- David Ching, ESPN Staff Writer
Seventy-nine days remain until Georgia kicks off its season opener against Buffalo on Sept. 1. In the days counting down to the opener, DawgNation will profile, with our “Around the Hedges in 80 Days” series, a Bulldogs player we expect to make an impact. We will review each player’s career thus far and project his long-term potential as we progress through our alphabetical list, from center David Andrews to receiver Rantavious Wooten.
79. John Atkins
Freshman, Defensive line
6-foot-3, 325 pounds
Fall forecast: Atkins is waiting for a qualifying test score to enroll at Georgia, but he is a candidate to redshirt this fall regardless. Remarkably quick and agile for such a large player, Atkins should have the opportunity to develop this fall, thanks to Georgia’s considerable depth at his likely position, nose guard.
The Bulldogs have senior John Jenkins and junior Kwame Geathers in an already-productive rotation and Mike Thornton behind them. Atkins has the potential to play defensive end, as well, but that positional depth chart has also been bolstered since last season, particularly now that Cornelius Washington and Ray Drew have moved there.
Possible career impact: Few 320-pound players have the athleticism Atkins possesses, as evidenced by his having played tight end, offensive line and defensive line at Thomson (Ga.) High School, as well as basketball and even goalkeeper on the Bulldogs’ soccer team. He was able to shift to offensive line to address depth concerns at the Under Armour All-America Game and held his own against fellow nationally recognized recruits.
In other words, Atkins will be capable of making an impact in any number of ways once he arrives at Georgia. His most likely destination is nose guard, but perhaps one of Atkins’ greatest strengths as a prospect is the number of options his versatility will present the Bulldogs’ coaching staff.