Georgia’s big dip into the junior college ranks in its last recruiting class hasn’t produced big results this season.
Only two of the five junior college signees have played for the Bulldogs—nose guard Chris Mayes and defensive lineman Toby Johnson.
Safety Shaquille Fluker will be redshirted and cornerback Kennar Johnson also is headed in that direction.
Wide receiver Jonathon Rumph has been on the verge of playing seemingly a few times this season but it still hasn’t happened. He’s battled a hamstring injury and what offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said was not enough practice time.
Even Mayes, who has started two games, has had a big learning curve.
Mayes sat out last season at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College so he could still have three years of eligibility when he got to Georgia.
“I had to get back in the pace of the game and, of course, the SEC is way faster,” said the 6-foot-4, 330-pound Mayes, who has 13 tackles and a sack. “There were a lot of things I had to learn. I had to change from a read stance to a more attacking stance. We went from having like six plays to installing like 30 plays a day. It was a big transition.”
Johnson, Rumph, Fluker and Mayes were all top 25 juco prospects by Rivals.com. Fluker has been listed as having an unspecified illness on the Bulldogs’ injury report.
Johnson, from Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College has three tackles, including one for loss.
Georgia signed so many junior college players because it wanted to create some class separation in its 33-player signing class, coach Mark Richt said.
“If we signed everybody as a freshmen, 33 guys as freshmen, that’s a lot of guys in that one class,” Richt said. “By bringing in some junior college players to create some depth and separation from the rest of the class that was part of the strategy this past year. It was a little bit different from other years. It’s not necessarily a disappointment or a shock (that some aren’t contributing).”
Mayes said junior college players adjusting to the SEC are still first-year players at this level.
“So everybody’s a freshman basically,” Mayes said
“Everybody can’t come in and play right away,” senior defensive lineman Garrison Smith said. “It’s just different situations. People are at different speeds, just like coming out of high school. Some people can play coming out of high school, some people can’t. It’s really the coaches’ decision in what they see best.”
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