Could the Georgia Bulldogs be in the driver’s seat to win the SEC East this year? With Kirby Smart approaching his second season as head coach at Georgia anything could happen.
Ending last year’s season on a good note with a win over TCU at the Liberty Bowl gave the Bulldogs an okay record of eight and five. Unfortunately, that doesn’t cut it in the SEC and for UGA fans these days. After seeing countless seasons ending with less then 10 wins when Mark Richt was head coach, Bulldog fans expect nothing less than a SEC east title.
It all starts with Jacob Eason and if he can use his sophomore year to break out into one of SEC’s top quarterbacks. With help from running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, who are both returning for their senior season, the Georgia backfield is loaded. If Nick Chubb returns to his pre-knee injury self it could be scary for upcoming opponents.
Georgia has tons of weapons at the receiver position, so it shouldn’t be hard for one guy to step up this year and be a leader. It could be Terry Godwin, Riley Ridley, Javon Wims or even stud tight end Isaac Nauta.
We are finally growing up and turning into a deadly SEC defensive this year with DC Mel Tucker in charge. Returning seniors Lorenzo Carter and Davin Bellamy add an intense pass rush off the edge as the Bulldogs could use more sacks this season. Middle linebacker Roquan Smith and defensive tackle Trent Thompson could end the season as SEC All-Americans. Kirby also brought in one of the best recruiting classes Georgia has ever seen ranked 3rd in the nation and 2nd in the SEC with 25 commits.
The O-line was a big factor in the 2016 season, but that shouldn’t be a worry for fans anymore since UGA signed five guys over 6’4 and 300 pounds. Stand out five star offensive tackle, Isaiah Wilson from Brooklyn coming in at 6’8 and 350lbs being one of them. That adds a couple more seconds for Eason to stand in the pocket and make some bigger holes for Chubb and Michel.
Opening the season against Appalachian State on Sep 2nd shouldn’t be that hard, and having a reasonable schedule this year is also a plus for the Bulldogs. Away games at Notre Dame, Tennessee and Auburn will be interesting, but they have the best schedule to make it to the SEC championship this year. Considering UGA beats Florida and Tennessee loses a lot of games, 2017 could be the year Georgia takes control of the East.
Record 8-5 SEC (4-4) points scored 319 points against 312
Leading Passer – Jacob Eason 204-370 2,430 yards 55.1% Pass Comp, 186.9 yards a game
Leading Rusher- Nick Chubb carries 224 with 1,130 yards, Avg 5 yards a game
Leading Receiver- Isaiah McKenzie Rec 44 with 633 yards
Leading Touchdowns- Jacob Eason 17 touchdowns
Leading Tackles – Roqaun Smith 95 tackles
Leading interceptions- Dominick Sanders 3
2017 Breakout players
RB Nick Chubb DE Lorenzo Carter
RB Sony Michel DT Trent Thompson
QB Jacob Eason MLB Roquan Smith
TE Isaac Nauta FS Dominick Sanders
In the Game Magazine / South Georgia / August – September 2017
UGA Football Preseason Preview
Written by Carson Waggoner