Position Look: Defensive Tackle

ATHENS – In a week-long series of articles, Dean Legge takes a look at Georgia's recruiting; Now, the defensive tackles.

Overview: Rodney Garner's bunch was one of the reasons Georgia had so much success last season – and this year's group will be better. The depth is totally there in 2008. Jeff Owens gets a lot of attention for playing well over his career, but the best defensive tackle in Athens is Geno Atkins. Constantly disrupting the offense, Atkins is one player Georgia cannot do without. Hopefully Owens will not have to deal with injuries this fall – they set him back from where he could have been in 2007. Kade Weston has the body to be a monster, but he needs to transfer that into consistent play when the band plays. Ricardo Crawford and Brandon Wood have both struggled with injuries in the past, but the hope is that they will be ready to roll when needed in 2008. Wood was a big deal coming out of high school, but he's not lived up to the hype yet, and injuries had almost everything to do with it. Corvey Irvin is another dependable tackle in Georgia's three-tier rotation. The thing about Georgia is that the Dawgs can legitimately rotate six different defensive tackles in a single game – how many programs have that? Still, there are a few questions (as with every position): Considering the depth of the group, what does DeAngelo Tyson have to do to play in 2008? Word is that he's done really, really well at summer workouts, but why burn a year when you need it at a later time? Will this group shake the injury bug once and for all? Is there a player ready for a breakout year who can make it a trio at the top of this group? Folks have been waiting for Weston and Wood to break out for some time now. Is it possible for A.J. Harmon to lose and keep off the weight necessary to play defensive tackle at Georgia? Probably not.

Total defensive tackles: 7 in 2008; 6 in 2009 (at this moment)

Starters: Jeff Owens and Geno Atkins

Backups: Corvey Irvin, Kade Weston, Brandon Wood, Ricardo Crawford and DeAngelo Tyson

Signed in 2008: DeAngelo Tyson – perhaps Toby Jackson (who is listed as an end, not a tackle)

Won't be here in 2009: Jeff Owens and Corvey Irvin

Committed for 2009: Abry Jones

2009 Offers: Demonte McAllister (FL), Tyrone Ezell (PA) and Raynard Randolph (MD)

What it all means: Scout.com considers Abry Jones the #8 overall prospect in the country – that's too high. Still, he's the top defensive tackle in Georgia – and that's the guy you want to sign every year. Jones is long and can add weight. He appears to have a professional career in future on the gridiron. He seems the only guy Georgia will sign this year at this spot.

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