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Early enrollee report on Georgia football: Red 22, Black 17

Early enrollee report on Georgia football: Red 22, Black 17

Early enrollee report on Georgia football: Red 22, Black 17

Early enrollee report on Georgia football: Red 22, Black 17

Nakobe Dean-Jermaine Johnson-UGA football-Georgia football

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.

Nolan Smith-
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:


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)


Tyrique Stevenson-UGA football-Georgia football
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 

Stetson Bennett IV-UGA football-Georgia football
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.”


Nolan Smith-Georgia football-UGA football
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.


D'Wan Mathis-UGA football-Georgia football
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.


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


Travon Walker-UGA football-Georgia football
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 MitchellBill 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


Clay Webb-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting
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.

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  • Kirby Smart has built the Georgia football program under the culture of competition. That is a notion that the family of 5-star QB commit Brock Vandagriff is firmly behind. Sign the best. Let the practice field sharpen everyone. The ones that perform the best will take the field first. When DawgNation spoke to Brock's father, Greg, in the wake of the JT Daniels news cycle that dominated all Georgia football narratives on Thursday, that family's reaction was clear. 'It is not that you value competition but you embrace competition,' Greg Vandagriff told DawgNation. 'If you are an athlete and you want to be a starter, you have to compete. When you choose a university you choose everything that goes along with that university. From transfer players to players that are already there to changing coaches, you just embrace it. You compete and go out there and do the best you can.' Greg Vandagriff certainly understands. He's a high school football coach at Prince Avenue Christian. Vandagriff has started for him for the last two seasons. That's a football coach's view on the matter. Vandagriff, a sharp defensive mind that has worked the well-known national clinic circuit for years, has spent 30 years on the sidelines. His finalists were all schools that are used to having two or three 'Vandagriff' level talents at the quarterback position. When he backed away from the best fit for his talents at Oklahoma in order to prioritize family and being closer to home, the other suitors along with Georgia all have established quarterbacks in place who project to be multi-year starters at his position. 'It wasn't like we were trying to go to Southeast Missouri or UTEP,' Greg Vandagriff said. 'We were choosing among the best programs in the country and you are going to play against the best. That's just part of it.' The Vandagriffs were not surprised by the Daniels to UGA news that popped up on Thursday morning. They were made aware of it before the story went viral. 'It is funny how life prepares you for situations,' Greg Vandagriff said. 'The Oklahoma thing and de-committing and all that where one fan base and one fan base hates you and they call you everything in the world. So he went through it before and he turned his phone off. He knew what was about to happen with all of that.' 'He just went about his work.' Georgia is still the best situation for Vandagriff and his family. They want to be able to watch him play college football without significant travel hardship for their extended family and to be able to do it for a championship-level program. Did you know the weekly DawgNation.com 'Before the Hedges' program is now available as an Apple podcast? Click to check it out and download. Brock Vandagriff: Heading into his senior season Brock is in good shape heading into his senior year. He's been able to get in some early morning workouts on a routine. 'We really haven't missed a beat,' Greg Vandagriff said. Check out this new feature from HUDL below. It allowed the head coach of a prospect to break down and critically analyze a few plum plays from his junior highlight tape. Vandagriff has always schooled his son in the way a defensive coordinator will try to think. He was told that was the first time HUDL had ever done that with a quarterback. 'They said they were going to pick out seven or eight clips and they just wanted me to tell them what was happening on those clips,' Greg Vandagriff said. 'I thought it was neat and those guys did a good job of portraying Brock in a positive. It is just another piece of the puzzle and part of the process we are going through.' Vandagriff said he would mirror what he would say to his son in the film room on those clips. 'It is very similar,' he said. 'He knows. It was funny that Ron Veal and I were talking just yesterday. Man, he knows the system so well. He knows what I am about to say and what the reads are. He was so much better in year two than year one in our system. I can't even imagine what year three will be like in our system to be very honest. It is not like it is easy, it is very complex.' He said that his son is now at the 6-foot-3 mark in height and will weigh approximately 208 pounds. Brock Vandagriff is a physically put together athlete who ranks as the nation's No. 2 dual-threat QB and No. 12 overall prospect on the 247Sports Composite ratings. 'Physically he is 12 to 15 pounds heavier than he was last year at this time,' he said. Most might not know this timeline around Vandagriff's junior year. Check out this timeline his father detailed: He came down with mono right around July 4th and dropped 17 pounds Vandagriff would leave his bed to do team 7-on-7s and then go home and back to sleep He did that for July and got cleared for contact in early August He broke his leg early in his junior year and missed four weeks. 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Carrollton staff shares the goods on the new Bulldog commit BREAKING: Chaz Chambliss commits to Georgia football Taking a deep dive at how well Georgia has been recruiting Metro Atlanta of late Elite 2022 defensive athlete Daniel Martin already has a 'family' feel at UGA Brock Bowers: Nation's No. 3 TE knows what he needs to do before his college decision De'Jahn Warren: The 'nugget' for the nation's No. 1 JUCO prospect with UGA Decrypting that recent tweet from 5-star LB Smael Mondon Jr. Prince Kollie: The ILB target who had 1,085 yards as a receiver in 2019 Lovasea Carroll: DawgNation goes one-on-one with the 2021 RB commit The post Brock Vandagriff: How does that family feel about the addition of JT Daniels? appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia added another high-profile quarterback to its roster on Thursday in the form of JT Daniels. Daniels was a former 5-star quarterback in 2018 recruiting cycle, ranked only behind Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields. He was a 5-star prospect and the No. 15 overall prospect in the cycle. He started 11 games as a freshman at USC, tossing 14 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. He then suffered a torn ACL and meniscus in the first game of the 2019 season. Daniels then entered the transfer portal in April. What makes the addition of Daniels so interesting is that Georgia has already brought in a transfer quarterback this offseason in Jamie Newman. Georgia landed his services in January and he had been going through workouts with the team prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. Related: The one big question that looms over JT Daniels and the Georgia quarterback position for 2020 But while Newman is immediately eligible for this upcoming season, it is not yet known if Daniels will be granted eligibility. He will apply for a waiver to do so, but it's unknown if the NCAA will grant him one. If Daniels does get the waiver, he will likely compete with Newman for the starting job for the 2020 season. If he is not, it pushes the discussion around Daniels back to the 2021 season, where he will compete with the likes of D'Wan Mathis, Carson Beck and incoming 5-star prospect Brock Vandagriff. In this week's edition of Cover 4 Live, the DawgNation team talks all about the Daniels addition and what it means for the future of the Georgia offense, Newman, Vandagriff and everything in between. DawgNation's Brandon Adams, Jeff Sentell, Mike Griffith and Connor Riley discuss the latest news and talking points surrounding Georgia football every Thursday at 3 p.m. on the DawgNation Facebook and Youtube channels. More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation WATCH: QB transfer JT Daniels accurate, cerebral,' per USC beat writer Ryan Young Kirby Smart: Georgia football workouts new normal completely different' than pre-COVID19 Social media split on reaction to Georgia football landing JT Daniels Making a case for why these 2019 signees will or won't breakout this fall The Georgia football freshmen that are most physically ready to contribute early BREAKING: Georgia football adds an anchor 2022 commit in CB Marquis Groves-Killebrew Georgia football podcast: An open letter to Jake Fromm from a UGA fan The post WATCH: Breaking down the many angles of new Georgia football transfer quarterback JT Daniels appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Quarterback JT Daniels has what it takes to compete and win in the SEC, according to USC beat writer Ryan Young. Young, who previously covered the Florida Gators SEC Country, followed Daniels' recruitment to the Trojans and brief career leading up to his commitment to transfer to Georgia made on Thursday. RELATED: Details emerge on JT Daniels commitment to Georgia football 'His strength is being decisive, scanning the filled quickly and making competence decisions on where he wants to go with the ball, he's not going to freeze,' Young told DawgNation during Thursday night's Special Presentation. 'I wouldn't say he has the biggest arm in the world. I would say his strength is accuracy, and spearing the ball around and making good decisions.' The question is, will Daniels be in the mix to compete for the starting job this season? Kirby Smart has said enough times over that the quarterback competition is open, even though Wake Forest graduate transfer Jamie Newman would seem to have an advantage with his experience. Young said Daniels, a former 5-star prospect and true freshman starter at USC, is fearless when it comes to competition. But when Daniels entered into the transfer portal, on April 16 as reported by Young on the Rivals.com Network, many thought it was because the one-time transfer rule was expected to be passed last week. instead, the measure was shelved, meaning Daniels will need to get the same sort of waiver for immediate eligibility that Justin Fields and Tate Martell received last season. Rivals.com beat writer Ryan Young DawgNation Georgia QB Derby Social media split reaction on JT Daniels commitment to Georgia D'Wan Mathis fully cleared for games, ready for whatever lies ahead Brandon Adams Podcast: Georgia fans should appreciate drama-free recruiting Sentell's Intel: The buzz is real with USC quarterback J.T. Daniels The post WATCH: QB transfer JT Daniels accurate, cerebral,' per USC beat writer Ryan Young appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Welcome to Good Day, UGA , your one-stop shop for Georgia footballnews and takes. Check us out every weekday morning for everything you need to know about Georgia football, recruiting, basketball and more. The biggest question regarding the addition of JT Daniels and how it affects the Georgia quarterback room Will the NCAA grant JT Daniels' immediate eligibility for the 2020 season? That's it. That's the big question for Georgia football and its recent acquisition at the quarterback position. There's more uncertainty regarding that aspect than anything pertaining to Georgia quarterback room for the coming 2020 season. More so than the health of Daniels' surgically repaired knee, how the lack of spring practice reps hurts both him and Jamie Newman and how Newman a guy many have tabbed as a first-round pick and possible Heisman Trophy contender reacts to another highly-touted quarterback entering the competition. THANK YOU USC Excited for the future #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/ewfhBG3ved JT Daniels (@jtdaniels06) May 28, 2020 And it's because trying to accurately predict how the NCAA is going to rule on Daniels' eligibility is probably a harder task than predicting when there will be a vaccine for COVID-19. Last year we saw players like Luke Ford very publicly not get granted a waiver to play as he moved closer to home. But we then saw Justin Fields and Tate Martell, two quarterbacks with a similar profile to Daniels, be granted immediate eligibility. There's never been any real consistency in recent seasons when it comes to getting a waiver. That's why so many are pushing for a one-time transfer rule, but that won't happen until at least next January. We still don't even know if Cade Mays, a former Georgia Bulldog, will be eligible for Tennessee this coming season. And on the surface, there is a much easier case to be made for Mays getting one than Daniels, with Mays being from Knoxville, Tenn., to go along with his parents' lawsuit against the University of Georgia. And Mays entered and exited the transfer portal in January and filed a waiver shortly afterward. And the NCAA has a lot more pressing matters on its plate at the moment due to COVID-19. So expecting a quick and fast decision on this might not be wise. Related: Kirby Smart: Georgia football workouts new normal completely different' than pre-COVID19 Until we know whether or not Daniels will be able to play in 2020, we won't really understand the full reasoning behind the decision to bring him in. If he's not eligible until the 2021 season, Kirby Smart's vision is a clearer picture. Newman would clearly be the presumed starter for Georgia this season and then head off to the NFL next season. Then Daniels would compete with the likes of Carson Beck, Dwan Mathis and Brock Vandagriff for the starting job in 2021, where the Bulldogs open the season against Clemson. In that scenario, Daniels could also make sure his torn ACL and meniscus have fully healed, after tearing them in the opening game of USC's 2019 season. Going almost two years without playing a competitive game might not be ideal for Daniels, but there are worse alternatives than getting a full year in a system before taking it on the road. Georgia has only taken one transfer that had to sit out since Smart took over prior to the 2016 season. That was J.R. Reed and he proved to be a very significant piece for the Bulldogs, starting in the first season he was eligible to play for Georgia as he was a starter on the 2017 team that played for a national championship. And Georgia's 2021 offense figures to have a much more experienced bunch and much fewer questions than it does entering the 2020 season. George Pickens and Dominick Blaylock will both be juniors and the likes of Kendall Milton, Broderick Jones, Darnell Washington and Jermaine Burton will be sophomores. There's a lot of perceived upside with Daniels, given his recruiting profile. He was the No. 3 ranked quarterback in the 2018 recruiting cycle, behind only Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields. And it's even more impressive considering he skipped his senior year of high school to enroll early at USC. Daniels didn't always show that same 5-star potential though once at USC. In his freshman season, he tossed 14 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. He's the only quarterback to play for USC since Clay Helton took over that didn't throw for at least 25 touchdowns and 3,000 yards. Of course, that was in Daniels' freshman and he was not the sole reason the Trojans went 5-7 in 2018. It's not fair to put all the shortcomings with USC on the shoulders of an 18-year old who was still growing as a player. And that growth is why adding him to the 2020 quarterback picture would make things incredibly murky at the most important position on the offense. Smart has already acknowledged how the lack of reps stemming from the cancellation of spring practice will hurt the quarterback position more than any other. Now if you have a more serious competition this fall between Newman and Daniels, you would be diluting those reps even further. You'll have less time to get a more accurate picture on what Newman or Daniels can do while guiding the offense. 'The more they give us time-wise the more we will be able to do,' Smart told reporters on Thursday. ' The less they give us the less we will probably be able to do, but that is not something we have decided right now.' Related: Social media split on reaction to Georgia football landing JT Daniels Adding in Daniels to the 2020 mix also sets up another situation similar to that of Justin Fields and Jake Fromm in the 2018 season. Georgia had two capable options at quarterback that year in Fromm and Fields. Fromm was the more known quality while Fields offered more upside. Smart largely stuck with Fromm, though he would insert Fields into the game at seemingly random times, including during the fourth quarter of the SEC championship game. No one was satisfied with how Smart played out the situation and he has been routinely criticized for the handling of it. Fromm regressed in his final season in Athens while Fields was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. Having two quarterbacks to choose from in Newman and Daniels could give Smart the opportunity to show he's learned from his past mistakes. Or it could allow him to make them once again. Right now, Smart doesn't have a decision to make when it comes to Daniels. There was a talented player on the market, and Smart added him to the roster. It's consistent with how he's run every other aspect of the Georgia program. That was the easy part. The hard part comes once the NCAA makes a decision on Daniels and his eligibility. It will either push the discussion about what Daniels brings to 2021 or it starts a very serious quarterback competition for Georgia in a time when practice reps are limited and crucial. More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation Kirby Smart: Georgia football workouts new normal completely different' than pre-COVID19 Making a case for why these 2019 signees will or won't breakout this fall The Georgia football freshmen that are most physically ready to contribute early BREAKING: Georgia football adds an anchor 2022 commit in CB Marquis Groves-Killebrew Georgia football podcast: An open letter to Jake Fromm from a UGA fan Georgia quarterback D'Wan Mathis fully cleared for game action after MRI Dawgs on Twitter Welcome https://t.co/RZol8xtGOO Demetris Robertson (@d_rob4) May 28, 2020 There's nothing like a Saturday Night in Athens Watch some of our favorite moments from last year's matchup against Missouri #ATD #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/SFnXK456Kd Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) May 28, 2020 GO DAWGS!! Coach Kirby Smart (@KirbySmartUGA) May 28, 2020 UGA QB, J.T. Daniels pic.twitter.com/ydSH54hvlL AxEdits #GeorgeFloyd (@DawgsEdited) May 28, 2020 Good Dawg of the Day Happy birthday to the goodest boy! #UGAX pic.twitter.com/sfXl2aLyIM Georgia Basketball (@UGABasketball) May 28, 2020 The post The one big question that looms over JT Daniels and the Georgia quarterback position for 2020 appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia redshirt freshman D'Wan Mathis has received clearance to take part in games after undergoing an MRI one year after his emergency brain surgery. A source with knowledge of the situation confirmed the positive results of the MRI on Thursday. Mathis had been cleared to go through practices since last November, and Smart said indicated he would be a full participant in spring football drills before the COVID-19 pandemic suspended all collegiate sports activity on March 12. RELATED: Mind Game, how UGA's D'Wan Mathis is overcoming brain surgery UGA does not typically tackle its quarterbacks to the ground in practices. The Bulldogs go full speed and 'thud,' players wrapped up without being taken to the ground to avoid injuries. The 6-foot-6, 205-pound Mathis was rushed to Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital last May after the UGA medical staff, led by director of sports medicine Ron Courson, diagnosed his symptoms as life threatening. 'The honest truth, waking up in a hospital bed, and seeing my parents, and seeing how my head looked and everything, man, it was humbling,' Mathis, whose skull surgery involved a metal plate secured by screws, said following the Sugar Bowl. 'I was like, wow you are so blessed, be thankful that you are still here.' Terence Mathis, D'Wan's father, stated simply that 'Georgia saved my son's life.' The comeback D'Wan was in the ICU unit for days following the surgery and lost more than 20 pounds after his skull was cut open to remove the life-threatening cyst. It took months for him to gain back his weight and strength but Mathis was determined to return to practice. By November and into the bowl season, Mathis was working out with a modified helmet and running the scout team, earning the praise and confidence of Georgia coach Kirby Smart throughout the offseason. 'D'Wan's been scout-team quarterback the last couple of weeks now and has done a tremendous job,' Smart said last November. 'He helped with the Bo Nix scout team stuff. He's able to simulate some of these guys we've played, so that has been a big bonus for us.' Smart indicated during a virtual G-Day Game telecast last month that Wake Forest graduate transfer Jamie Newman had not yet clinched the starting job. RELATED: Kirby says we don't really know what we have at QB' ' You evaluate our quarterbacks, and you look at it and you say I've got a guy who had a major surgery, I got a guy that just came out of high school, I've got a guy that's been a No. 2 last year, Stetson, and then I have a transfer from Wake that we don't know a lot about, as far as in our system,' Smart said. 'So we have a lot of unknowns at that position.' QB competition Smart's assessment of the QB competition wasn't much different on Thursday, just hours before USC transfer J.T. Daniels announced his commitment to Georgia. 'W e don't even know the threshold or the capacity of some of our players,' Smart said. 'We did not get to go through spring ball with necessarily some of the positions, especially on offense, of guys to see what they can handle.' RELATED: Smart says there's going to be a good QB competition' More than once source close to the team told DawgNation that Mathis was throwing the ball equally well if not better than Newman in the team's voluntary workouts outside of the supervised winter conditioning. Mathis ran the 100-yard dash in 10.8 seconds in high school and his running skills and athleticism were on display in the 2018 G-Day Game Mathis was 15-of-28 passing for 113 yards in the game and caught a double-reverse pass from Matt Landers for a 39-yard touchdown. D'Wan, he's explosive,' Jake Fromm said of his former understudy. 'I think he converted three or four first downs in a row with his legs. 'The guy can run the ball, he can throw it 70 yards, he's going to be a great player.' Investing in Georgia Mathis made his commitment to Georgia quarterbacking duties clear when he chose to stay in Athens after on-campus activity was suspended. Mathis applied for and was granted a special exemption. It provided insight into the trust he has built with Courson and the UGA medical staff, and his comfort in living in Athens. 'D'Wan came back on spring break and told me he loves where he is from, but that he needed to go back to Georgia,' Terence Mathis said in a March 28 interview. 'Georgia could have given up on my son, but instead, Kirby and his staff have treated D'Wan as though he was their own son. They've used every possible resource to stay behind him and keep him engaged with the team after saving his life.' But now Daniels is in play, and there are suspicious the UGA quarterback room may have reached its tipping point. If Daniels receives a waiver for immediate eligibility its hard to imagine four quarterbacks getting repetitions as Georgia competes for a national championship this season. Freshman Carson Beck is also expected to be in the mix, along with redshirt junior Stetson Bennett. Mathis was Ohio State's quarterback of choice in the 2019 signing class before Justin Fields jolted Georgia by transferring from the Bulldogs' program following his freshman season. RELATED: D'Wan Mathis shares signing day story, Ohio State denied interest in Justin Fields Mathis determined the Buckeyes were not being forthcoming in December of 2018 when they said they were not recruiting Fields, and he chose to trust in Georgia, signing and enrolling in January of 2019. It remains to be seen how Mathis' future will play out, but the Oak Park, Mich., product is once again healthy and ready to compete full-go on the football field. 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