Georgia starts spring football practice on Thursday afternoon. Here are 10 players whose progress, I think, will be particularly interesting to follow from then through the G-Day game on April 16:
1. Alec Ogletree: After starting four games at safety as a true freshman last season, Ogletree moves to inside linebacker, where defensive coordinator Todd Grantham says the former scout.com five-star recruit can be a “unique” talent.
2. Jarvis Jones: One offshoot of Ogletree’s move from safety to inside linebacker is that Jones, who was redshirted last season after transferring from USC, will settle at outside linebacker. It previously was unclear whether he’d play inside or outside. Big things are expected and needed from him.
3. Bruce Figgins: It’s pretty unusual for a fifth-year senior to make a significant position change, but Figgins’ shift from tight end, perhaps the team’s deepest position, to fullback, perhaps its thinnest, qualifies. He could be a major contributor if he takes to the new spot.
4. Washaun Ealey: He has been Georgia’s leading rusher each of the past two years, but he clearly needs to have a good spring after an inconsistent 2010 season, an off-season suspension and the pending arrival of prized recruit Isaiah Crowell.
5. Ken Malcome: The tailback from Southwest DeKalb was redshirted last season but drew praise for his work on the practice field late in the season. He’ll get a chance this spring to show how he stacks up against the more veteran tailbacks Ealey, Caleb King and Carlton Thomas.
6. Trinton Sturdivant: After missing almost all of the 2008 and 2009 seasons because of knee surgeries, Sturdivant got through last season healthy. He gained more confidence in his health — and more playing time — as the season went along. Now, after briefly considering the NFL draft, he’s back for his senior season at left tackle and a chance to pick up where he left off as a freshman All-American in 2007. He’ll be working with a new offensive line coach this spring, Will Friend.
7. Christian LeMay: A member of the 2011 signing class, the quarterback from North Carolina enrolled in school in January and will participate in spring practice. While there is no doubt Aaron Murray, barring injury, will be the starting quarterback, it’ll be interesting to get a glimpse of LeMay’s potential.
8. Marlon Brown: He caught only 13 passes in his first two seasons at Georgia, but the wide receiver from Memphis –- a much-touted signee in February 2009 — has an opportunity for a starting job as the Bulldogs rebuild the wide receiver corps post-A.J. Green.
9. Kwame Geathers: John Jenkins, the celebrated JUCO nose guard, won’t arrive until summer, and with DeAngelo Tyson’s move to defensive end, Geathers has the stage this spring to show what he can do at the nose.
10. Richard Samuel: He was the Bulldogs’ starting tailback at the beginning of the 2009 season, then was slowed by injury and eventually redshirted after a move to linebacker last year. His progress at inside linebacker bears watching closely this spring.
So … which players, among these or others, will have your attention during spring practice?