ATHENS, Ga. -- Teammates have been talking about Justin Scott-Wesley’s improved route running since the beginning of spring practice.
In last Saturday’s scrimmage, he showed off his track speed on what many Georgia fans hope will become his specialty route: a straight line, straight past the cornerback, for a gain of 30-plus yards.
Scott-Wesley was the Bulldogs’ leading receiver in the scrimmage with three catches for 51 yards, which encourages him that he is making progress after redshirting as a freshman.
“I’m doing that every day,” Scott-Wesley said. “It’s not just one play. It’s play after play, I’m getting more acclimated to the system, more comfortable in the system. Just every day I build on the things I’ve done so far. I’m just learning every day.”
Georgia’s quarterbacks definitely see a difference from the player who added a bit too much size when he arrived on campus last summer.
“He’s definitely lost some weight, so I think he’s a lot quicker getting out of his breaks,” quarterback Aaron Murray said recently. “Once he gets going, I don’t think anyone on our team is as fast as him. Once he crosses that 10 yards on a full sprint, there’s not many guys that are going to be able to keep up with him.”
Or take it from backup quarterback Hutson Mason.
“He’s a track guy, so he’s one of our deep-ball threat-type guys,” Mason said. “Anytime we can get one-on-one with Justin-Scott, we like that matchup just because of that speed. A lot of guys don’t have that. And not just his speed, but his hands have improved so much since last year and his knowledge of the offense.”
Scott-Wesley said he weighed 210 pounds when he arrived in Athens, but ballooned up to 230 before the season -- a gain he attributes to his time within Georgia’s strength and conditioning program, while abiding by a new nutrition routine.
After running track at Georgia in the winter, he is back at 210 and hopes to be in the 200-205 range by the fall. He thinks running track not only helped him drop weight, it also helped him regain his fluidity as a runner on the football field.
“I think it really affected my fluidity in my legs,” he said. “I think I got stiff over the summer, just building muscle. But during the winter, running track helped me loosen up and just trim down a little bit.”
After Georgia’s G-Day game, Scott-Wesley plans to return to the track team for its outdoor season. But first he will continue to work solely with the Bulldogs’ depth-deprived receiving corps.
He is backing up rising senior Tavarres King at the flanker (or Z receiver) position this spring.
Beyond that, Scott-Wesley does not want to speculate on his place within Georgia’s receiver rotation.
“I just want to make the rotation,” he said. “I just want to come out during the spring and during summer camp, I just want to show the coaches that I’m a guy that they can depend on.”