Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm (11) during the Bulldogs' game against Austin Peay at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. (Photo by Philip Williams)
Georgia has always attracted blue-chip talent, but the recruiting in Athens has seen a meteoric rise under Kirby. While that hasn’t yielded a win against the mighty Crimson Tide yet, it certainly seems inevitable.
2019 could be the year it finally happens as the Dawgs’ top-tier recruiting class joins a veteran lineup lead by junior quarterback Jake Fromm. Fromm’s decision making and leadership abilities make him one of the elite signal callers in the game, but he will need to gain chemistry with an unproven core of receivers after losing Riley Ridley, Mecole Hartman, and Isaac Nauta to the draft and then the dismissal of Jeremiah Holloman in June. The hope is the former five-star recruit and California Golden Bear, Demetris Robertson will be that guy, and this will be his chance to prove he can play up to his potential. The backfield is stocked with explosiveness and the offensive line is massive and experienced. So even if that chemistry between Fromm and a new group of receivers takes time, the Dawgs can lean on their running game to score points.
Defensively, this team still has some growing up to do. After leaning on an elite unit two years ago, they lost a little ground in 2018, but were still good enough to win it all. I expect this year’s squad to be improved but not impenetrable, which will be more than enough to win the East and get a rematch all Bulldog fans want but must be wary of after the heartbreak of the past two seasons.
On special teams, Rodrigo Blankenship and his glasses return for his senior campaign after considering turning pro. The kid is good enough and will kick in the NFL, but it is not often that kickers reach Rockstar status. He has in Athens, so he wisely decided to enjoy it for another year. At punter, Jake Camarda, is perfectly serviceable.
August 31 at Vanderbilt
September 7 vs. Murray State
September 14 vs. Arkansas State
September 21 vs. Notre Dame
October 5 at Tennessee
October 12 vs. South Carolina
October 19 vs. Kentucky
November 2 vs. Florida (Jacksonville, FL)
November 9 vs. Missouri
November 16 at Auburn
November 23 vs. Texas A&M
November 30 at Georgia Tech
It is hard to imagine fans getting restless in Athens but with success comes expectations, and Dawg Nation already had those when they weren’t overwhelmed with five-star recruits. The expectation is getting back to Atlanta, which will be decided in the month of November when they play Florida in Jacksonville, Missouri in Athens, Auburn on the Pains and Texas A&M Between the Hedges. I only see them losing one of those games if any all season, which will be good enough to win the East. It’s hard to imagine anyone else other than Alabama waiting for them in Atlanta.
Third time is a charm, right?