Dantzler, Bulldogs’ social media guru, trying to crack starting lineup

He has more Twitter followers than Georgia defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt or offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, more than the Gator or Outback Bowls or former Bulldogs quarterback D.J. Shockley.

Offensive lineman Watts Dantzler has managed to become a celebrity of sorts with 11,000 Twitter followers. And he hasn’t cracked the Georgia starting lineup in his three seasons with the Bulldogs.

“Some people ask me how so many people know me when I haven’t played that much,” Dantzler said. “I don’t know. I just try to be nice and funny to everybody I meet and I guess people enjoy my presence.”

Some of his best tweets included a photo last summer of him double wake boarding with fellow offensive lineman David Andrews on Lake Burton and another of a photo of a man brandishing a shotgun and an American flag with the message “This is what I say to Tornadoes.”

Then there is this recent tweet: “@Weightwatchers do ya’ll have any diets that will help me lose 50 pounds in 3 days? I need to look good for spring break.”

Of course, this was months after he sent out a photo of a “McDantzler” — the meat of two McDonald’s double cheeseburgers and a McChicken sandwich, fries and ranch dressing and buffalo sauce.

He detailed that to SI.com, which already had placed him on its Twitter 100 as “essential to your daily routine for finding news, information and entertainment from the sports world.”

“We were messing with him a while back just how many followers he has,” Chris Burnette, the former Georgia offensive guard, said during bowl practices. “He’s a social media guru. It’s awesome. At the end of the day, he’s leveraging where he’s at to help bring some attention to himself. That’s not bad.”

So will Dantzler finish his Georgia career being known more for the fun he creates off the field than what he does on it?

“I definitely would like to start, if not play,” said Dantzler, from Dalton.

As he enters his final season at Georgia, he’s backing up Kolton Houston at right tackle for now this spring. Offensive line coach Will Friend told him a week before spring practices that he would move from guard to tackle.

He’s played in 22 games during his career, playing two series against both LSU and Nebraska and one against Tennessee last season in games that hung in the balance.

He got scant time playing as a freshman in 2011.

“I only played in a couple of games, but we didn’t have any linemen,” Dantzler said. “Sophomore year, I was sixth man and sprained my ankle and missed six games. It’s kind of been a bumpy road. That’s the way it goes.”

Georgia coaches wish they could have squeezed more out of Dantzler.

“In hindsight, it would have been nice if he had redshirted somewhere along the way because he is a fourth-year senior,” coach Mark Richt said. “It would be nice if he had this and another, but it didn’t work out that way. He knows what to do, he’s competing hard, we think he can play.”

Dantzler could be in line to be a swing man as a backup tackle and guard.

“That’s what he’s competing for,” Richt said. “By knowing guard and tackle just like if you’re the seventh or eighth lineman in the NFL, you better be able to play more than one position. That adds value, it gives you a better chance to play and he’s been able to do both so I think he’ll be good. Right now he’s doing well at tackle.”

The 6-foot-7 Dantzler’s weight has fluctuated from 340 in January to about 305 after avoiding eating “anything bad” after the bowl game and he says he’s now about 315.

“I put on some better muscle, which is good,” he said. “Once I cut down on fried foods, my weight went down a whole lot.”

Georgia is a third of the way through spring practices after Thursday. There’s more time for players to win or lose their spots on the depth chart.

“I’m praying something good happens,” Dantzler said, “and I can work my way up into the starting group and if not be the sixth man and be ready to go at either guard or tackle.”

If not, you can count on Dantzler, with his 11,000 Twitter followers, to keep things light on social media.

Follow Marc online at twitter.com/marcweiszer.

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