Signees Blazevich, Atkinson bolster thinning TE depth

Arthur Lynch is getting ready for the NFL combine after five seasons at Georgia.

Ty Flournoy-Smith, who played in 2012 as a freshman, left after off-field trouble and signed with Alabama after a season at junior college.

Rising redshirt junior Jay Rome is coming off foot surgery.

Yes, the Bulldogs could use some more help at tight end, where redshirt freshman Jordan Davis is the only other scholarship tight end in the program.

“We felt like our tight end position was really a little scary with the depth there,” coach Mark Richt said.

Enter Jeb Blazevich and Hunter Atkinson, who Georgia signed Wednesday with an eye on bolstering the position this coming season.

“I’m just trying to fit the mold, just trying to do whatever they need me to do,” said Blazevich, out of Charlotte (N.C.) Christian High School. “Whatever I need to do to get on the field, I’m going to try to do it. Whether that’s more blocking or receiving or even going to defense or playing special teams. They’re not talking about defense. I’m just throwing that in. I’m just ready to fit whatever they need me to do because that’s the school and the coaching staff I want to do it for.”

Rivals.com jumped the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Blazevich from a No. 181 ranking to No. 79 after the Under Armour All-American game in Florida in early January. He’s Rivals’ No. 1 tight end nationally.

“We thought he was just an outside guy, a flex guy,” said Mike Farrell, Rivals’ national recruiting analyst. “His film was mostly just wide receiver stuff. When he got down to Under Armour, we saw him block in-line and he knocked the crap out of some kids. Andrew Trumbetti, who’s going to Notre Dame, especially, he owned him. I really, really liked that, plus he caught everything thrown his way and was a reliable sort of safety valve receiver. That’s crucial as a tight end. He can stretch the field, but he’s a guy who can also catch a poorly thrown ball or a ball thrown into traffic. He goes up to get it.”

Blazevich said he’ll outwork the other guy, can catch the ball and is getting better as a blocker.

“If the door’s open, the door’s open, I’m hungry for it,” Blazevich said. “I’m trying to do as much as I can as soon as I can. Keeping that in mind, I still have a lot to learn from these older guys. I’m excited to learn.”

Blazevich committed to Georgia last April and never wavered. He picked the Bulldogs over Clemson and Ole Miss, among others.

“I think he has the skill-set to do things on our offense that we’re going to ask him to do,” tight ends coach John Lilly said. “He’s been exposed to a lot in his high school program.”

The Bulldogs also landed the 6-5, 250-pound Atkinson from West Hall High School, who Georgia got to flip from Cincinnati on Tuesday night.

“We knew we had a battle with Georgia and we lost,” Bearcats coach Tommy Tuberville told The Associated Press.

Georgia called with a late offer to Atkinson at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, on signing day eve, according to the Gainesville Times. So Atkinson became a surprise signee on Wednesday.

“He’s a guy we started watching tape on in the middle of the season that did a little bit of everything,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said of a player who had 51 catches for 704 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior. “He lined up at receiver, he lined up at tight end, he lined up as a wildcat quarterback. He’s a big athlete. I really don’t know how big this guy’s going to become and what he’s going to become. Like I told him (Tuesday) night, we’re expecting you to come in and get ready to play. I believe he’s got a chance to do that, I believe he’s an SEC football player.”

The more the merrier for the Bulldogs at tight end now with two more.

“Both are great young men and very talented,” Richt said. “Both have good hands, and I think they’re both going to be very capable to learn what to do and earn some playing time. It’ll be fun to watch it.”

Follow Marc Weiszer online at twitter.com/marcweiszer.

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