DeAndre Johnson will have a chance at early playing time on Georgia's young defensive line.
ESPN.com rankings: No. 84 defensive tackle, No. 508 in Southeast region, No. 121 in Georgia
Picked Georgia over: South Carolina, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Tennessee and others.
State of the position: Georgia will need to revamp its defensive line next season, as John Jenkins, Abry Jones and Cornelius Washington are set to move onto the NFL. Junior nose Kwame Geathers also decided forgo his senior season to declare for the NFL draft. The loss of four starters will severely deplete an area that was not deep to begin with. Alabama’s rushing attack in the SEC title game showed that Georgia needs more talented bodies to plug into the trenches. Garrison Smith will anchor one of the defensive end spots with the other going to Ray Drew and/or Mike Thornton. Jonathan Taylor redshirted this season and could make a big impact a nose next season.
Pros: “He has great size at this stage and looks to have a solid reach for his build. He can be a big stout presence inside though with his size and strength. When he can keep his pads down he can be tough to try and move off the ball and when he brings his hands he can make opponents have to work to keep him blocked. He is an interior space eater with marginal range, but the big man does show he will turn and run to the ball and give effort to try and get back in on the play.”-- ESPN scouting report
Cons: “He does need to be more consistent at bringing his hands and the big man needs to watch his pad level. He will need to be careful with how he adds size and could likely benefit from working his build some. He is not an overly explosive player who will give you disruptive quick penetration and you would like to see him work to get-off the ball a little quicker.” -- ESPN scouting report
Similar to/potential role: Garrison Smith. That is not to say he will contribute as early as Smith did, but Johnson is set to come in and play in the trenches. He could project as a nose as well as a defensive end considering that he is only going to get bigger.
Expected impact: 2014. Georgia is in need of defensive linemen, but with Smith, Drew, Thornton, Taylor already fighting for spots and early enrollees John Atkins and Chris Mayes going through spring practice, a redshirt year or limited playing time is likely the scenario for Johnson.