It is anyone’s game at UGA’s nose guard spot

Nose guard Mike Thornton was the second name mentioned by defensive line coach Chris Wilson Tuesday when he rattled off some standout spring performances.

AJ Reynolds/Staff
Georgia defensive tackle Chris Mays waits for the a drill during an NCAA college football spring practice in Athens, Ga., Saturday, March 2, 2013.

Thornton, who held down a starting spot this spring, has the experience edge on 340-pound junior college transfer Chris Mayes. Wilson can also turn to end John Taylor at the position.

He’s looking for more bodies at nose guard.

“I’m kind of greedy,” Wilson said. “There’s never enough. I want Toby Johnson to come in and be a contributor if he’s capable enough.”

Johnson, a signee from Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College, said he was recruited to play end, but Wilson said that, like Taylor, he’s athletic and strong enough to play both end and nose.

Johnson, who was in town for G-Day, is at about “80 percent,” coming back from ACL and MCL surgery, Wilson said. Once he finishes at junior college, Wilson expects him to begin summer workouts in June.

Defensive end Sterling Bailey and Taylor had the other top spring showings, Wilson said.

Bailey seems to have held off Ray Drew for now at the starting spot opposite Garrison Smith.

“The biggest thing was to see him be healthy and get through these 14 practices,” Wilson said of Bailey. “The thing I liked about him every day is he got a little bit better.”

Taylor, a redshirt freshman, will be hard to keep off the field.

“Once he knows what to do and how to do it, he’s going to be a guy who can help us win some games,” Wilson said. “He’s a guy with his ability, if he knows what to do, can play all three downs for us.”

— Marc Weiszer covers Georgia football for onlineathens.com. Follow him on Twitter or check for updates on his blog.

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