Injuries open door for Georgia receiver Scott-Wesley

It’s somewhat telling that the most memorable Georgia Bulldogs moment Justin Scott-Wesley has experienced came before he ever stepped foot on the Sanford Stadium turf.

Injuries open door for Georgia receiver Scott-Wesley
Chris Starrs

Two years ago, the redshirt freshman flanker made public his commitment to Georgia from the winner’s stand at the Georgia Olympics in Jefferson, just minutes after claiming the Class AA state title in the 200 meters.

“It was a great day for me and for my family,” said the 5-foot-11, 218-pound Scott-Wesley, a graduate of Mitchell County High in Camilla. “I won the 100 and 200 and I (committed) after the 200. I committed a week earlier to Coach (Mark) Richt, but I told him I was going to come out with it on the track stand. I had planned it for a long time.”

Since that day, there’s not been a lot of attention cast Scott-Wesley’s way.

But with the season-ending injury suffered by Marlon Brown last Saturday against Ole Miss (coupled with Michael Bennett’s ACL tear earlier this fall), there’s a good chance that could change in the near future.

Although he’s not listed on the No. 5 Georgia’s depth chart as the Bulldogs prepare to visit Auburn today with a trip to the SEC championship game in Atlanta on the line, Scott-Wesley could find himself in the middle of the action in a hurry.

The swift Scott-Wesley — who has appeared in four games and caught one pass, a 43-yarder against Florida Atlantic — has toiled in the shadows created by Georgia’s cadre of pass-catchers, but he’s not grumbling about missed playing time.

“Justin has a great opportunity,” Richt said. “He was, of course, eligible to play this year; he wasn’t redshirted or anything, but he hasn’t had a lot of snaps. Sometimes guys will say, ‘I’m not playing this year so I’m just going to go over here and feel sorry for myself and wait until the spring.’ Justin has not done that. He’s come to work every day to improve. We watch film as coaches, and his effort hasn’t gone unnoticed.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen. I think he’s going to play more than he’s played, and if you are in the game you could get a ball. We’ll call a play and we don’t know who it’s going to go to a lot of the time. It just depends on the coverage and the protection, so he may get his hands on the ball a couple of times and maybe something good will happen, and (it will) give him some confidence… and give us more confidence
in him.”

Scott-Wesley, who was redshirted last year (“Last year, to be honest, I needed a redshirt. I wasn’t ready,” he said) has a host of teammates looking forward to seeing him make contributions on Saturdays.

“Losing a guy like Marlon is huge for our offense and our receiving corps and I told Justin that it’s his time to stand up, and I feel he’s embracing it,” said flanker Tavarres King. “He’s come a ways since fall camp and has gotten so much better. This is his time to shine and I think he can do it.”

“I think he can make a huge impact, especially with his size,” added quarterback Aaron Murray. “Justin’s a very big, strong receiver and that’s what we lost with injuries to Marlon and Bennett, two physical receivers. He’s a guy who can definitely play that part and go against bigger (defensive backs) and linebackers and create space for us. And he’s got speed. Once he gets going, there aren’t many guys who can catch him.”

Speed is perhaps what Scott-Wesley is best known for, but he wants it to be known that’s just one aspect of his arsenal.

“Coming in, I had to show people I was a receiver,” he said. “People really didn’t acknowledge my skills as a receiver much. So I had to show people I was a football player. Day in and day out, I’m showing people I’m more than just a fast guy. I can catch the ball, I can take a hit, I can give a hit, I can block.”

“Yes, he is a speed guy but he’s also able to catch the ball,” said flanker Rantavious Wooten. “He can take it to the house, he can catch the deep ball, he can go across the middle. I feel he can do everything. That’s what we practice each and every day so when stuff like this happens, we have somebody ready. He doesn’t have a lot of experience, but his time is now.”

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@amryder They start at 3:30. Like all practices, it’s closed to the public.

3 hours ago