Who’s ready to move up for more playing time?: Versatile sophomore Ramik Wilson is the most obvious candidate for playing time among players already on the roster. He swings between inside and outside linebacker and appeared in 10 games this season, totaling six tackles and a key forced fumble on the goal line against Alabama in the SEC championship game.
High-profile commits: This position is a key area of focus for the Bulldogs as they attempt to replenish their depth chart with the 2013 signing class. Georgia has four committed inside linebackers in Johnny O’Neal (Dublin, Ga./West Laurens), Tim Kimbrough (Indianapolis, Ind./Warren Central), Ryne Rankin (Orlando, Fla./East River) and Reggie Carter (Snellville, Ga./South Gwinnett). O’Neal, Kimbrough and Rankin are all listed among ESPN’s top 300 overall prospects. Rankin has already joined the team. The midyear enrollee participated in bowl practices with his new teammates last week.
Additional targets on the board: Georgia remains in the mix for the nation’s top inside linebacker prospect, Reuben Foster (Auburn, Ala./Auburn). The nation’s No. 24 overall prospect, Foster has already committed to and decommitted from both Alabama and Auburn during his unusual recruitment. The bulky, big-hitting linebacker plans to take an unofficial visit to Georgia on Jan. 25.
2013 gameplan: Ogletree hasn’t announced whether he plans to return for his senior season at Georgia, but several 2013 NFL draft projections have him going in the first round should he declare for the draft. If the Bulldogs lose their top playmaker at the position, Herrera will be the only inside linebacker with significant experience and he will have to lead the young bunch as they attempt to reload.
And 2014?: Herrera and Wilson would both be seniors in 2014 and inside linebacker should be a better established position by this point, as the numerous newcomers will have had a year to adjust to the college game. It won’t be a particularly vital position of need in recruiting for at least another season.