Bulldogs looking at total rebuilding job on defense in 2013

Who replaces this guy for the Bulldogs next season is a huge question mark. (AP photo)

Who replaces this guy for the Bulldogs next season is a huge question mark. (AP photo)

It’s pretty clear that Georgia’s offense will be reloading next season. Depending on the decision of quarterback Aaron Murray — it’s not as cut-and-dry as you might think — the Bulldogs should be returning 10 starters (only WRs Marlon Brown and Tavarres King graduating).

The same can’t be said of the defense. In total, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is expected to lose 12 players who started games for him this season. Three of those are underclassmen who I expect will turn pro shortly after the Jan. 1 Capital One Bowl: outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, inside linebacker Alec Ogletree and defensive lineman Kwame Geathers.

The other nine are seniors who have exhausted their eligibility: Safeties Bacarri Rambo and Shawn Williams, cornerback Sanders Commings, noseguard John Jenkins, defensive ends Abry Jones and Cornelius Washington, linebackers Christian Robinson and Michael Gilliard, and versatile defensive back Branden Smith.

So Georgia will be totally rebuilding on defense. It’s no wonder the Bulldogs already have 17 defensive prospects committed in recruiting, with more expected to come between now and national signing day.

Here’s an early look at how the defense might stack up next season. This was done without the consultation of Grantham, who’s not known for his penchant for sharing, so it’s just an educated guess. Feel free to agree or disagree and add your two cents worth. . . .

GEORGIA DEFENSE

2012 season (starter; backup) – 2013 season (starter; backup)

DE

Garrison Smith, Jr.; John Jenkins, Sr. – RETURNING STARTER, NEW BACKUP (Jr. Mike Thornton or So. Sterling Bailey)

  • Comment: Smith is a budding all-star. Dogs in good shape here as long as he remains healthy.

NG

John Jenkins, Sr.; backup Kwame Geathers, Jr.,  – NEW STARTER (RFr. Jonathan Taylor), NEW BACKUP (Incoming freshman or JUCO transfer)

  • Comment: That’s right, not expecting Geathers to return. A Geathers has yet to complete his college eligibility. But coaches very excited about Taylor.

DE

Cornelius Washington, Sr.; Ray Drew, So. – NEW STARTER (Drew, Bailey or Thornton), NEW BACKUP (same)

  • Comment: Very suspect situation here. Undersized on current roster (see Alabama game). Opportunity for incoming players.

OLB

Jarvis Jones, Jr.; Ramik Wilson, So.  – NEW STARTER (Jordan Jenkins), NEW BACKUP (Sr. T.J. Stripling, So. Josh Dawson, or So. James DeLoach)

  • Comment: Jenkins switches sides to become Bulldogs’ primary pass rusher, ie: Jarvis Jones

OLB

Jordan Jenkins, Fr.; backup Josh Dawson, Fr. – RETURNING STARTER (Jenkins switches to Will), NEW STARTER (Sr. Chase Vasser, Dawson or DeLoach)

  • Comment: Experience in Vasser augmented by developing talent.

ILB

Amarlo Herrera, So.; backup Michael Gilliard, Sr. – RETURNING STARTER, NEW BACKUP (Brandon Burrows, Kosta Vavlas or incoming player)

  • Comment: Herrera an exemplary player but depth needed as he’ll need to be spelled

ILB

Alec Ogletree, Jr.; backup Christian Robinson, Sr. – NEW STARTER (Wilson?), NEW BACKUP (Incoming player)

  • Comment: If “Tree” enters draft as expected, Georgia can expect significant drop off no matter who fills in here.

CB

Sanders Commings, Sr.; Devin Bowman, RFr. – NEW STARTER (Jr. Damian Swann), SAME BACKUP

  • Comment: Swann will move from nickel to boundary, the most physical of corner positions

CB

Branden Smith, Sr.; Damian Swann, So;. – NEW STARTER (So. Sheldon Dawson), NEW BACKUP (Bowman or incoming player)

  • Comment: Coaches excited about Dawson’s potential.

FS

Bacarri Rambo, Sr.; Connor Norman, RSo. – NEW STARTER (Corey Moore or Norman), NEW BACKUP (Norman or incoming player)

  • Comment: This is where Georgia could use a newbie to come through big.

SS

Shawn Williams, Sr.; Corey Moore, So. – NEW STARTER (Moore or Josh Harvey-Clemons); NEW BACKUP (Jr. Marc Deas or incoming player)

  • Comment: See above. Lots of options for secondary coach Scott Lakatos.

NB

Damian Swann, So.; Josh Harvey-Clemons, Fr. – RETURNING STARTER (Swann switches to boundary corner; Harvey-Clemons takes over.); NEW BACKUP (Swann, Bowman or incoming player)

  • Comment: Intriguing possibilities here. Grantham tweaking nickel into “Star” position specially for Harvey-Clemons, who should be able to stay on field in all situations.

266 comments Add your comment

WDE

December 10th, 2012
3:44 pm

Nice article

funny...

December 10th, 2012
3:50 pm

This isn’t anything new to college football.

Alabama is back in the BCSNCG and they’re replacing a lot of starter on D as well.

clayton

December 10th, 2012
3:51 pm

Tray Matthews and Shaq Fluker (assuming he qualifies) will be considered for both safety spots. Both enroll early and Matthews has tons of physical ability. Very nice article!

clayton

December 10th, 2012
3:52 pm

And with all the talent coming in we don’t know yet if its rebuilding or reloading.

Spartacus

December 10th, 2012
3:52 pm

I know it’s crying over spilled milk…..but that’s why we had such a golden opportunity THIS year. We had both offense and defense to do it (even with the glaring OL and DL deficiencies).

Next year, our offense will be fine with Murray or Mason….but our defense will drop off significantly. Look for a 9-3 year and a trip to the Chick Fil A bowl. Damn….just damn…

kybodawg

December 10th, 2012
3:54 pm

well it could be worse, i saw where next year the acc is allowing males to play football.

Dawg_Mike

December 10th, 2012
3:56 pm

Apologies, Spartacus, but Gratitude to the Dawgs for this season !

However, next season we will be lucky to go 9-3.
LSU, CLEM, UF, SC…..all could be losses at this point.

MinnDawg

December 10th, 2012
4:00 pm

What happened to Ray Drew?

douglas dawg

December 10th, 2012
4:01 pm

Enter your comments here

This Just In...

December 10th, 2012
4:03 pm

There all 4 stars, with possible 5 star Freshmen coming in. Nobody thought Thomas Davis could be replaced before Greg Blue, same with Odell Thurman and so on.. Georgia will be fine, and will dominate big time. Look for us to who the East.

Glory Between the Hedges

December 10th, 2012
4:04 pm

Looks like a 9-3 season next year. Woohoo!! Another year without a NC. Our offense will score, but our defense will struggle if this current group did. So numb to be a dawg fan.

delane

December 10th, 2012
4:04 pm

Who will have the best D in the east? Vandy? Gamecocks lose 2 D-linemen, 4 LB’s and DJ Sweringer. Florida is losing alot like UGA.

Twilb Dawg

December 10th, 2012
4:06 pm

This is what makes the SECCG so painful. The stars (including Defensive stars) were aligned this year. However, the D underperformed this year, so who is to say that bunch can’t over-perform next year?!?

WDE

December 10th, 2012
4:06 pm

Clem and SC will be at least as down as we are, I’m not sold on UF’s offense being a huge upgrade next year….so lets wait and see how stays and who goes then we can panic and flail around. If Murray stays and he and the RB’s stay healthy and the OL continues to progress we are going to give any defense fits…….of course just like this year we will just have to wait and see….man I love college football !!

Damon

December 10th, 2012
4:11 pm

Start calling the JUCOs.

Lonnie

December 10th, 2012
4:14 pm

What a group of guys!!!!! Somebody text Adams and big JC kid and let them know that we have a spot for them!!!!

FAN

December 10th, 2012
4:15 pm

Umm Fla will lose a lot on defense next year. SC will be without Lattimore. Lsu is losing a ton of defensive players. We’ll be fine with our veteran offense.

PS GTbob loves dudes

'94 UGA Alumni

December 10th, 2012
4:38 pm

I would be very happy with 9-3 next year but am afraid that 8-4 or 7-5 is more likely.

sflanagan21

December 10th, 2012
4:39 pm

It’s disturbing to see Dawg fans post that we will be 9-3 next year or even worse! Yes we are loosing some good and great talent on D but Clemson and SC are going to be hurting just as bad as we are. If we can weather those two right out of the gate then we will be fine! Our O is going to put up the points to keep us in those two games and I believe our D will be fine. After those 2 games we have an open date and the N Texas before LSU. By time we get to LSU our young and talented D will be hitting on all cylinders!

I’ve been following UGA football since 1980 and I have never been so happy to be a Dawg fan! Our future is bright and people will take notice next year! Florida is gonna be stout also! The rolls in college football are changing….

Brown Dog

December 10th, 2012
4:40 pm

Ray Drew lives us to his billing as a human being, still has not done so as a football player. He still has some time to develop, but the silence has been rather telling up to now.

td

December 10th, 2012
4:49 pm

Looks like we have 3 DT’s (all over 300) committed and waiting on a 4th to decide. 2 for the 3 are JUCO so they will be ready to play. The article states we have a couple on the current roster ready to step in. We could have an overall better DL with less talent and experience because of more depth.

docdawg

December 10th, 2012
4:50 pm

I agree w/ Douglas Dog, here alot of talent on the tem and like everyone else ib the game, player development is part of the process, I don`t see any of the supposed pitfalls being a sure loss, not with potential offense for next year. can`t whine over this year, they did a great job and Alabama will be the first to tip their caps, that was a classic!

GTBob

December 10th, 2012
4:50 pm

With the way UGA played defense this year rebuilding is probably a good thing. Outside of Jarvis Jones they were pretty bad.

GTBob

December 10th, 2012
4:55 pm

Looks like we have 3 DT’s (all over 300) committed and waiting on a 4th to decide. 2 for the 3 are JUCO so they will be ready to play.

Is UGA pretty much just building their team these days off of JUCO players who barely graduated high school?

roughrider

December 10th, 2012
4:55 pm

If UGA was bad this year, Tech must have sucked big time.

GeoffDawg

December 10th, 2012
4:55 pm

I’m concerned about losing Geathers. We saw what happened in 2010 when you didn’t have that big butt anchoring the line in the 3-4.

Thank God for Reggie Ball

December 10th, 2012
4:57 pm

Carolina’s offense isn’t intimidating with Lattimore going to the draft but you plug in all those new defensive starters and you go to Clemson to start the season? That’s scary.

I would probably say 10-2 or 9-3, depends on our record against CLEM, LSU and UF, if you go 2-1 in those games you’ll be just fine

No more cupcakes

December 10th, 2012
5:01 pm

UGA had a schedule that made Little Debbie blush this year.

Talent is cyclical…. just ask Florida, Nebraska, Michigan, Tennessee, etc….

We were at our peak this year as far as talent, but couldn’t pull it off.

Yea, other teams may be down, but we will be way down… and trust me, if they are ranked we will lose to them. We all know it was lucky for us to beat UF as they gave us 6 turnovers to help us win.

Who did we beat this year besides Florida?

Anyone?

Anyone?

Crickets……

td

December 10th, 2012
5:03 pm

Thank God for Reggie Ball

December 10th, 2012
4:57 pm

By the end of the year, our O could score on any D in the country (Look at the Bama game). The O will only get better next year (if Murry returns). Clemson could not stop anyone this year so the O may have to carry the day while the D is still finding itself early in the season.

True ATL Fan

December 10th, 2012
5:03 pm

To be honest, the defense from this year and last was really makeshift. Gotta remember Tree was moved to LB from Safety. John Jenkins was a JUCO transfer, and J Jones was a transfer from SC coming off of neck surgery. Think back to two summers ago, noone could have predicted they would produce as a unit like they have. Herrera is a STUD as is Abry Jones. Still got faith in Ray Drew as he will get his shine next year. Bowman, Sheldon Dawson, Swann, and JHC all got good playing experience as freshmen/sophomores this year. Ramik Wilson, Stripling, and Josh Dawson will get their chance to step up just like Commings and S. Williams did for us (came out of nowhere). Thats 8 starters I named right there, in addition to Jordan Jenkins who started all year as a freshman. I actually think we are in better shape now than two summers ago….and thats without the incoming freshmen. I can see Tray Matthews moving inside in year 2-3 and becoming the new Ogletree with so much depth coming in with him, lining up next to Reuben Foster. Yeah we’re in BIG trouble lol. Thoughts???

2nd Coming of Ray Goff

December 10th, 2012
5:06 pm

Cupcake, as much as I hate to admit it, I think you are right….

Most of the teams in the SEC have great recruiting classes. Ours just gelled at the right moment with an upperclassmen laiden team as is shown above.

I think the next 3-4 years are going to expose the poor coaching we have again from Richt, Bobo, and Grantham.

Remember, we went 6-7 just 2 years ago with 4* and 5* talent, so I think that cycle is about to hit us again.

Thank God for Reggie Ball

December 10th, 2012
5:07 pm

@td

I just fear getting roasted by Boyd and Watkins. If we win that game by 10+ I will be thrilled. I say we beat Carolina, lose to LSU, then the East comes down to the Florida game

dawgfan

December 10th, 2012
5:11 pm

There have been more than a few times this year when I’ve wondered if a lot of these guys are more interested in protecting their bodies for the NFL draft than winning games for Georgia. Losing them might not necessarily be such a bad thing.

Sorry folks. Just calling it like I see it.

Murray is gone

December 10th, 2012
5:13 pm

My dad is friends with a scout for the JAX Jaguars and says Murray could be taken as the 2nd QB in the upcoming draft.

He is comparing him to Drew Brees given accuracy and intelligence…. also said that Brees / Russell Wilson and the like are showing you don’t have to be 6 foot 5 to play QB in the NFL 6 foot 1 is great!

Also said Murray’s stats next year against stiffer competition will likely not be as good. Suggested that if he did stay, his stock would not be as high next year and suggested he get insurance to cover possible injury if he did not go Pro.

His final assesment is that Murray would be dumb not to go Pro and feels that is what will happen as he seems to think Murray is the most intelligent QB in the draft this year.

sammiamm

December 10th, 2012
5:15 pm

Gonna be OK, cuz O-line is going to be stronger and more experienced, and with that we’re gonna hang points up.

GTBob

December 10th, 2012
5:15 pm

if you go 2-1 in those games you’ll be just fine

UGA is 1-11 against ranked teams in the last three years and you expect them to win 2 out of 3 against 3 tough teams? Good luck.

ga gator

December 10th, 2012
5:23 pm

Interesting article for Dawgs: Willie Martinez to UT!!
http://twitter.com/edsbs/status/278245248478629888

Thank God for Reggie Ball

December 10th, 2012
5:32 pm

@dawgfan

I feel you. Get a bunch of guys hungry to prove themselves. Could be good fuel which is something the 2012 D lacked for the first 7 games

Thank God for Reggie Ball

December 10th, 2012
5:34 pm

@GTBob

do you expect to win 2 games next year? Have fun getting roasted in the Sun Bowl

Dawg Talk

December 10th, 2012
5:34 pm

One good thing about living close to Vienna, GA……Everyone around here already knows 5-star Montravious Adams is UGA bound!!!! Go Dawgs!

Thank God for Reggie Ball

December 10th, 2012
5:37 pm

@GTBob

How does it feel being forced to live vicariously through Alabama and South Carolina. It’s gotta suck not having a half-decent football team to root for

Thank God for Reggie Ball

December 10th, 2012
5:42 pm

All those predictions are based on IF Murray returns. If he doesn’t you’re staring 8-4 right in the face.

Myrray the millionaire

December 10th, 2012
5:43 pm

Already a grad…nothing else to prove.

OkieDawg

December 10th, 2012
5:54 pm

I hope Rueben Foster, Montavious Adams and Robert Nkemdiche read this article. Come to UGA and play next year. Go to Alabama and wait your turn.

Bill W.

December 10th, 2012
5:56 pm

My bet is that Tray Williams ends up starting at safety and I also think Kwame Geathers will be back next season. Not sure if Murray goes early this year. I can name 5 current QB’s that could go ahead of him in the draft because of size, arm strength, and stats. Tyler Wilson, Landry Jones, Matt Barkley, Geno Smith, Tyler Bray and/or Colin Klein.

dawgs01

December 10th, 2012
5:56 pm

i dont see what the big deal with be. we were very average on defense. we had great players but played horrible team defense. I think we will better than last yr or at least the same. with all the talent on that defense this yr it was very average. we gave up over 250yds rushing to 4 teams right off the top of my head. how is that a great defense. with all the so called stars gone i think we will play better team defense. jarvis and tree will be missed the most. if we get adams out of dooly that will be the key. i was never impressed with john jenkins yea he was 360 pounds on skates in the bama game. i am so glad 35 is gone at linebacker and why herrera never played against bama still makes me scratch my head, bama ran right at gilliard the whole second half and he could do nothing. once he figured out he was not big or strong enough to take on the lead block which was usually a linemen he started running around him and thats when bama started ripping off 10to15 yd runs instead of 4-6 like in the first half. we got to get better inside backer play and nosetackle play. hopefulley the backers and secondary can all get on the same page this offseason as far as cover responsibilities. i have never seen second and third level defenders look so lost in coverage that were supposedly superstars. i think the defense will put up similar numbers or better. we did not have a great defense this season we great individual talent.

Dawggone

December 10th, 2012
5:57 pm

everytime Stripling hits the field he gets baited into a 15 yard penalty for unsportsman like conduct.

GO DAWGS!!!!!!!!!

December 10th, 2012
6:02 pm

Thank God for Reggie Ball

December 10th, 2012
5:42 pm

All those predictions are based on IF Murray returns. If he doesn’t you’re staring 8-4 right in the face.

Actually it is prob 8-4 with Murray and 9-3 or 10-2 with Mason

tony

December 10th, 2012
6:07 pm

UGA should think about rehiring Brian Vangorder to coach the dl, lb and st.

My wish 2013 lineup:

DE-Montravius Adams
NT-Kwame Geathers or Jonathan Taylor
DE-Garrison Smith
OLB-Jordan Jenkins
ILB-Reuben Foster
ILB-Amarlo Herrera
OLB-Josh Dawson
CB-Damian Swann
FS-J. Harvey-Clemons
SS-Tray Mathrews
CB-Malcolm Mitchell

LogicalUS

December 10th, 2012
6:07 pm

This does not bode particular well as with the load of supposedly seasoned NFL talent at virtually every position, the defense was a major disappointment this season. Nobody should realistically expect Grantham to actually do better with a cast of unproven newbies. He has been vastly over-valued by the disneys. He has been overmatched vs virtually every decent team which UGA has played over the past two seasons.

And has anyone actually looked at the early schedule for 2013?

@Clemson…..they can score though if UGA follows the SC keep away plan it might be a chance.
SC…..SC could have easily scored 48 on UGA this season so a depleted defense makes this doubtful, they appear to return most of their defense including Clowney.
North Texas…yawn
LSU……could LSU run for 350 on UGA like Bama..very possible.
@UT….gave up 48 to the Vols in Athens.

I think everyone sees where this is going….should have gotten it down with the gift schedule this year…