Freshman safety Mauger trying to outwork competition, opponents

Freshman Quincy Mauger hasn’t had a choice but to improve greatly since the start of the season. 

Mauger ranks sixth on Georgia’s defense in tackles with 34 in the eight games he’s appeared in. The safety has been asked to play a more pivotal role in the past four games in the absence of starters such as Tray Matthews. Though Mauger has made his breakout in recent games, senior Connor Norman has had his eye on the Kell product since he enrolled at Georgia in January. 

“He was my dark horse pick at the beginning of the year anyway,” Norman said. “I liked him all the way back in the spring, so I’m glad he’s coming into his own and playing well.”

Mauger still has much to improve, but his coaches are giving him good reviews too. 

“I’ve been getting some good feedback so far,” Mauger said. “I’ve made some good improvement with my eyes and tackling, and just being able to make the play when it’s given and the opportunity is there.”

After Georgia sent most of its defenders to the NFL after last season and was forced to sideline its active players due to injuries, Mauger didn’t have time to sit around and watch the veterans play. He had to be ready to start right away. That’s a little harder to do when you’re being thrown into matchups with Southeastern Conference offenses, but Mauger has made the most of his playing time. 

“So far I feel like I’ve improved very well from my first game against North Texas to Florida,” Mauger said. “I believe I’ve made a huge improvement from before to now.”

Georgia’s defense is having to make improvements as a whole. One area of emphasis is stopping offenses in third-down-and-long situations.

“We’ve been concentrating hard on third downs, and I think that everybody’s starting to gel together better and have more confidence in each other out there on the field which is good,” Norman said. “Hopefully we can just continue to build on it and grow in maturity as a defense.”

Some of that stems from Georgia’s defenders getting more comfortable with each other. They were all fairly unfamiliar with each other to start the season. Mauger, however, has spent plenty of time on the field with cornerback Brendan Langley. The two freshmen were teammates at Kell.

“A lot of comfort and a lot of trust already,” Mauger said. “You don’t have to build new trust; it’s already there. It feels pretty good knowing the person beside you.”

Mauger committed to Georgia before Langley, and was thrilled to see his high school teammate make the move to Athens after having such good times in previous years. 

“It was great. It was great to see somebody that talented being my teammate,” Mauger said. “We were so cool and connected, and we both stood out.”

Mauger pays a lot of attention to the small details that matter most. Norman said that’s why Mauger got a chance to play so soon and produce almost immediately. 

“He just worked real hard to get to know the defense and really become familiar with our calls and the schemes and what we’re trying to do,” Norman said. “Just seeing him work hard in that aspect you kind of knew that everything else would come along with it.”

Mauger’s skill set and effort he puts toward preparation has impressed other veterans, too. Junior free safety Lucas Redd has spent the majority of his Bulldog career as a member of the scout team. He received an Outstanding Scout Team Award in 2012 and an Outstanding Special Teams Award in 2010. He’s been surrounded by talent in his years at Georgia, and said he would place Mauger up there with hardest workers he’s practiced with. 

“Quincy doesn’t really look into anything, he’s just happy to get his shot,” Redd said. “He’s a guy that’s not going to let somebody outwork him regardless of whatever situation he’s in. He’s going to work until he’s got a shot and he’s going to keep playing for everything he can.”

Mauger doesn’t let his work ethic get him too heated, though. He’s able to hang out with his teammates and have a good time, but he knows when it’s time to work. 

“He’s a mellow guy. He has a good time with everybody,” Redd said. “When it’s time to play football, when it’s time to get in the film room, when it’s time to work out he’s all business.”

He’s a risk management major who gets excited at the thought of attending classes in the university’s Terry College of Business. 

“To graduate from Georgia, a lot of doors open up for careers and job wise, so you’ve got to think life after football,” Mauger said. 

Mauger’s aspirations after his football career don’t stray far from his spot on Georgia’s team. He hopes to open up a facility in the future that focuses on helping young football players develop their talents and take them to the next level.

“One thing that interests me is running my own business and developing under-looked kids in football,” Mauger said. “I wasn’t that highly recruited, but I’ve still made an impact.”

Mauger didn’t consider himself one of the top recruits in the nation or even the state as a three-star prospect, but he’s made a name for himself on Georgia’s defense as a freshman. He didn’t expect to start this season, but he never ruled the possibility out. 

“You never really know when the starting position is there for the taking, but you always have to prepare yourself and study the playbook and just know how to execute it out on the field,” Mauger said. 

Prepare like a starter has been the team motto throughout this injury-plagued season. 

“I always just said I’d be prepared if the opportunity was given, and I feel like I was prepared,” Mauger said. 

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