Brendan Langley and Shaq Wiggins have been on campus at Georgia for a little over two months.
Enough time to show teammate Justin Scott-Wesley that they have the makeup to handle the pressure of playing cornerback as a freshman in high-profile games in a matter of weeks.
‚ÄúThey have the confidence and the swagger that you‚Äôd like to see in a DB,‚Äù said Scott-Wesley, a redshirt sophomore receiver. ‚ÄúShaq, he‚Äôs very, how do I say this? He‚Äôs like a bumblebee. He‚Äôs always in your ear, he‚Äôs always there. He‚Äôs a fiery guy. A fast-guy.‚Äù
Wiggins and Langley both could be thrown into the heat of battle early in their college careers since the secondary will be missing sophomore Josh Harvey-Clemons due to a suspension for the Aug. 31 opener at Clemson and freshman Reggie Wilkerson for the season with a knee injury.
In the closest thing to a game so far, Langley was credited with an interception in Wednesday‚Äôs preseason scrimmage. He said he actually had two.
‚ÄúI still got beat on a couple of plays,‚Äù said Langley, a four-star recruit from Kell High School ‚ÄúI still can get better in certain places. Compared to how I started off and how I am now, I think I had an extremely good day.‚Äù
Wiggins (limited recently with a strained groin) and Langley are among eight defensive backs in this Georgia recruiting class. That‚Äôs a significant chunk of the 31 signees who made it to campus.
There are only six other players in the secondary that were recruited to Georgia on scholarship.
Georgia is rebuilding on the back end after three defensive backs (Shawn Williams, Sanders Commings and Bacarri Rambo) were taken in the NFL draft. Another (Branden Smith) is in an NFL camp this month as a free agent.
The headliner for the Georgia secondary newcomers is Tray Matthews, the freshman from Newnan who is the Bulldogs‚Äô starting free safety. He had a breakout spring but has been limited this preseason with a sprained shoulder.
‚ÄúI don‚Äôt think we‚Äôre going to have any problems,‚Äù Langley said. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôll just have to see and handle it between the whistles come the first game. The way we‚Äôre shaping up we have a lot of work to do, but I think we‚Äôll be ready come game time.‚Äù
Other newcomers in the secondary: safeties Shaquille Fluker and Quincy Mauger, cornerback Kennar Johnson and safety Paris Bostick, who will miss the season following toe surgery.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre always in the DB room joking around before film sessions,‚Äù Langley said. ‚ÄúI think we‚Äôre building a great brotherhood that‚Äôs going to help us in the long run.‚Äù
Fluker, a 6-foot-1, 192-pound transfer from East Mississippi Community College, was encouraged by making a big play in the scrimmage.
‚ÄúI picked Aaron Murray off,‚Äù he said Thursday with a big smile.
Fluker‚Äôs in the mix at strong safety along with Connor Norman and Corey Moore.
‚ÄúThey let me know bringing me in from JUCO, that I‚Äôm going to get some PT right away,‚Äù Fluker said. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm not saying it‚Äôs going to be difficult, but there‚Äôs going to be a part where I‚Äôve got to learn quick about how a defense runs and knowing what I have to do and what place I have to be.‚Äù
The need for Wiggins and Langley to help right away became more pressing when Wilkerson, who already earned a rotation spot this spring, was lost for the season earlier this summer.
Wilkerson and Langley were summer roommates and Wilkerson helped him with the playbook after he arrived to campus.
The 6-foot-1, 192-pound Langley and the 5-foot-10, 165-pound Wiggins offer different body types in the secondary.
‚ÄúShaq, we all know he‚Äôs a feisty little dude,‚Äù Langley said. ‚ÄúHe‚Äôs a great cover corner. He‚Äôs coming up and making big plays in the running game. You really can‚Äôt ask for more.‚Äù
Langley has worked at the star nickel position and field and boundary corner. Wiggins has worked both boundary and field.
‚ÄúOur freshmen, they‚Äôre good,‚Äù Johnson said. ‚ÄúThis is Georgia. This is the SEC. They‚Äôre not going to hire no sorry players.‚Äù