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Georgia football: 5 offensive players poised to break out in 2018
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Georgia football: 5 offensive players poised to break out in 2018

Georgia football: 5 offensive players poised to break out in 2018

Georgia football: 5 offensive players poised to break out in 2018

Georgia football-Riley Ridley-Isaac Nauta-breakout players

Welcome to Good Day, UGA, your one-stop shop for Georgia football news and takes. Check us out every weekday morning for everything you need to know about Georgia football, recruiting, basketball and more.

5 Bulldogs who could break out on offense

Compared to the defense, Georgia’s offense heads into the 2018 season relatively unscathed from departures.

Although the Dawgs lost Nick Chubb and Sony Michel at tailback, they should be improved at every other position on offense. And there are plenty of talented Dawgs on the verge of a breakout campaign.

Here are five Bulldogs ready to make a difference.

  • Riley Ridley, wide receiver: Ridley had a solid freshman outing in 2016, hauling in 12 catches for 238 yards and 2 touchdowns. That production dropped steeply his sophomore season with just 8 catches for 136 yards and 2 touchdowns. But in the National Championship Game, he rose to the occasion with 6 catches for 82 yards. If he can continue that connection with Jake Fromm this season, he could make a play to become UGA’s top receiver.
  • Ben Cleveland, right guard:  Cleveland beat out Solomon Kindley and was fantastic in a run of five starts at right guard to end last season. Although I think he’ll play out his UGA career at guard, he could see work at right tackle if one of the talented freshman guards steps up and the coaches believe Cleveland is a cut above Isaiah Wilson and Cade Mays, at least for now.
  • Elijah Holyfield, tailback: Holyfield has done some serious bulking up recently and appears to be in line to become Georgia’s No. 2 back behind D’Andre Swift. Based on how Georgia has used its tailbacks the past few years, that’s as good as a starting job at some schools. But he’ll have to hold off fellow junior Brian Herrien, as well as freshmen Zamir White and James Cook to hold on to the gig.
  • Isaac Nauta, tight end: In 2016, Nauta looked like a future star, hauling in 29 catches for 361 yards and 3 touchdowns. Then, Georgia decided to stop throwing to tight ends and his production dropped to 9 catches for 114 yards and 2 touchdowns. But with a greater emphasis on the passing game potentially in the cards this season, Nauta could once again take on a larger role in the offense and finally turn into the star that was expected from him last season.
  • Ahkil Crumpton, wide receiver: Crumpton had a quiet 2017 — 5 catches, 95 yards and 1 TD — but it’s difficult to expect too much from a JUCO transfer who joined the team only a few weeks before the season began. But he did use those few opportunities to prove he can be an explosive playmaker, because 78 of those yards and that TD came on the same play against Georgia Tech and he had another big play at G-Day. That’s a small sample size, but now that he has a year in the offense, I think Crumpton could be one of the most explosive players on the team, if his number is called more often.

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Diamond Dogs end regular season on high

This has been a resurgent season for Georgia baseball (37-17 overall, 18-12 SEC) and it ended with the No. 13 Diamond Dawgs beating No. 6 Arkansas two games to one in a three-game series at Foley Field. And they clinched the series in thrilling fashion, with a 3-2 win Saturday as Keegan McGovern gunned down Arkansas outfielder Dominic Fletcher at home on a potential sacrifice fly that would have tied the game.

I can’t think of few more exciting ways to head into the postseason than with a play like this.

Now the focus turns to the SEC Tournament, which commences this week in Hoover, Ala. Georgia holds the No. 3 seed and will open the tourney Wednesday, May 23 at 10:30 a.m ET against the winner of the first-round game between 11th-seeded Texas A&M and sixth-seeded Vanderbilt. The game will be shown live on SEC Network.

Georgia softball to host Tennessee in Athens Super Regional

While Georgia baseball is about to start its postseason run, Georgia softball is in the middle of a run of its own.

The Bulldogs went 3-0 in the NCAA Athens Regional over the weeken, beating Harvard once and Northwestern twice to advance to the Athens Super Regional. They’ll meet a familiar foe this weekend, with SEC East rival Tennessee coming to Athens for a best-of-three series for a place in the Women’s College World Series. The super regional starts Thursday.

Tom Crean hires 2 staff members

It was a busy weekend for Tom Crean as the new Georgia men’s basketball coach put the finishing touches to his staff by hiring his third and final assistant as well as a new support staffer.

Amir Abdur-Rahim will join Chad Dollar and Joe Scott as Crean’s assistants. Abdur-Rahim has strong ties to the state of Georgia. He’s a graduate of Wheeler High School in Marietta and also coached at Georgia Tech for a spell. He also has SEC experience, spending the last four seasons as an assistant at Texas A&M. And if his name sounds familiar, you probably know his brother, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, a former member of the Atlanta Hawks and an NBA All-Star.

“Amir has proven himself to be an outstanding basketball coach with the drive and knowledge to help develop players, game plans and overall scope of the programs he has worked in,” Crean said in a statement. “His ability to recruit is shown in his energy, dogged determination and relationship building. His knowledge of the SEC and ability to work with our big men will provide immediate help.”

Crean also added Jake Thelen to his staff as the director of basketball operations. Thelen worked for Crean at Indiana as a graduate assistant before heading back to his alma mater, Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky., as an assistant coach last season after Crean was fired by the Hoosiers.

Odds & Ends

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The post Georgia football: 5 offensive players poised to break out in 2018 appeared first on DawgNation.

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Georgia Sports News

  • ATLANTA (AP) - The Philadelphia Phillies got the ninth-inning elixir they needed after a tough outcome a night earlier. 'There's a lot that went on that could've pushed us to not give the kind of effort that we gave,' manager Gabe Kapler said. 'A really impressive, heartfelt win by our club, a cohesive team win today. It was great.' C sar Hern ndez singled in two runs off Luke Jackson in the ninth inning, and Philadelphia rallied from a one-run deficit to snap the Atlanta Braves' eight-game winning streak with a 6-5 victory on Saturday night. It was a big comeback for the Phillies, who looked poised to lose for the fifth time in six games and fall 3 games behind their rivals in the NL East race. Philadelphia has dealt with rampant injuries this season and had starters Jay Bruce and J.T. Realmuto leave during the game. Braves starter Sean Newcomb had a scary moment in the third when he was struck on the back of the head by Realmuto's ground-rule double. He walked off the field under his own power. 'Right away I felt pretty good,' Newcomb said. 'I was with it the whole time. I remember the whole play and all that kind of stuff. I knew I was pretty good as far as that went. Obviously I got squared up in the head. A little sore.' Jackson (3-2) blew his sixth save in 16 chances as Scott Kingery singled and advanced to third when the closer fielded Sean Rodr guez's sacrifice bunt and errantly threw to first. Both runners scored easily on Hern ndez's single into left. Hern ndez hit his seventh homer in the fourth to put the Phillies up 4-2. Josh Donaldson hit a three-run homer in the fifth off Phillies starter Aaron Nola to put Atlanta up 5-4. The Braves were getting big cheers from the sellout crowd of 43,593, the largest yet in three seasons at SunTrust Park, until the ninth. H ctor Neris, who took the loss on Brian McCann's two-run single Friday night, earned his 15th save in 16 chances in the bottom half of the inning, retiring Ronald Acu a Jr., Dansby Swanson and Freddie Freeman in order. 'It kind of shows you what our team is capable of doing,' Bruce said. 'We have a chance to win the series tomorrow, so it was a big win for us and good bounce-back game.' Edubray Ramos (1-0) faced four batters in the eighth to earn the victory. The Phillies scored three times to take a 3-1 lead in the third against Touki Toussaint before Atlanta made it 3-2 in the third when Acu a singled, advanced to second on right fielder Bryce Harper's fielding error and scored from third on a groundout. Nola allowed five runs, six hits, two walks and struck out four in 4 1/3 innings. He has a 7.71 ERA over his last three starts. Atlanta led 1-0 on Austin Riley's 11th homer in 29 career games in the second. TRAINER'S ROOM Phillies: Bruce said he's been dealing with left hamstring tightness for a couple of days and likely won't be in the lineup Sunday after leaving in the fourth. ... Realmuto left the game in the sixth after feeling nauseous when he was hurt in the fifth as Freeman's foul tip glanced off his glove and smacked the catcher's upper left leg. ... Oft-injured OF Roman Quinn was hit in the shoulder by a pitch in a rehab game Friday with Double-A Reading. He has discomfort finishing his swing, but Kapler said the latest ailment is not serious. KEUCHEL Braves starter Dallas Keuchel received no decision in his last minor league start, allowing three runs, 11 hits and one walk with four strikeouts in seven innings with Double-A Mississippi, and is expected to join the Atlanta rotation next week. He will likely make his 2019 debut Friday at Washington. UP NEXT Phillies: Kapler has yet to decide who will start the series finale, but RHP Cole Irvin (2-1, 5.48) is a possibility. Braves: RHP Mike Foltynewicz (1-5, 6.02 ERA) is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in his last three starts and has allowed 15 homers in nine starts, a span of 49 1/3 innings. ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • ATLANTA (AP) - Braves starter Sean Newcomb has left the game in a scary scene after being hit in the back of the head by a line drive off the bat of Philadelphia's J.T. Realmuto. Newcomb was checked by a trainer and walked off the field under his own power in Atlanta, escorted by two trainers Saturday. The ball was clocked at 102 mph and caromed off Newcomb's head and sailed into the netting behind the Phillies' dugout on the third base side. Realmuto covered his mouth with both hands as he ran to first base on what went as a ground-rule double. The play occurred in the third inning at SunTrust Park. Newcomb turned his head as the ball approached and knelt on the mound immediately after getting hit. Catcher Tyler Flowers had him stay down while a trainer and Braves manager Brian Snitker came out to tend to the left-hander. Touki Toussaint took Newcomb's spot. ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • PEARL, Miss. (AP) - Dallas Keuchel has thrown 14 innings of minor league baseball for two teams in two states over the past six days. There were a lot of good pitches and a few bad ones, but overall he's pleased with his progress since signing with the Atlanta Braves on June 7. Next stop - he hopes - is with the big club. 'Absolutely,' Keuchel said. 'I feel like I'm there.' The 31-year-old left-hander gave up three runs and 11 hits over seven innings for Double-A Mississippi of the Southern League on Saturday. He struck out four and walked one, throwing 106 pitches, including 74 strikes. It wasn't all pretty, but Keuchel said the outing was just what he needed to get ready for his return to the big leagues. He hasn't pitched in the majors since 2018, when he had a 12-11 record and a 3.74 ERA with the Houston Astros. 'They put some balls in play on the ground, a couple in the air, a couple hard-hit balls. Almost like a regular game,' Keuchel said. 'So that was nice to see from my end for work purposes. Just trying to continue the process of making as many pitches as possible.' The 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner signed a one-year deal that pays him $13 million. The Braves hope he can help solidify a starting rotation that's relying on several young arms. Keuchel said after the outing he felt good physically and would have a discussion with the Braves' front office and trainers to see if his next outing would be in the majors or with another minor league affiliate. 'I'm not going to jeopardize myself, first of all, because if I jeopardize myself I'm going to jeopardize the big-league team and that's not what I'm trying to do,' Keuchel said. 'I'm trying to help the club as much as possible. I'm not trying to rush myself.' Keuchel pitched seven innings of one-hit ball for Class-A Rome on Monday in his first game, but wasn't as sharp Saturday. He gave up two runs on three hits in the first inning, including a sharply hit double on the first pitch. He also fought a little bad luck during the outing: One single in the first was a weak pop fly that floated over the first baseman and past his glove. Another hit later in the game was a bouncing ball to the left side that took a funky hop and slipped between the shortstop and third baseman. 'I felt like my breaking stuff and changeup were a little inconsistent at first,' Keuchel said. 'I was a little antsy out there. The adrenaline was a little more than last time. Once I hone that in, I should be good. It was nice to compete out there.' ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Go to the Forum to read all of DawgNation’s latest recruiting nuggets. The post Discuss UGA’s big recruiting weekend in DawgNation’s Forum appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATLANTA (AP) - This is why Brian McCann came back to play for his hometown Atlanta Braves, to deliver with his bat in a big spot. 'That was one of the best moments I've ever had,' McCann said. 'To be able to get the win and the fashion that it happened is something I'll always remember.' McCann capped Atlanta's three-run ninth inning with a two-run single off Héctor Neris, and the Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies 9-8 on Friday night for their eighth straight win. Atlanta improved to 23-9 since May 10 and opened a 2 1/2-game lead over Philadelphia in the NL East. It was the first game between the division rivals since the Phillies swept three games from the Braves in late March. Most of the sellout crowd of 41,975, the largest of the season at SunTrust Park, stood on its feet after Dansby Swanson led off the ninth with a single. Nick Markakis walked with two outs, and Swanson scored on rookie Austin Riley's double. McCann then reached down and drove an opposite-field single into the gap in left-center, giving him 1,000 RBIs for his career. McCann, a seven-time All-Star who grew up in the Atlanta suburbs, spent the last five seasons in the AL, but decided to return to the team that drafted him so he could help the Braves win a World Series. 'This is home for me,' he said. 'This town, this city means a lot to me. It's where I grew up. To be able to come back home and do this is right up there with one of the best moments I've ever had.' He compared this year's Braves to his former club in Houston, which won the World Series in 2017. 'It's very special,' McCann said. 'I just think the way we show up every day. The way guys go about their business, to the preparation, we show up ready to win every single day.' Neris (1-3) was attempting to go 15 for 15 in save chances this year, but couldn't find the formula on his 30th birthday. He recorded two outs and allowed three hits in Philadelphia's fourth loss in five games. 'I have the highest level of trust in him in that situation,' manager Gabe Kapler said. 'We felt really good in the dugout about it. It's just a devastating loss. We'll lick our wounds, come back and be ready to fight again.' Jerry Blevins (1-0) pitched the ninth for the win. Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins each hit a two-run homer for the Phillies, and Scott Kingery added a solo drive. Philadelphia dropped to 34-7 this season when scoring at least four runs. It had won 15 of its last 17 previous such games. Harper, booed all night long, put Philadelphia up 3-1 in the third with his 12th homer, which sailed into the Atlanta bullpen in right-center. Kingery's eighth homer landed in the left-field seats in the fourth. Hoskins' 15th homer, coming off Dan Winkler, made it 7-2 in the seventh. Kingery, who went 3 for 4, doubled in the eighth and scored on a sacrifice fly to make it 8-4. Phillies starter Nick Pivetta allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings. Atlanta starter Max Fried was chased with two outs in the fifth. He was charged with five runs and seven hits, leaving him with a 7.52 ERA in his last four starts. McCann, Freddie Freeman and Josh Donaldson each hit a solo shot for the Braves. Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuña Jr. each had two hits. ROLLING The Braves, who have scored at least six runs in six straight games, own their first eight-game winning streak since May 17-25, 2013. TRAINER'S ROOM Phillies: RHP Seranthony Domínguez (right ulnar collateral ligament) decided not to have surgery and underwent a platelet injection instead. He will be re-evaluated in three weeks. UP NEXT Phillies: RHP Aaron Nola (6-1, 4.58 ERA) is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in two starts this month. He went 4-0 with a 2.73 ERA in six May starts. In 13 career starts against Atlanta, Nola is 8-3 with a 2.05 ERA. Braves: LHP Sean Newcomb (1-0, 2.59 ERA) will make his first start since getting recalled May 4 from Triple-A Gwinnett. ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports