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College

    Georgia Tech jumped out to an early lead and held on against Georgia on Tuesday night at SunTrust Park, winning 8-6. The No. 11-ranked Yellow Jackets (28-13) did most of their damage in the first three innings against the No. 4-ranked Bulldogs (33-9). The teams played in front of the largest crowd to attend a college baseball game this season (18,861) in a game that benefits Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Georgia Tech was up 7-2 lead through three innings, scoring five runs in the second on the strength of Luke Wadell’s two-run double and Kyle McCann’s three-run homer. “When you get behind the eight ball like we did early, it’s tough to claw back,” UGA coach Scott Stricklin said in a school release. “We had our chances, but didn’t get it done.” The Bulldogs looked to rally with three runs in the top of the fourth inning, Aaron Schunk homering to start the frame. Georgia batted around in the lineup to draw to 7-5 before Riley King grounded out with the bases loaded to end the threat. The Yellow Jackets manufactured an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth despite not getting a hit, taking advantage of three walks and a hit batter. The Bulldogs final run came in the top of the sixth inning on a Tucker Maxwell solo home run. Schunk, Cam Shepherd and Chaney Rogers had two hits apiece as Georgia out-hit the Yellow Jackets 10-6. Pitcher Tim Elliott (5-2) took the loss, getting stunk for six earned runs in 1 1/3 innings pitched as a result of the four hits and four walks he surrendered. Georgia Tech took two of three from Georgia this season, winning 11-2 in March in Atlanta before UGA evened the series with a 12-2 win on April 9 in Athens. The Yellow Jackets are only the second team this season to take a series from the Bulldogs this season,  The SEC-leading Bulldogs (13-5 SEC) return to action at 7:30 p.m. on Friday against No. 8-ranked Mississippi State (33-9, 10-8). State beat No. 19 Ole Miss by an 8-1 count on Tuesday night. Georgia baseball notes — Schunk’s home run was his seventh this season and his second in the stadium the Atlanta Braves call home. Schunk homered in SunTrust Park last season in Georgia’s 3-1 victory. — Pitcher Logan Moody made his first appearance since throwing a career-high eight strikeouts in the 3-2 marathon win over Clemson last week. — John Cable hit his fifth home run of the season, giving UGA a 2-1 lead in the second inning.     The post Georgia baseball falls to Georgia Tech at SunTrust Park, drops rivalry series appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia freshman safety Lewis Cine had a strong start to his college career at G-Day. He led all Bulldogs with his six solo tackles. The head coach also gave him some praise in the post-game media briefing. “He’s an exciting player,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “He’s probably behind from a learning curve standpoint because we teach a lot of defense to our secondary.” Based on what he’s seen so far, Smart feels Cine can earn some playing time this fall. “He’s made some ‘Wow’ plays this spring but that doesn’t mean he is going to go out there and start,” he said. That means he is competing for playing time.” Here’s what we know about the nation’s No. 3 safety prospect from the last cycle: Cine is long and rangy and physical. He even tied for the team-high in total tackles with his eight stops on G-Day. Smart and new defensive backs coach Charlton Warren see he has an aptitude for versatility. It might even be necessary. Cine is one of only three defensive backs in the 2019 signing class for Georgia. That means what the fans saw at G-Day is what they will get. That’s at least in terms of new faces for 2019 in the secondary. That’s why Georgia is trying him in different roles. J.R. Reed is a fixture at one safety spot. Junior Richard LeCounte III and sophomore Otis Reese are also seen as the program’s other front-line safeties. Cine has the potential to add quality depth. “We’re making him play both safety spots which is probably more taxing on him but that gives us the ability to play him at either spot if anybody gets injured,” Smart added in response to a question about Cine’s progress. “He’s going to be competing with guys with playing time. I think where he is going to show up is on special teams. He is very physical. Likes contact. He is a hitter.” How many positions could Lewis Cine possibly play for Georgia this year? At least two. Maybe more. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation) As Smart noted, that was no secret to watching Cine on film. The Boston native can run that alley. The ability he showed on Saturday already makes him one of the most fundamentally sound tacklers in the Georgia secondary at this time. He goes about 6 feet, 3 inches and weighs in around 195 pounds. The fact he is being cross-trained at the free and strong safety says something about his aptitude for absorbing the defensive playbook. “He is a guy that listens more than he talks so that’s always a good thing,” Richard LeCounte III said this spring. “He learns quick. He’s also learning two positions just like me so we’re really going through the same things and we [do] walkthroughs and do drills and stuff like that I sit there and talk to him and say such-and-such and this and stuff like that.” LeCounte added this: When Cine gets the mental aspects of the game dialed in, he can be an “awesome” player for Georgia. Lewis Cine has a heartfelt reason why he wears No. 16 for the Bulldogs. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation) Fans already have a reaction to Lewis Cine  His last name will phonetically rhyme with “scene.” It seems like one which fans might want to get to know. DawgNation has noticed some chatter on its forums and other social media posts have fans called him that ‘Dawg in the “Six-Cine” jersey after G-Day. That meshes with the goals Cine had for himself before he enrolled in January. “What I see of myself is I am a problem solver,” Cine said back in December. “If there is a hole in the defense, then I can come up and be the solution.” He doesn’t mind obstacles. That includes placing bigger hurdles in his own path. That’s why he was a highly-rated recruit in Massachusetts after his junior year. He was getting offers and his size, speed and length got his name out there. RELATED: The remarkable personal story for Lewis Cine Lewis Cine was rated as the nation’s No. 3 safety prospect for 2019 in the last signing class on the 247Sports Composite ratings. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation) It wasn’t enough. He transferred from the Boston Metro area to a region more known for big-time high school football. Cine moved to Texas. He found plenty of 110-degree training days playing for Trinity Christian about an hour outside of Dallas. That wasn’t enough. He was under the tutelage of a true NFL all-time great there in Deion Sanders. When it came time to make his college decision, he looked at big-time options like Florida, Michigan, Penn State and Texas. But Cine has an even better story than that. He wears No. 16 and plays safety for Georgia. That’s the same number and position that Kirby Smart once held down for the Bulldogs. But that’s not why that No. 16 he wears will be special. Not to him. Cine told DawgNation that specific story when he was a recruit. He wears No. 16 to honor his mother. She had him when she was 16 years old. Cine realizes her life was hard then. He knows she made many sacrifices back in her native Haiti. He wears No. 16 to honor her. If he makes it very big in football, his hope is to one day move her stateside to America. That is when he can see her again. Lewis Cine chose Georgia over Florida, Michigan, Penn State and Texas back in October of 2018. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation) One more thing to know about Lewis Cine Cine had an unexpected reaction to Georgia’s tough loss to Alabama in the 2018 SEC Championship game. The term “boundless optimism” applies. “The question is not ‘Can Georgia keep up and ball with Alabama?’” he wrote back in December. “Nah, that’s not it. Because no doubt in my mind we definitely can. The question is how can we chase perfection and what can make us the absolute best team we can be. To outwork yesterday and the past!” His words conveyed the stuff of a pep talk for his class. But it was one from an incoming recruit. “It is all in who believes and buys into what UGA is building,” he added. There were plenty of 2019 signees who felt the same way. “Ain’t no love lost for UGA even in a loss,” Cine stated. “I’m only ready to arrive on campus to work and be put in the right spots to help chase the goal of perfection. Then everything else will take care of itself.” The post Get to know that new safety Lewis Cine wearing No. 16 for Georgia football appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — One member of Georgia’s football recruiting office has been fired and another suspended for 30 days without pay, sources have confirmed to DawgNation. King Dacia King, who is listed as the Bulldogs’ recruiting program coordinator on the team’s website, was dismissed. Lukman Abdulai, who is director of on-campus recruiting, has been placed on a 30-day suspension without pay. The reason for the actions and whether they are related are not known at this time. “I’m not talking about any personnel stuff,” Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity said. “Regardless of what the position is, I just don’t comment on personnel decisions or matters. Sorry.” McGarity also declined comment when asked whether violations of NCAA or SEC rules were involved. The personnel actions come on the heels of what was thought to be an exceptional recruiting weekend for the Bulldogs surrounding the annual G-Day spring game. Georgia got a commitment from 4-star offensive lineman Akinola Ogunbiyi of Sugar Land, Texas, on Saturday, and one from 4-star defensive back Jalen Kimber of Arlington two days before. Both players attended G-Day with their families. Abdulai Georgia’s 2020 recruiting class is currently ranked No. 10 in 247Sports.com’s composite team rankings. The Bulldogs have finished with national recruiting rankings of 6, 3, 1 and 2 in last four years. King was hired into her current position in May of 2018. A recruiting program coordinator typically serves as a liaison between prospective student-athletes and the Georgia coaching staff and helps plan visits and set itineraries. She holds double degrees from UGA in marketing and sport management. Abdulai has been with Georgia since 2013 but was named director of on-campus recruiting in January of 2016, shortly after Kirby Smart became head coach.  A University of Illinois graduate, Abdulai received a masters in kinesiology from UGA in 2014. DawgNation will provide more information when it comes available. The post One fired, another suspended from Georgia’s football recruiting office appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS —  What I’m writing today is going to be unpopular with most Georgia fans. I already know that. Nevertheless I believe it needs to be said. Players probably should be devalued if they choose to skip out on their team’s bowl games. I’ve already seen that the majority reaction of the Dawg Nation on social media to the criticism and predicted drop of Deandre Baker in this week’s NFL draft is to defend the Bulldogs’ talented senior cornerback. I’d expect nothing less of this fervent fan base, which is definitely one of the best in college football. Their reaction to this week’s draft news was predictable. In a conference call with reporters on Monday, ESPN draft expert Todd McShay predicted that Baker, a projected first-round pick, could fall because of decisions he’s made and how he has handled himself in pre-draft meetings with teams. Chief among those was a last-minute decision to skip the Sugar Bowl. When McShay’s thoughts were reported, some fans viewed them as character assassination. “That’s BS! … Didn’t want to risk future!” @KarenHa17217114 exclaimed. “That’s ridiculous. … Click bait!” @MelissaRabb1 echoed. “Give me a break. Dude is a stud!” @BulldawgRob said. “Why play in the bowl game when you could hurt yourself and risk your entire career?” @BenG added. I’d reply to that last one this way: If Baker does indeed drop, that’s why. As much as anything in the world, professional sports and their respective drafts are the ultimate free markets. Teams gather as much information as they possibly can, weigh them against things like cost and risk and gain and salary cap and make their calls, always with the intention of improving their teams. Sometimes it works out. Sometimes it doesn’t. As for Baker, when he stood on stage and accepted the Jim Thorpe trophy for being named the nation’s top defensive back, his stock was sky high. In the weeks that followed, there were reports that Georgia’s senior cornerback from Miami might become a Top 10 pick. Then the NFL machine started doing its digging. Before the Bulldogs even got to New Orleans to play in the Sugar Bowl, Baker reversed on his statement at the College Football Awards Show that he ended stick with his team. This came as a bit of surprise to Georgia coach Kirby Smart, who had until the week the Bulldogs got to the bowl site thought Baker was going to play right cornerback against the Texas Longhorns. “He has decided not to play in the game,” Smart said upon arrival in New Orleans. “That’s a decision that he came to … last week, somewhere around mid-week. He was very honest about it. He was very concerned about it. We at the University of Georgia support his decision. It’s a tough decision when you look at it. He was forced to make it. He probably spoke prematurely at the Thorpe Award.” That’s all well-documented and, frankly, ancient history at this point. But it’s important first note here to know exactly what McShay said when he was asked about Baker on Monday. “Really, really good football player,” McShay said. Then came a “but.” “If he falls, part of it is going to be frustration from the coaching staff about the way he finished his career,” McShay said. “In terms of not playing in the bowl game but being around and not being the best influence. That’s the best way I can put it.” “The best way I can put it,” is the most important part of that statement. It implies McShay knows more than he’s saying but chooses not expound. It’s also important to note that McShay is not the only one who cited negative feedback from NFL personnel on Baker’s pre-draft preparation and testing. So, let’s be clear: McShay has no dog in this hunt. He’s just doing the impossible job of trying to predict what’s going to happen in the NFL draft, which begins Thursday in Nashville. So he’s got no reason to value or de-value Baker. Him and Mel Kiper and guys like them simply parrot what they’ve been hearing among NFL personnel pros, and probably half of that is rhetoric. But McShay was pretty specific here when he cites “frustration from the coaching staff” and “not being the best influence.” And it meshes with what I heard while in New Orleans, and since then. Obviously he’s spoken with Georgia coaches. What is undeniable about Baker is his talent. He didn’t test well at the NFL Combine, but he did great at UGA’s Pro Day. After running a 4.52 40 in Indianapolis, he ran the 4.4 so coveted by NFL execs before 30-something scouts inside Georgia’s Payne Indoor Athletic Facility in Center in March. And then there’s always what Baker did on the field. Famously, he did not give up a touchdown pass his final two seasons with the Bulldogs. We’ll never know whether that streak would’ve been broken against Texas in the Sugar Bowl. Maybe that’s another reason he didn’t want to play. But facts are facts and stats are stats and there’s no quibbling about that. If Baker does drop, I’d wouldn’t expect it to be too far. Last time I checked, the NFL still covets corners that thrive in one-on-one coverage. But then there’s also this: Football is the ultimate team sport. All of us can recite the adage about chains never being stronger than their weakest links. That probably goes double in football. It takes the best player playing his best at every position to compete at the highest level. And while the Sugar Bowl might not be the College Football Playoff, it’s also not the Alamo Bowl. There’s no question Baker’s absence in that game severely handicapped the Bulldogs. I get the whole argument about college football’s free labor system and players risking their NFL futures. But injury risk happens every week during the season. A player is no more at risk at a bowl game than he is any other week of the year. The real examples of a potential high-draft pick being injured in a bowl are actually very few and far between. Baker was not alone in his decision. At last count, somewhere around 20 players chose to skip their teams’ bowl games due to the risk of potential injury to their bowl stock. The irony is, the choice not to play in a bowl could actually negatively impact some of these players’ stock, Baker’s included. But that’s only fair in a free market economy. The post Ironic that skipping bowls could lower stock of NFL draft prospects like Georgia’s Deandre Baker appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — “Havoc,” as it pertains to the defensive goal of creating disruptive plays, is a word used every day in Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall and on the practice fields. We just didn’t see much of it on Saturday in the G-Day Game, and coach Kirby Smart explained there’s a good reason why. “We’re not doing as much today,” Smart told the SEC Network, “because we don’t want to put everything out there on tape.” Havoc, in football terminology, refers to the percentage of plays that a defense causes sacks, pass break-ups, interceptions or forced fumbles. Smart made it a point of emphasis this spring after taking a more conservative approach last season that led UGA to ranking near the bottom of the league in a couple of Havoc categories: • Tackles for loss — Last in the SEC • Interceptions — 10th in the SEC • Pass breakups — 3rd in the SEC • Forced fumbles — first in the SEC While Smart turned his outside linebackers loose in the first two scrimmages and practices, enabling outside linebacker newcomers Nolan Smith and Jermaine Johnson to quickly standout, he kept G-Day vanilla. There were still 10 pass break-ups, 9 tackles-for-loss, 7 sacks, and 2 interceptions. It’s a good indicator the players are completely bought in to the more aggressive mindset, even with Smart wanting to keep the game friendly to the offenses and newcomers. “We want to find out what the players can execute, so (havoc) is   not the purpose of a spring game, to go throw everything at the kids,” Smart said. “We want to let, especially,   the guys who don’t have game experience, execute the call and find out what they can do. “So there was not a lot of opportunity for havoc.” Smart said the defense only brought “one 5-man pressure,” and one blitz. But the trend will change once fall practice begins and into the season, because Smart has the personnel to execute a more aggressive and still have confidence it won’t lead to an unacceptable number of big plays. “Our kids enjoy rushing the passer and can create havoc,” Smart said. “Our offense sees a lot of that, so it helps them to see that (in practice). “We’ll continue to work on havoc, and it will be a big word for us all year.” Georgia football DawgNation G-Day Game Sony Michel, Nick Chubb and Isaiah Wynn support G-Day with attendance https://dawgs.us/2Uyd6orZamir White status updated by Kirby Smart Ben Cleveland looked 100 percent in G-Day Game “Wow” plays abound in G-Day Game, video highlights package WATCH: Brian Herrien looks strong in G-Day Game WATCH: Matt Landers discusses his G-Day performance Kirby comments on freshmen LBS Nakobe Dean, Nolan Smith WATCH: Georgia G-Day Game beat writers breakdown WATCH: Kirby Smart shares thoughts on G-Day Game     The post Kirby Smart reveals new Georgia havoc-inducing schemes hidden at G-Day appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia football is the No. 1 topic every day on DawgNation Daily — the daily podcast for Georgia Bulldogs fans. Catch up on everything happening with UGA athletics with host Brandon Adams and the DawgNation experts as they break down the latest Georgia football recruiting news and discuss coach Kirby Smart’s quest to return the Bulldogs to the top of the SEC. On episode No. 930 (April 22, 2019) of the podcast, Georgia fans can hear a discussion about more jabs at UGA from Florida coach Dan Mullen. Georgia football podcast: Dan Mullen takes jab at UGA again Beginning of the show: Florida coach Dan Mullen was back to mocking Georgia again Monday night. I’ll discuss on today’s show why Mullen’s act might soon wear thin with his fans. 10-minute mark: I share audio of UGA coach Kirby Smart discussing quarterbacks Stetson Bennett and D’wan Mathis’ G-Day performances. 15-minute mark: DawgNation’s recruiting insider Jeff Sentell joins the show. Some of the topics covered include… The latest on 5-star running back Kendall Milton The reasons why 4-star UGA commit Akinola Ogunbiyi thinks Milton and a few other top recruits will soon join him in the Bulldogs’ class More discussion about a huge slate of visitors on hand for G-Day And reaction to the early enrollees that made strong impressions during their UGA debuts in the G-Day Game 35-minute mark: I take a look at other SEC headlines including an update on Alabama coach Nick Saban’s hip surgery and some growing optimism for Auburn. 40-minute mark: The SEC Network’s Matt Stewart joins the show to discuss the Diamond Dawgs’ series win vs. Missouri and Tuesday night game vs. Georgia Tech at SunTrust Park. End of show: I share the Gator Hater Updater. The post Georgia football podcast: Dan Mullen takes jab at UGA again appeared first on DawgNation.
  • DawgNation will offer this report after every game which focuses on the freshmen who played, what they did and who lost one of those newly-reshaped (four games or less) redshirts.  Check out this Georgia football edition after the G-Day game from Saturday.  DawgNation offered up a “Freshman Report” after every game last season. It made sense after seven recruits with a 5-star rating signed in 2018. It meant the Bulldogs snapped an Alabama-sized chokehold on the nation’s mythical recruiting championship per the 247Sports Team Composite ratings. That’s why the DawgNation freshman report came about that season. To place a good zoom lens on the contributions of all those highly-touted prospects. When the Crimson Tide then beat UGA by a touchdown in the 2018 SEC Championship game, a member of the Bulldogs walked by a live microphone. They added a statement to an Adam Anderson interview session with a couple of members of the press. “Tell them we aren’t going anywhere, Adam,” that’s what the UGA team member said. That is also likely why the DawgNation freshman report isn’t going anywhere this season. The Bulldogs signed the nation’s No. 2 recruiting class for 2019. It will be another year for more of the same. Just with a slight tweak for G-Day. Let’s just call it the “Early Enrollee” report. That’s because the program will still welcome another 10 freshmen Bulldogs when the entire team comes together in late May and early June. Jermaine Johnson -UGA football-Georgia football” width=”5017″ height=”3345″ /> That’s midyear junior college enrollee Jermaine Johnson (11) and freshman Nolan Smith (4) entering the game for Georgia. When that happens going forward, look for that “havoc” rate to head north. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation) G-Day early enrollee focus Georgia played 11 of its 14 midyears at G-Day. The following freshmen signees are still recovering from injury: ILB Rian Davis, TE Ryland Goede and ILB Trezmen Marshall. Yet they all did dress out and go through some part of the pre-game warmup. The 2019 Bulldogs will also have four junior college signees in this midyear pool as well. That’s the most of the Kirby Smart era by far. It meant there were really only seven true freshmen on the field for G-Day. Those JUCO Bulldogs were: QB Stetson Bennett IV, CB D.J. Daniel, OLB Jermaine Johnson and DL Tramel Walthour. So those new freshmen Bulldogs who saw G-Day action were: OLB Nolan Smith ILB Nakobe Dean OG Clay Webb CB Tyrique Stevenson S Lewis Cine OL Warren McClendon Jr. QB D’Wan Mathis MIDYEAR G-DAY STARTERS  What’s more important? Snaps or starts? Both are important, but there is a reason why certain players start the game and stay on the field for the biggest plays. That’s because the coaches trust them to play winning football based on what they have seen on the practice field. Here are the midyears who started on G-Day: QB Stetson Bennett IV (Black team and No. 2 offense) Tyrique Stevenson (Red team and No. 2 defense) Lewis Cine (Red team and No. 2 defense) THE BIG PICTURE, PART I Tyrique Stevenson saw a lot of action at G-Day for the Bulldogs. He started for the Bulldogs on the No. 2 defense and came away with five total tackles. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)   This blog “starts fast” with a quick IV of info: Does elite recruiting matter? What about stars and rankings? Let’s look at the midyear Bulldogs and the G-Day numbers they left on the stat sheet after their play on Saturday. 5-star OLB Nolan Smith: Finished with two tackles. His head-to-head battles with Andrew Thomas and Isaiah Wilson bode well for his future potential at Georgia. 5-star ILB Nakobe Dean: Finished with five tackles for the black team. When taken into the context that he’s had just 14 practices at the college level, he already has an advanced understanding of the game. 5-star OL Clay Webb: Saw action with the No. 2 offensive line at G-Day. 4-star CB Tyrique Stevenson: He was rated as a 5-star by 247Sports and showed it on Saturday. The Miami native finished with five tackles and at least one pass breakup. 4-star S Lewis Cine: Led all Bulldogs with his six solo tackles. Already appears to be one of the most fundamental tacklers on the UGA team. 4-star QB: D’Wan Mathis: The freshman from Michigan didn’t look too far downfield, but finished with a 15-for-28 passing line for 113 yards. He did not throw a touchdown but did give an interception back to the red team. 4-star CB DJ Daniel: He ended the game by breaking up a last-gasp throw by the black team to Matt Landers. The Griffin native came to UGA after two seasons at Georgia Military College. He did not record a tackle. 4-star OLB Jermaine Johnson: Saw action mixed in with the No. 2 defense at G-Day. The talented junior college midyear enrollee did not record a tackle in the final stats. 4-star OL Warren McClendon Jr.: Saw action with the No. 2 offense at OT. 3-star QB Stetson Bennett IV: 12-of-23 for 210 passing yards and a touchdown. He was the only one of Georgia’s three scholarship quarterbacks who did not throw an interception. 3-star DT Tramel Walthour: Saw action with the No. 2 defense on the black team. The junior college signee from Liberty County did not record a tackle. A big difference for Bennett compared to 2018  It looked like Stetson Bennett finally got to show the Sanford Stadium crowd what he could do at G-Day this time. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation) Did you see the reps that Stetson Bennett IV took for both teams? It was quite the contrast to what showed last spring at G-Day. Or maybe allowed to show is a better way to put that. Bennett looked like he wasn’t going to get a chance to compete for the job in 2018. He threw only nine passes, completed five and tallied up 73 passing yards. In comparison, Justin Fields had 33 attempts last spring. “It feels a lot better,” Bennett said. “I’m not going to transfer this summer. So. … Not going to show up in the portal. So that’s different. It was better. Got more reps this spring. Played better. My team won because I flip-flopped to both and was there at the very end.” This year Bennett showed a live arm and strong accuracy on a lot of his throws. He was able to climb up in the pocket to find one of those “Mailman” delivery windows for a long explosive play downfield to Matt Landers. “Throwing good balls,” he said. “Just trying to put the balls in the playmaker’s hands. That’s really my only job. Not to do too much. I just try to get it in our fast guy’s hands and let them score for us.” FRESHMEN HEAT CHECK Nolan Smith was working against one of the best offensive tackles in the nation in junior Andrew Thomas at his first G-Day. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation) Let’s continue the blog with an assessment of the most valuable freshmen and redshirt freshmen to the team for the 2019 season. That’s what we did with a weekly “heat check” to see which ones of the youngest members of the team are playing well. These are the guys where the new redshirt rules will not apply. Especially given their ability to already help out on special teams. To be fair, we won’t lump in any of the May or June enrollees into the equation. If so, then the names of Dominick Blaylock, George Pickens and Travon Walker might also make this chart. No. 1: OLB Nolan Smith (former 5-star recruit): The more we see, the more it is clear that Smith can already help Georgia in 2019. Especially by bringing pressure off the edge on third downs. No. 2: ILB   Nakobe Dean  (former 5-star recruit): A lot of the same applies here to Dean. The Bulldogs do have good depth at both ILB and OLB, but it might not be enough to keep Dean from getting some first-string reps early this fall. No. 3: S Lewis Cine (former 4-star recruit): Cine showed good range, fundamental tackling ability and size and length all throughout spring. He led the Bulldogs in solo tackles and tied for the team-lead with his eight total tackles at G-Day. No. 4: CB Tyrique Stevenson (former 5-star recruit): Stevenson had a few good battles with junior WR Trey Blount at G-Day. He has a very bright future given his size and skill set and overall ball skills and tenacity. THE BIG PICTURE, PART II D’Wan Mathis had the type of G-Day we all would expect out of a talented first-year QB in the SEC. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation) The big takeaway on D’Wan Mathis: As expected, it was a go play, go learn, makes mistakes and get better kind of day for Mathis. He provided the biggest highlight of the game with his 39-yard catch off a double reverse pass. Yet he also showed he was still learning by taking five sacks. To his credit, he is a fast young man. He was able to offset those negative plays by taking off with his legs for 29 yards. Mathis first entered the game when: He saw his first action with 6:26 left in the second quarter. That was the second drive of the game for the Black team. Subtle Mathis stat of the game: He only averaged 4.07 yards per pass attempt. The top performers for that category from the SEC recorded a mean average of at least 8.00 yards per attempt in 2018. Did you notice this: Mathis brings a speed element to his game. That is clear. When he wasn’t playing, he kept warm by working on an exercise bike and sprinting up and back behind the benches on the Black team sideline. It was uncommon to see that from a backup quarterback in a game setting. THE BIG PICTURE, PART III Junior cornerback DJ Daniel made a big play to end the game that made sure the guys in Red ate steak and lobster after G-Day. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation) Position breakdown for the early enrollees who saw action on G-Day DB: 3   OLB: 2 OL: 2 QB: 2 DL: 1 ILB: 1 Position breakdown for the true freshmen who saw action on G-Day DB: 2 OLB: 1 OL: 2 QB: 1 ILB: 1 THE BIG PICTURE, PART IV 5-star DT Travon Walker had his game face on Saturday for G-Day. He was clearly watching and taking notes on everything he saw. This is a very invested future Bulldog. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation) To this point, we’ve covered who was in action at G-Day on Saturday, but what roster help is still on the way for the 2019 season. The remainder on the 2019 class was also at G-Day. Those future Bulldogs were even recognized at halftime of G-Day, including the preferred walk-ons. There were quite a few of those guys. Here are the top three areas where those guys can not only provide depth but play right away. Defensive line: 4 incoming freshmen signees Wide receiver: 1 incoming grad transfer, 3 incoming signees Tight end: 1 incoming grad transfer, 1 incoming freshman signee Zion Logue – Tymon Mitchell– Bill Norton-Georgia football-UGA football” width=”2628″ height=”1752″ /> Incoming Bulldogs Bill Norton (left), Zion Logue (center) and Tymon Mitchell (right) all hung tight together on G-Day. Those guys have grown to become fast friends all coming to Georgia from the state of Tennessee in the 2020 class. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation) Those future Bulldogs on the way are: 4-star WR Dominick Blaylock Miami graduate transfer WR Lawrence Cager 4-star DL Zion Logue 4-star RB Kenny McIntosh 4-star DT Tymon Mitchell 4-star DL Bill Norton 5-star WR George Pickens 3-star TE Brett Seither 4-star WR Makiya Tongue 4-star OT Xavier Truss 5-star DL Travon Walker Tennessee graduate transfer TE Eli Wolf THEY SAID IT….. 5-star OL Clay Webb has a bright future at both offensive guard and center in Athens. He actually has the feet to replicate some of Isaiah Wynn’s game at tackle. That was actually his second-best position coming out of Oxford High School in Alabama. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation) Ben Cleveland on Clay Webb so far: “I think Clay Webb [can help] Georgia. He’s like, what, some kind of 4-time state champion wrestler or something like that? I think he’s going to be able to help us out on the O-line. He knows all about leverage and angles and stuff.” (Editor’s note: Webb was a part of three state championships in high school. He won two team titles and one individual title in the 285-pound weight class.) “I thought once he gets his big knowledge of the game down, he’s going to be a big asset for us.” Does Webb remind Cleveland of anyone?: “When I see Clay walking around, I see myself as a freshman walking around on campus. You know, but it all comes with age.” Ben Cleveland on Nolan Smith so far: “I think Nolan Smith. He’s really good. He’s shown me a lot so far and I think he can help us. … He cares about the game. I feel like he cares about the team. He gives us what he has got every day. Looks to me like a great football player and a great kid.”  Richard LeCounte III on Nolan Smith so far: “I’ve also seen Nolan Smith play some ball [this spring] I always knew he could do it. I grew up watching him like my little brother. Now, when he came out here all he did was put that athleticism and size out onto the field.” Richard LeCounte III on Nakobe Dean and Nolan Smith: “Nakobe Dean is also a guy that always has been working hard and stuff like that. I see those guys bring enthusiasm every day. That’s something we count on here. Smart. Can pick up the playbook fast. Much faster than I did when I first got here. So I’m really proud of those guys. … They understand that we need them and they take their jobs very seriously. I really appreciate it and respect that.” Matt Landers on Lewis Cine: “He’s good at attacking the ball. He’s not scared of contact. He is smart and so he learns things fast.”         The post Early enrollee report on Georgia football: Red 22, Black 17 appeared first on DawgNation.
  • With G-Day concluding things on Saturday, Georgia’s spring practices are officially in the book. And the Georgia coaching staff has handed out some awards for some of the top performers during the spring football period. The awards given out recognize improvement, dedication and performance on the field.  The Coffee County Hustle Award is given each year to players showing the most desire during spring drills. The defensive winners for the Coffee County Hustle award are junior defensive back Mark Webb and redshirt freshman outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari. On the offensive side of the ball, junior guardSolomon Kindley and junior wide receiver Jeremiah Holloman took home the honors. Related:  Azeez Ojulari continues to standout in loaded outside linebacker group Georgia coach Kirby Smart praised Ojulari’s effort multiple times this spring. The outside linebacker missed most of last season with a knee injury but seemed to make serious improvements starting in the bowl game. “I think he’s transitioned really smooth,” Georgia football coach Kirby Smart said. “I think the bowl practices for he and Divaad (Wilson) and some of those younger players has almost made them like an experienced vet because they got all that work and they were able to go play the whole game like a starter. That helped his confidence now.” Webb saw work at the star position this spring and figures to be one of the many talented defensive backs that Georgia can use come this fall. Related: The five big winners from Georgia football spring practice Holloman is expected to be the leader of the wide receiver core this spring following the departures of Riley Ridley, Mecole Hardman and Terry Godwin. Holloman had 3 catches for 54 yards in the G-Day game as well as a touchdown catch. Kindley meanwhile is even further entrenched as the team’s starting left guard. Kindley has been a key figure on Georgia’s offensive line in each of the past two seasons. Georgia also named wide receiver Willie Erdman, running back KJ McCoy, defensive back Jordon McKinney and kicker Brooks Buce as the most outstanding walk-ons. The Bulldogs will return to the field on Aug. 31 when the Bulldogs visit Vanderbilt to open the 2019 season. Best Georgia football stories from around DawgNation WATCH: G-Day, spring ball show Ben Cleveland is back to full strength for the Bulldogs Despite not playing in G-Day, Demetris Robertson and Zamir White still show progress Kirby Smart weighs in on unsettled, competitive Georgia offensive line 5-star RB Kendall Milton and his father break down an ‘amazing’ visit to UGA Georgia coach Kirby Smart updates status of running back Zamir White Georgia football podcast: UGA fans shouldn’t read too much into Jake Fromm’s G-Day performance WATCH: Role on team remains undefined, but QB Stetson Bennett in it for long haul Bulldogs The post Georgia football names spring football award winners appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — One of the best looks for Georgia football at Saturday’s G-Day Game was on the sideline, where blossoming NFL stars Sony Michel and Nick Chubb took in the spring scrimmage. Chubb and Michel, the program’s No. 2 and No. 3 all-time rushers, respectively, didn’t seem bothered by rain, wind and 40-something degree temperatures — and the SEC Network took note. It’s likely several of the recruits on hands noticed the NFL running backs, too. “The fact they come back, let’s be real, the weather ain’t great,” SEC Network analyst and College Football Haller Matt Stinchcomb said. “When former players stay plugged into their former programs, it speaks to a number of things. “One is their experience as student athletes, the other is the investment they feel they’ve made to the program, and the mutual admiration from the program standpoint and the players standpoint,” Stinchcomb said. “The fact the most prolific   rushing duo in college football history is on the sidelines means something.” Michel and Chubb said as much during their SEC Network interview. Both of the NFL stars talked about the attachment they felt to the Sanford Stadium environment and Georgia football fans. “There’s no better feeling than coming Between the Hedges, it’s just like home,” said Michel, who won a Super Bowl his rookie season in New England. “Greatest fans in college football are here, and we can still feel their energy.” Chubb, an emerging player with the suddenly relevant Cleveland Browns, agreed. “It’s always great to come back” Chubb said. “We were talking about it earlier, it’s nothing like the NFL. “The atmosphere in the stadium, it’s a different feeling very unique.” Indeed, and the mere presence of former greats like Michel, Chubb and Stinchcomb attested to that. Georgia football DawgNation G-Day Game Zamir White status updated by Kirby Smart Ben Cleveland looked 100 percent in G-Day Game “Wow” plays abound in G-Day Game, video highlights package Kirby comments on freshmen phenom linebackers Nakobe Dean, Nolan Smith WATCH: Brian Herrien looks strong in G-Day Game WATCH: Matt Landers discusses his G-Day performance WATCH: Georgia G-Day Game beat writers breakdown WATCH: Kirby Smart shares thoughts on G-Day Game Demetris Robertson illness revealed by Kirby Smart   Stock report from Georgia G-Day Game Instant analysis of Georgia football G-Day Game Georgia G-Day Game football report card The post Georgia football program ‘just like home’ to NFL stars Sony Michel, Nick Chubb appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Being a midweek starter on a college baseball team can be a ho-hum job. Typically it means you’re not a good enough of a pitcher to be included in the weekend rotation. Then there’s Georgia’s Tim Elliott. Not only has he offered up good enough stuff to be considered a Friday night starter at a lot of places, but he has been putting up otherworldly numbers against mostly Top 25 opponents. Elliott will get a chance to do that yet again tonight as the No. 4-ranked Bulldogs (33-8) take on No. 11 Georgia Tech (27-13) in their annual game at SunTrust benefiting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. More than 20,000 tickets already have been sold for what we stand as the rubber game in this year’s three-game series. Elliott got his first career win at SunTrust pitching in relief against the Yellow Jackets as a freshman in 2017. “It’s huge,” said Elliott, who was also Georgia’s starter in its two previous games against Tech this year. “Not only are they a ranked team, but they’re our rivals. ‘Squash the bugs’ is our thing. We’ve beaten them the last two years, so getting this series win again is going to be huge.” Elliott’s confidence is well earned. The junior right-hander has been a midweek force on the mound for the Bulldogs this season. He enters tonight’s game 5-1 with 1.52 ERA). It will be his third start against Tech this season. He is 1-0 with a 2.38 ERA against the Yellow Jackets this year. In 11.1 innings he has allowed 3 earned runs on 7 hits with 13 strikeouts and 5 walks. Tech will counter with freshman right-hander Cort Roedig (1-1, 4.05 ERA), who will be making his fifth start of the year. Elliott’s work has helped make Georgia’s pitching staff the best in college baseball this year. The Bulldogs lead the NCAA  in earned-run average (2.57), fewest hits allowed per nine innings  (5.70) and walks and hits per 9 innings pitched, or WHIP, (1.04). Opponents are batting only .182 against the Bulldogs, who also sport a .982 fielding percentage (3rd nationally). Georgia’s record for lowest ERA in a season is 2.97 by the 1958 club and the next best is 3.26 by the 1967 squad. The Bulldogs also have been getting some timely hitting. They’re batting .266 with a .376 on base percentage. But it’s pitching that has put Georgia in the national championship picture this season. “I had a coach after our weekend series was over say to me, ‘you know, you’re pitching is relentless.’ That’s the word he used,” Georgia coach Scott Stricklin said. “We’re able to bring out one guy after the next without much dropoff. Every starter we have is low- to mid-90s and we have guys coming out of the pen throwing 98 miles an hour. Just every single guy that’s going to the mound has plus-plus stuff, and that’s exhausting to other teams, to other hitters. We just keep coming at you.” Elliott, a 6-1 junior out of Loganville, very much wanted to be part of the Bulldogs’ rotation. He was barely edged out for that duty coming into this season. But it’s hard to argue with results as Emerson Hancock (7-2, 1.04 ERA), Tony Locey (7-0, 2.04) and C.J. Smith (3-2, 3.05) all have been not just effective, but dominating. Behind them all has been a hard-throwing bullpen featuring Aaron Schunk (11 saves, 1-1, 2.14), Zac Kristofak (5 saves, 3-0, 3.86) and Cole Wilcox (1-0, 1.50 WHIP). Elliott has come to grips with his role and embraced it. “Of course I wanted to be a weekend starter,” he said. “I thought I deserved it; we all do. We all compete, but we all love each other. Once I got (the midweek) spot, I was like, ‘you know, I’m going to be the best weekday starter out there. I’m going to prove I deserve to be there.’ Next thing you know we’re facing Top 25 teams every week and it worked out well.” It has. And the Bulldogs hope to use that to their advantage again tonight. Technically, the non-conference game is not going to affect Georgia’s national profile. There’s cause to overlook this game and focus on what’s about to transpire this coming weekend at Mississippi State. But that won’t happen. “It’s the biggest game of the year,” Stricklin said. “It’s for bragging rights in the state, it’s our rival, it’s at SunTrust Park, it’s tied 1-to-1, everything’s on the line. So, for us, it’s the biggest game of the year.” The post Diamond Dawgs look to ‘squash the bugs’ in ‘biggest game of year’ tonight at SunTrust appeared first on DawgNation.