Depth at wide receiver has gone from a concern this spring to what looks like a strength in the eyes of offensive coordinator Mike Bobo as Georgia opens preseason practices on Friday.
The return of Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley from injuries will help.
A couple of freshmen and the additions of Brendan Langley from defense and transfer Charlie Hegedus from N.C. State have also bolstered the unit.
So much so that coaches decided to move freshman Rico Johnson from wide receiver to cornerback.
Georgia still has 14 receivers available, including walk-ons.
Adding freshman Shakenneth Williams and Isaiah McKenzie and the return of walk-on Michael Edrman from injury has shored up the group. Hegedus is eligible to play this year.
‚ÄúI feel better about that position because of depth,‚Äù Bobo said. ‚ÄúThe numbers are up. We‚Äôre going to have 14 receivers when we start camp. ‚Ä¶Now it‚Äôs a little bit easier to practice and get guys quality reps where you don‚Äôt wear them down. We got a little wore down this spring because the numbers were low.‚Äù
The 5-foot-11, 174-pound Johnson was a 2013 receiver signee from Swainsboro who did not qualify. He spent last season at Georgia Prep Sports Academy before signing again with the Bulldogs.
Bobo said coaches made the decision for Johnson to go to the secondary after talking with defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.
‚ÄúWe just kind of talked about it and put our guys that we have offensively on the board and what they have and (it‚Äôs) kind of a need,‚Äù Bobo said. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôre going to see if he can go over there and contribute early on. I think we‚Äôll know early on whether he‚Äôs going to stay there or come to the offense.‚Äù
TE Blazevich will cross train like Hicks
Quayvon Hicks isn‚Äôt the only Georgia player pegged for a tight end/H-back role.
The fullback will continue to cross-train as an on-the-line tight end and off-the-line fullback and meet in tight ends coach John Lilly‚Äôs position room, Bobo said.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre going to try to train more guys to do both,‚Äù he said.
That includes Jeb Blazevich, a 6-foot-5, 232-pound Charlotte, N.C., product.
Bobo said Jay Rome and Jordan Davis are more in the traditional tight end molds.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs really going to depend on who we feel is our best personnel to give us the best chance to move the ball,‚Äù Bobo said, ‚Äúbut at the same time we‚Äôre still going to have that element of two-back runs and two-back power game to establish some physicality when we go in the stadium and to help with our play-action passes.‚Äù
Chubb makes quick impression
The physical specimen that is Nick Chubb has shown up quickly in summer workouts.
‚ÄúNick is very impressive in the weight room,‚Äù Bobo said of the chiseled 5-foot-10, 228-pound freshman from Cedartown. ‚ÄúI think we all kind of knew that coming in. He‚Äôs very strong. He loves the weight room. Talking to the strength coaches, they say he just comes to work every day and is about business.‚Äù
Chubb isn‚Äôt the most talkative type.
‚ÄúHe doesn‚Äôt say a whole lot,‚Äù Bobo said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs hard to get Nick to talk. It was hard to get him to talk in recruiting. It‚Äôs still hard to get him to talk now. But he‚Äôs a great kid that comes over here every day to be focused and ready to get better.‚Äù
This and that
Receivers Mitchell and Scott-Wesley and tailback Keith Marshall ‚Äúhave a great mindset, they feel good,‚Äù Bobo said of their return from ACL injuries. Bobo wasn‚Äôt sure if Scott-Wesley will be limited when practices start on Friday. ‚ÄúHe is not full-speed yet when I‚Äôve seen him run around out there, but he does look good physically. He‚Äôs got his weight in a great place. His body looks lean. I really like how he looks. It‚Äôll depend on his knee and how he comes back from that. Then when he gets back and he‚Äôs ready to go we‚Äôll be excited about having him out there.‚Äù ‚Ä¶ Georgia put on sale this week tickets for nonconference games against Troy on Sept. 20 and Charleston Southern on Nov. 22 after returns. They are $45 each.