Georgia fans, SEC experts and College Football fans alike have wondered when will the boys in Red & Black from Athens have a breakout season and make a legitimate College Football Playoff push! It’s been five years since the Bulldogs finished in the Top 5 and came within yards of making a trip to the National Championship Game. Since 2012, the Bulldogs haven’t lived up to their expectations.
In 2013, Georgia finished 8-5 and dealt with multiple injuries. In 2014, Georgia finished 10-3 and had two disappointing losses to South Carolina and was stunned by Georgia Tech. Before firing Mark Richt after 2015, UGA started 4-0 and after losing to Florida, Alabama and Tennessee in the month of October, they would miss the SEC Championship Game and finish 10-3. Early Heisman Trophy candidate Nick Chubb’s glorious season ended abruptly when he broke his leg on the first play from scrimmage in a loss against Tennessee. As the season continued, Chubb’s impact was missed but there were great back ups in Sony Michel, Keith Marshall, and Brenden Douglas.
In Kirby Smart’s first season, the Bulldogs started 3-0 but would go on to lose four of the next five games including a last second defeat to the Tennessee Volunteers and a inexcusable lose to Vanderbilt. After finishing 8-5 on the year, Dawgs Nation was confused on the direction of the program and want to know what it’ll take to watch the Bulldogs return to the top of the SEC, a conference that is dominated by Alabama.
In order for the Bulldogs to return to their SEC glory days, they will need a legit #1 receiver. We’ve seen guys like Tavares King, Malcolm Mitchell and Isaiah McKenzie make an impact in the passing attack; however, none are the best in the conference or the nation. In fact, the last dominant receiver at UGA was current Bengals star AJ Green.
Also, the lack of a legitimate starting quarterback has affected the Dawgs. After a solid 10+ year run of solid quarterbacks such as David Greene, DJ Shockley, Matthew Stafford, and Aaron Murray, the Bulldogs relied on Hutson Mason and Greyson Lambert, who weren’t built to succeed in a pro style offensive scheme.
In 2015, UGA landed the top prospect in the country, Quarterback Jacob Eason. This recruit was vital in helping the Georgia Bulldogs return to the elite status in the Southeastern Conference. Unfortunately, the Dawgs are still searching for the elite receiver or first option to succeed in a Pro Style scheme. In the past few seasons, a few of Georgia’s talented receivers are now playing on Sunday afternoons. Returner and Slot Receiver, Isaiah McKenzie, was drafted by the Denver Broncos last season, Chris Conley is a member of the Kansas City Chiefs and Malcolm Mitchell was one of the unsung heroes in the Super Bowl comeback for the New England Patriots.
Georgia’s defense was always a talented group and we’ve seen members of the Front Seven have successful NFL careers such as Geno Atkins, Thomas Davis, Leonard Floyd, Justin Houston, Alec Ogletree just to name a few. Georgia’s front seven is one of the best country over the years; however, their secondary is shaky at times, which cost them to struggle in some of the biggest games of the year.
In the last two recruiting classes, Georgia landed elite recruits such as Roquan Smith, Trent Thompson, Rashad Roundtree, Chauncey Rivers, and Julian Rochester. Each year, Georgia’s defensive recruits have high expectations and we’ve seen star athletes live up to their level of play and earn NFL contracts; however, it’s been years since the Dawgs had multiple pieces to help make a championship run!
Since the start of the Kirby Smart era, UGA’s recruiting classes in the future are bound to help the program reach a championship level again. Landing multiple 4-Star and 5-Star Recruits in Isaiah Wilson, Jeremiah Holloman, Richard Lecounte, Deangelo Gibbs, Jake Fromm, D’andre Swift, and many others. The Dawgs landed the top running back of the 2018 class in Zamir White from North Carolina. Thanks to the addition of elite recruits, Georgia is bound to finish with a Top Five Recruiting Class. If the Dawgs recruiting process continues to succeed like we’ve seen recently, don’t be surprised if Georgia shocks the nation and become a College Football Playoff contender soon.
With Jacob Eason entering his sophomore season and a second year with offensive coordinator Jim Chaney trying to gain chemistry during the offseason to help the Dawgs offense reach the level of success we’ve seen in previous years, expect Georgia to improve! Also, with the
dynamic running back tandem in Nick Chubb and Sony Michel coming back for their senior season, that helps Eason and the passing attack. With a favorable 2017 schedule, the Georgia Bulldogs are aiming to capitalize and make noise not only in the SEC but across College Football.
The #15 ranked team according to USA Today opens their season against Appalachian State at Sanford Stadium on September 2nd. If the Dawgs are going to make a SEC Championship push, this is the year for the program to take the next steps. With a healthy and revamped Georgia Bulldogs squad, could this finally be the year Kirby Smart and company wrecks havoc? We’ll find out in a few weeks!