When Kwame Geathers went to get his hair cut last Friday in Athens, his barber congratulated the Georgia nose guard for making the Southeastern Conference’s All-Freshman team.
That was news to Geathers.
“Really?” Geathers asked. “OK. Well, thank you.”
Despite the postseason honor, Geathers didn’t make a huge splash playing in his first season for the Bulldogs.
The redshirt freshman made all of eight tackles and did not play in four games for a defense that ranked seventh in the SEC against the run and yielded nearly 150 rushing yards per game.
Georgia coach Mark Richt says landing a “bigger, more physical nose guard,” is a big recruiting need. Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s Jonathan Jenkins is a target.
That’s fine by Geathers.
“It’s all about competition,” Geathers said.
“If they bring ‘em in, it’s just going to be more competition for me.”
The 6-foot-5, 320-pound Geathers gets one more chance to play this season in the Liberty Bowl on New Year’s Eve against Central Florida – a program he knows plenty about.
Geathers’ younger cousin, Clayton Geathers, is a freshman defensive back for the Knights and was Kwame’s teammate at Carvers Bay (S.C.) High School. Clayton played in UCF’s season opener, but hasn’t since. Kwame Geathers said he thinks UCF plans to seek a redshirt for him because of what Kwame thinks was a knee injury.
“We talk off and on,” Kwame Geathers said. “He sent me a text saying something about, ‘Go Knights!’ ”
Central Florida coach George O’Leary recruited Kwame Geathers hard the year before Clayton committed.
Kwame Geathers had Georgia, UCF and Tennessee as his finalists, picking the Bulldogs a couple weeks after signing day.
He even grabbed a UCF cap and put it on his head before switching to a Georgia one when he made his decision.
“It’s a nice place, a nice school,” Kwame Geathers said. “I was thinking a lot of going there, but I decided on Georgia. I’m happy with my choice that I made.”
Another cousin, Jarvis Geathers, son of former NFL defensive lineman Jumpy Geathers, is a former defensive end for UCF, who recorded 11 sacks in 2009.
“They were saying it’s an up-and-coming program,” Geathers said. “It looked like they did a lot of work. They’ve become bigger and bigger and (are) improving every year.”
Georgia would love Geathers to show improvement next season.
“We want Kwame to have a great career,” Richt said. “He does, too. As he continues to develop, we want him to be a guy getting a lot more snaps than he’s getting right now. He’s still relatively young in his career. He’s still a redshirt freshman, so he’s got time to continue to grow and get strong and perfect his trade.”
That includes getting better leverage, playing with the proper pad level and taking on more double teams.
“He’s already a big-body guy,” Georgia linebacker Akeem Dent said. “Once he gets everything down pat and knows the gameplan inside out, he’s going to be a really good player.”
Geathers admits it was frustrating at times not getting much playing time this season.
“When I got in, I thought I did pretty good for my first time playing,” Geathers said. “I’ve just got to keep improving, keep improving every year.”