Wednesday, May 1, 2013
By Radi Nabulsi
ATHENS, Ga. -- With the spring camp over and the spring evaluation period underway, this seems as good a time as any to reopen the DawgNation Mailbag. We missed two weeks with the release of the ESPN 150 rankings and all the fireworks last week with the commitments of Sony Michel and Jeb Blazevich so let us get back to your burning questions.
gilly5134: I know it's hard to judge but how do you think the ACL injuries will affect Michael Bennett and Tramel Terry next year? I know it takes a lot of guys a while to get that mental edge back after realizing they can break.
Radi Nabulsi: The good news is that Bennett is already running routes and accordion to Mark Richt, should return to full-contact practice when the Bulldogs open preseason camp. Mentally I am not worried about Bennett. I saw him working out on his own last year long before he was injured. He is a student of the game and of his body. Bennett knew what he needed to improve before last season and spent hours working on things like his takeoff. Terry just started running again and is supposed to be back as well. My fear for him is that he will push himself too hard, too fast. Terry is a intense competitor and Ron Courson might have to hold him back to keep him from returning too quickly.
clint_b11: Where will Shaq and Langley fit in upon arrival?
RN: There are two Shaqs this year with Shaq Wiggins and Shaq Fluker. The later is a head-hunting safety whose highlight reel should be rated R for violence. I fully expect Fluker to push for a starting job when he arrives in Athens -- especially considering how often Josh Harvey-Clemons will be used as a nickel back. As for Wiggins and Brendan Langley, those two cornerbacks will start out on the third team. Right now Georgia is looking at starting Damian Swann and Sheldon Dawson at the corners. Backing them up will be Devin Bowman and early enrollee Reggie Wilkerson. Familiarity with the system will give those two a leg up on Wiggins and Langley at first. But as preseason camp progresses, I think we will see Wiggins make a move and Langley get a chance to prove himself in the return game.
Don't fear Georgia fans: The Bulldogs are certainly in the mix for Lamont Gaillard.
cappy_88: Give me a signee or two, not already on campus, that you think will have a legitimate shot at taking a starting position in the fall.
RN: You want this list to be short as it means you have quality starters returning or second-string guys from last year stepping up and claiming a spot. I already mentioned Fluker. After that I would say the other Juco safety, Kennar Johnson, who was playing cornerback last year. Being able to both positions might increase his chance to start, just like Sanders Commings. Inside linebacker Johnny O’Neal is a punishing run-stopper who could work his way into a starting role. A.J. Turman could get a start if there are injuries to Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley. I know that seems unlikely but just think back to 2011 when three running backs were nursing injuries at the same time.
Ipope825: Any news on where Dante Sawyer might be leaning towards?
RN: I called Sawyer, the ESPN 150 defensive end, again on Tuesday night after my story ran Monday about how he is down to Alabama and Georgia. Normally I would not do that but since I had reason to think something was up and he told me to call anytime, I took him up on it.
Sawyer is close friends with Georgia signees DeVondre Seymour and Shaun McGee. Seymour played on the same team and he has known McGee since they were children. As much as Sawyer loves everything about Alabama, I think his close ties to those two and the idea of playing close to home could cause him to pick Georgia. But as of Monday, he said he was evenly split and would have his mom help him make the decision.
1that guy: What players that are in the ESPN 150 outside of those that are mentioned in your article are interested in UGA and which Georgia has interest in as well?
RN: First and foremost is defensive tackle Lamont Gaillard (Fayetteville, N.C./Pine Forest). Kipp Adams and I wrote that feature and we both took five players and we each assumed that the other was writing about Gaillard. Imagine our surprise when Georgia’s top target was not included. Aside from Gaillard, who has since named Georgia his leader, there are two others ESPN 150 prospects looking at Georgia. Quarterback David Cornwell (Norman, Okla./Norman North) flew to Georgia to catch a scrimmage during spring camp. The best pocket-passer in the nation and No. 24 overall prospect left with the Bulldogs in his top four despite not having an offer. Also, No. 43 Johnnie Dixon (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Dwyer) has said that he would like a Georgia offer. The nation’s fourth best wide receiver, Dixon goes to the same high school that Georgia quarterback Faton Bauta attended.