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Blog: Breaking down the receivers

The No. 2 question on our list of five lingering questions entering spring practice will linger into the preseason.

`How will life be after A.J.?’ That remains to be seen.

None of the wide receivers for Georgia just blew the doors down this spring in the start of the post-A.J. Green era.

The biggest surprise? Well, according to wide receivers coach Tony Ball, it was walk-on Taylor Bradberry. “He made a lot of plays in the spring game and he did that all spring long,” Ball said.

That was no doubt meant as a compliment to Bradberry, but it may have also said something about the rest of Georgia’s receivers this spring.

In comments last week to the Lake Country Bulldog Club, Ball offered his take on the players at his position.

On Tavarres King, expected to be the No. 1 threat at receiver. “We as a staff are hoping that TK takes the reins and will be the leader of the group and become a consistent player, the big-time player that he certainly has the potential to be. He worked extremely hard this spring and he’s going to have to continue to work this offseason as they all do.”

Marlon Brown “made some big improvements,” as the spring progressed. “He realizes this is his time to make an impact with the program. He’s certainly one of the leaders of the group that we depend on. I feel like he ended up having a pretty good spring.”

Redshirt freshman Michael Bennett showed coaches something when the ball wasn’t in his hands. “I felt like he probably demonstrated the most physicality this spring at receiver,” Ball said. “Really tried to be physical and worked extremely hard to get better and prove to the staff that we’ll be able to depend on him and trust him. Really looking forward to big things from Michael.”

Early enrollee Chris Conley drew praise less for what he has done so far on the field, but more about the type of person he is and his future upside. “You’re all going to really love him, love him as a person,” Ball said. “His mom and dad did a great job of raising that young man. …I feel like he’s going to be an outstanding player for us. He’s somebody that cares about the game, cares about the Georgia Bulldogs. He wants to be the best that he can be. Very intelligent and he works extremely hard. We’re really looking for big things from Christian Conley.”

Rantavious Wooten and Israel Troupe both were sidelined this spring due to injury and may have slid backwards in the receiving pecking order.

Ball said Wooten “didn’t get a chance to get as many reps this spring. That was probably the most disappointing thing because of a nagging injury here or there. The only way you can get better is you have to get reps and you’ve got to learn what to do. We need him to continue to come along this offseason and continue to get bigger, faster, stronger so he can be more durable.”

Ball said Troupe is “a lot like Wooten this year. He hurt his shoulder early in the spring and didn’t get a lot of reps. This offseason he got bigger and got stronger. He probably got a little too big for me.”

Troupe was listed at 6-1, 222 pounds on G-Day.

“We need him to lose about seven or eight pounds so he can run a little faster,” Ball said. “Worked extremely hard this offseason. We just need to get him well and he needs to have a big offseason in order to come back and be durable in the preseason.”

Added to the mix this summer are signees Malcolm Mitchell, Justin Scott-Wesley and Sanford Seay. Mitchell could be ready to make an immediate impact. Cornerback Branden Smith remains a wild card on offense.

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