacks should expect to return to as a more versatile weapon in the Georgia offense in 2004.

Thomas is backed up by Chris Hickman and Des Williams. Williams spent time at the mike linebacker during the fall camp last year before he made a permanent switch to fullback in the middle of last season. Hickman has been in the coaches' doghouse in the last few months for various incidents.

Williams and Hickman will battle is out for the back up spot behind Thomas, who has a stranglehold on the starting spot.

2004 signing class impact:

Brannan Southerland won't be there this spring and likely will not get significant playing time this fall either. He has indicated that he might try out linebacker as well but more than likely he will end up at fullback for good when the dust settles.

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