2009's Fresh Faces to Watch at Georgia

ATHENS – The common refrain regarding Georgia this offseason has been about all the Bulldogs lost. Matthew Stafford, Knowshon Moreno, Mohamed Massaquoi and numerous other key contributors from last year's team have departed Athens, but a new group of Bulldogs has taken their place. Here's a look at some of the fresh faces most likely to have a big impact in 2009.

Marlon Brown (Fr., WR)
The comparisons began almost immediately after Brown chose to come to Georgia, but rest assured, the freshman from Memphis is not the next A.J. Green. That's not to say he can't put up some big numbers – matching Green's 56 catches and 963 yards might be tough – but Brown's game is a bit different from last year's breakout wide receiver.

"Marlon is a bigger body, and what I've gotten out of this camp is that he's not scared to go across the middle," safety Bryan Evans said. "He's a good blocker, and he's physical, which will bring a lot to our offense."

Green has heard the comparisons, too, and while he's expecting big things from Georgia's new wideout, his advice to Brown has been to avoid all the hype.

"I told him to just go out there and do what you do," Green said. "Don't try to live up to the hype they put me up to. Just play your game, and it will come to you."

Orson Charles (Fr., TE)
During last year's preseason, it was Green who drew oohs and ahhs from his teammates who were in awe of the raw ability the freshman receiver brought to the table. This summer, it has been Charles who has garnered the most platitudes from his fellow Bulldogs by combining the strength of a true tight end with athleticism usually reserved for a receiver.

"Whenever you're lining up over Orson, you know at any time he could break a big play, so you better be going hard," linebacker Nick Williams said. "And he can do so many things that when I'm lined up over him I'm thinking, is he blocking, going out for a pass, because he's a good blocker, he can run routes, he can catch a pass. So you've got to be 3-D-like."

Arthur Lynch (Fr., TE)
If Charles brings the athleticism to Georgia's tight end rotation, Lynch is the brawn. The 6-foot-5, 240-pounder from Massachusetts has flown under the radar a bit this preseason, thanks in part to Charles' flashiness, but Lynch is the type of lunch-pail blocker and over-the-middle receiver that has been a cornerstone of Bulldogs' offenses for years.

"I don't want to say he's a brute, because that's the wrong word, but he's a big muscle-bound guy," tight end Aron White said of Lynch. "He's naturally big, but he's played basketball his whole life so he can still move and run and jump and cut."

Lest anyone think Lynch is all brawn and no brains, however, Williams said it doesn't take long to realize that Georgia burly tight end might be one of the smartest players on the team.

"I always hear (tight ends) coach (John) Lilly saying, ‘Good job, Arthur,'" Williams said. "I'm thinking, man, this guy's a freshman? He's got all the intangibles."

Richard Samuel (So., RB) When the competition for starting tailback began this preseason, Samuel was hardly at the forefront of the conversation. Fans were anxious to see highly recruited Caleb King in action. Redshirt freshman Carlton Thomas had wowed coaches in the spring with his speed and elusiveness. Freshman Washaun Ealey had fans drooling at his potential. And then there was Samuel, the workhorse bruiser who played tailback like a linebacker.

"He's a very physical back," fullback Shaun Chapas said. "He's not afraid to lower his shoulder at all, and that's probably one of his best attributes. He's a powerful runner, and when he lowers the shoulder and wants to hit, he's hard to bring down."

That makes life tough for the defenders hoping to bring Samuel down, which over the course of 60 minutes could be a big advantage for the Bulldogs in the fourth quarter of games.

"That's one thing he will do is try to run you over," linebacker Akeem Dent said. "He probably could play linebacker if he wanted to because he hits so hard. So from a defensive standpoint, you've got to be fundamentally sound and wrap him up because he's a tough runner."

Brandon Boykin (So., CB)
Fans were stunned when two-year starting corner Asher Allen bolted for the NFL after his junior season, but he may not be missed for too long. After seeing limited action as a true freshman last season, the athletic Boykin was handed the short corner position before camp opened and he's done nothing to show he didn't deserve it.

"Boykin is very athletic," Evans said. "I don't think it's a drop-off at all (from Allen). He needs to get some experience, but that comes with the game. I have no doubts that Boykin is going to probably be one of the best first-year starters on our team this year. People need to look out for him."

Nick Williams (So., LB)
Williams isn't likely to crack the starting lineup with a wealth of experienced linebackers ahead of him on the depth chart, but he's been busy impressing coaches since the spring.

"Nick is a high-energy individual," defensive coordinator Willie Martinez said. "Anything he does, he can't sit still, and we like that."

Thanks to injuries to teammates, Williams bounced from linebacker to safety and back again this offseason, and the transitions might prove a blessing by setting the sophomore up to be a perfect candidate to handle nickelback duties.

"They've let me know that maybe I need to learn everything, and that's my mentality," Williams said. "I think it will get me on the field more. Coach likes versatility."

Cornelius Washington (RFr./DE)
This spring, Georgia was down to two healthy defensive ends, and one of them – Justin Houston – landed a two-game suspension immediately after practices ended. That means there will be pressure on some of the Bulldogs' young pass rushers to step up early this season, and the leading candidate may be the speedy Washington.

"He's terribly fast," fellow defensive end Kiante Tripp said. "The guy ran track in high school and set records. You can imagine him on the field now and looking like a linebacker at D-end."

Washington is still a bit behind where he would like to be in his development after missing nearly all of last season with injuries, but fellow defensive end Demarcus Dobbs said he wouldn't be surprised to see Washington progress quickly once the season starts.

"Although he missed a lot of practice, you could tell that he's matured, and that's a great thing," Dobbs said. "For being so young and not having as many reps, I think he's coming along great and where he needs to be."


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