Sheldon Dawson, Jonathan Taylor, Blake Tibbs among Bulldogs waiting in the wings




ATHENS – The reality of college football is only 11 players can be on the field at any one time and rarely do more than 50 play in a given game. So with an 85-scholarship maximum, there are always going to be a number of talented athletes not seeing any game action.

This is the time of year coaches start to focus on those players. With a month between the end of the regular season and the bowl game, teams are able to take a closer look at athletes that have been waiting in the wings for their opportunities to play. So for the Bulldogs the 15 practices since the SEC Championship game has been as much about preparing for the future as it has been preparing for the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Jan. 1 Capital One Bowl.

“We’ve got some talented guys on our campus and more that we’re recruiting,” Georgia coach Mark Richt. “We’re going to find out what they can do.”

The Bulldogs had a small signing class in 2012 and have a small roster overall. They ended up redshirting only four freshmen out of that group. But there was also a number of young players who got only limited playing time as that wait for their chances to make a bigger impact. Here are a few players to look out for in 2013:

CB SHELDON DAWSON

Georgia two-way player Malcolm Mitchell can’t contain his excitement when it comes to his expectations for Dawson, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound freshman cornerback from Memphis.

“Watch him,” Mitchell says. “I just see it in him. He’s going to be a great player. I don’t say that often. I see good players, but I see something really different in him. You’ll see it. Just watch him.”

Despite the Bulldogs already being set with an all-senior secondary, Dawson played in all 12 games. His work came mainly on special teams, but defensive coordinator Todd Grantham wasn’t afraid to put him in on defense to spell one of Georgia’s veterans.

“He’s right at 190 pounds right now,” Grantham said. “He’s got speed. His junior year in high school he averaged about 20 yards a carry running the ball. So he’s explosive. He’s a willing tackler. He’s just young and we’ve just got to get him reps. I look forward to seeing what he can do.”

Dawson feels like he gained a lot from his experienced teammates.

“I learned a lot this year and I got better, too,” he said. “I’ve been getting a lot of reps during these practices, so I feel like I’ve had a chance to show what I can do. But it’s just about getting better every day and letting everything else play itself out.”

WR BLAKE TIBBS

Blake Tibbs caught 123 passes for more than 1,100 yards and 23 touchdowns his final two seasons at Lithonia’s Martin Luther King High. But he did not play at all his first season with the Bulldogs, which Tibbs believes is a good thing.

“My technique has gotten way better from high school,” said the 6-foot-2, 185-pound wideout. “In high school, it was easier and you didn’t have to be so precise with everything you did. You could get away with a lot. In college, the DBs read every little motion you make. So you have to make sure to not to use any motions that would give away your route. I’m getting way better at my technique and route-running. I feel like I’ve gotten faster, a little stronger. So I’ve been progressing.”

The Bulldogs were loaded in the receiving corps this season. But they will be losing Tavarres King and Marlon Brown to graduation and opportunities should abound. Tibbs has been trying position himself to be somebody the Bulldogs can count on next season.

“I look to make an impression any time I get a chance, but Coach told us these bowl practices were going to be a big time for all the young guys,” Tibbs said. “They’re looking at the redshirts and the walkons and anybody who hasn’t gotten the reps this year in games to see what they can do and how they’ve progressed.”

Georgia’s Mitchell thinks Tibbs has what it takes. “He’s going to be a really good player. He’s just got to learn what he’s doing. But he’s going to make some plays.”

DL JONATHAN TAYLOR

With big John Jenkins (6-foot-3, 258) and Kwame Geathers (6-6, 355) manning the noseguard position this season, the Bulldogs were set along their interior defensive line. But Jenkins is a senior and Geathers may elect to make a jump to the NFL after his redshirt junior season.

But when talk turns to successor, all parties speak glowingly of Jonathan Taylor. The Bulldogs apparently have seen enough of the Jenkins County product during his redshirt season to know he can step in and get the job done.

“He’s a guy that can really help us next year,” Grantham said. “He’s big, physical, athletic. And he has a desire to be a good player. That’s why he works so hard in practice. Guys are noticing him down there. He’s a guy that (Georgia) fans around the country are going to hear about starting next year.”

At 6-foot-4, 320-pounds, Taylor is not as big as his predecessors. But his coaches and teammates use “strength” and “power” to describe his style of play.

“Being redshirted has been great for me,” Taylor said. “It gave me the opportunity to get bigger and faster and stronger. . . . I learned a lot. I take my playbook home every day so I can learn it. I’ve got to be ready so whenever the coaches need me I can just jump out there and help the boys out.”

Other players to look out for next season include linebacker James DeLoach, offensive lineman Greg Pyke and defensive back Josh Harvey-Clemons. Together with a signing class that could include as many as 35 players, their development will go a long way toward determining what kind of success the Bulldogs have next season.

“I don’t know exactly what it’s going to look like, but I do know that we’re going to be very athletic,” Richt said. “We’re going to be strong. I think physically we’re going to be able to hold up. It’s going to be a matter of how quickly they jell as a group and learn what to do.”

70 comments Add your comment

dawgman

December 26th, 2012
3:05 pm

joe jenkins

December 26th, 2012
3:13 pm

I wonder how many yards the defense will give up in rushing?? anybody have a over and under??

Destin Dawg

December 26th, 2012
3:16 pm

Go Dawgs…. Beat Nebraska !!!!

BKbroila

December 26th, 2012
3:26 pm

Joe, It all depends on how much the offense can control the clock…people seem to overlook the fact that Alabama had the ball for 40 minutes to UGA’s 20…the entire defense had to be completely exhausted…Bobo has done a great job, and Murray is much improved…but every time you throw an incomplete pass, you lose 35seconds of clock control…It is no wonder Bama outlasted UGA…Gurley should have touched the ball 30 times that game and UGA would have been playing Jan 7th…but I predict UGA gives up 200+ rushing to Nebraska and still wins by 17…Martinez will use his feet and Burkhead and Abdullah will have modest days…75-60 yards apiece, respectively….

marcelledbetter

December 26th, 2012
3:28 pm

Jon Jenkins hasn’t been 258 since his middle school days I imagine or he has cut some major weight in the off season…..

dewnsav

December 26th, 2012
3:29 pm

Greg Pyke…yeah, he must be good…Tide Roll talks about him a lot…go dogs

Vince

December 26th, 2012
3:45 pm

Sure do need some OL & DL in this recruiting class!!!—-You win in the SEC by having 1-A great defense 2-A very good running game & 3-Excellent special teams play———You can take that to the bank!

chuck

December 26th, 2012
4:08 pm

30+ Tunsil, Adams, Kamara, Johnson, Foster, and Crowder. That would set us up for certain.

Put in Timeout by Ken Suguira,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned by Bill King, Chip Towers & only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

December 26th, 2012
4:13 pm

“The reality of college football is only 11 players can be on the field at any one time and rarely do more than 50 play in a given game”
==================================

UGa only has about 50 scholarship players right now. If you take away the Walk-ons that were given Scholarships for this year 50 is about right.

Buckeye

December 26th, 2012
4:14 pm

Ohio State will be playing Alabama next yearfor the NC not you guys!

joe jenkins

December 26th, 2012
4:29 pm

buckeye…..you suck ass. even if you do end up playing bama…I predict that they wil beat your precious buckeyes so bad..you will never rear your ugly face ever again on these blogs ever again loser

GB's Hamburgers

December 26th, 2012
4:33 pm

I believe BK is correct. Our offense does not help our defense. We function less as a team and more like a independent units. I have said for along time that this is our Achilles heel. It’s why we lose to teams of equal talent whose schemes compliment one another. It’s seems like the better Bobo’s offense plays the more time the defense spends on the field. It’s a fundamental flaw that you won’t find in the teams that beat us.

Lagdawg

December 26th, 2012
4:33 pm

DL definately needs to play stronger and more aggressive. DL neeeds to have more penetration into the other teams backfield on every play. Too many times this season they were tackling the RBs 5 and 10 yards downfield. When will a DL Coach be hired. This is crunch time in recruiting and this needs to be a very good hire and they can’t take 1-3 months to make this hire.

AltamahaDawg

December 26th, 2012
4:38 pm

Georgia had 72 players recruited with scholarships to start the season. I think that dropped to 69 for various reasons. THEN awarded 5 new walk-on scholarships, and renwed 2 more for the second year. 76 does not equal 50. So no, that’s not “about right”.

gets your facts together , troll boy.

CL

December 26th, 2012
4:45 pm

John Jenkins has been ruled inelible. SMH.

Vampire Bill

December 26th, 2012
4:45 pm

Way to go marcell, you noticed a typo on a football blog… Proud of you

CL

December 26th, 2012
4:45 pm

Left Coast Dawg

December 26th, 2012
4:49 pm

Buckeye lives in a dream world.

te29wr

December 26th, 2012
4:50 pm

BUCKED EYE
Withh that tough BIG ? schedule plus Buffalo and Fla. A & M and two lower level Ohio schools you will not have enough computer rankings to play anywhere inn the BCS Mich will beat you and Urban renewal will quit on you like he did U of Fla.

Now you go home

Put in Timeout by Ken Suguira,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned by Bill King, Chip Towers & only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

December 26th, 2012
4:56 pm

CL………….where are you getting that crap from?
Nothing on social media has indicated Jenkins isn’t boarding a Plane to the Capitol one Bowl game. You know NOTHING escapes social media snoops.

dawglova

December 26th, 2012
4:59 pm

Jenkins is ineligible for the bowl game he is right

dawglova

December 26th, 2012
5:00 pm

Looks like big jenkins was getting ready for the NFL a little to soon

dawglova

December 26th, 2012
5:03 pm

I am sure chip will have it shortly but it is true. I heard about 2:30 today

Put in Timeout by Ken Suguira,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned by Bill King, Chip Towers & only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

December 26th, 2012
5:10 pm

te29wr…………..but somehow you think if UGa won the SECCG they would be in the BCS MNC game? You think that UGa should be in a BCS game this year?
You been Eat’n some of Da UGa Brownies again?
UGa played:
Buffalo(4-8)
Missouri(5-7)
Florida Atl(3-9)
Tennessee(5-7)
Kentucky(2-10)
Ole Miss(6-6)
Auburn(3-9)
Georgia Southern..FCS
Georgia Tech(6-7)

Poopdawg

December 26th, 2012
5:12 pm

Love to see Sheldon Dawson on special teams this year . He obviously is not afraid to put a shoulder on somebody. GO DAWGS!

Put in Timeout by Ken Suguira,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned by Bill King, Chip Towers & only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

December 26th, 2012
5:14 pm

I haven’t seen that anywhere yet. Damn that is just POOR. UGa really has to do better signing a better CLASS of player. You don’t do that to your teammates and you don’t screw up your classwork for yourself. That is just SAD.

Put in Timeout by Ken Suguira,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned by Bill King, Chip Towers & only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

December 26th, 2012
5:21 pm

Well, if Chip does post an article about it then it will be closed to comments.
He is a Senior and almost done with his degree right? How do you screw-up like that when you are so close to graduating?
I guess he didn’t learn much about Child & Family Development. He was being Childish not doing his class work and he let down his Birth family and his Football family.
I hate to see people mess up so close to finishing a goal.

Buckeye

December 26th, 2012
5:22 pm

I am a HO MO

Uncle Kirk

December 26th, 2012
5:29 pm

IF….it is true. Some jackass got on here all year and said he was I eligible before the season started too. Prolly the same dude with a different name

Uncle Kirk

December 26th, 2012
5:31 pm

dawglova

December 26th, 2012
5:37 pm

Guys it was released earlier today by coach richt. It is not a maybe. He is done at uga. It is unfortunate about not uncommon for seniors who are NFL bound.

dawglova

December 26th, 2012
5:38 pm

Go to the athens banner. They have the story

dawglova

December 26th, 2012
5:40 pm

Kirk…I’m not a rumor monger or on here to start rumors like some. I wouldn’t have said it if it wasn’t true

dawglova

December 26th, 2012
5:41 pm

Good news is it appears he is the only one

Put in Timeout by Ken Suguira,Filtered by Mark Bradley, Banned by Bill King, Chip Towers & only slightly loved by Jeff Schultz.

December 26th, 2012
5:46 pm

Well a hit on the APR.
NASA is no longer so another UGa Rocket Scientist will not be missed. I guess he was going to Develop Children and Families and now he can’t do that either. Hey that might not be a bad thing after all.

And?

December 26th, 2012
6:01 pm

Bkbroila – that’s a great point! I think scoring too quickly can come back to bite you if you’re not consistent. Those slow long sustaining drives not only where down the other teams defense but also gives your defense a chance to rest. Very obvious but often overlooked by our offensive coaches!

CL

December 26th, 2012
6:10 pm

wow i come back on here and im getting roasted. I got my info from Bleacher Report App on my phone. No I am not the same guy who said he was ineligible earlier in the season.

NCDawg

December 26th, 2012
6:15 pm

BKbroila – the D was gassed but only because we didn’t have enough guys to rotate. Sure it would have been great to just run it down Bama’s throat but we couldn’t do it and nobody else could either. So what do you do? You do what you can… throw it. That was their weakness and we moved the ball damned well against them. We would have been annihilated if not for our passing game. We still had more than 100 yards rushing.
Everybody is hung up on the yardage but here is what should be talked about:
1) They scored only 4 TD’s… with that kind of rushing yardage there should have been at least 6 TD’s scored.
2) Bama could not grind out first downs when they had to… they almost lost the game because of it.
All of you moaners and groaners think about what you would be saying about the Dawgs if we had run up 350 yards and still almost lost the game. Think about it…

Neutral

December 26th, 2012
6:30 pm

@Butteye@4:14
Only because THE osu plays in the little 10 conference. You guys wouldn’t make it if you were in the ACC!!!

run the damn ball

December 26th, 2012
7:27 pm

Jenkins in out. Thank you John for all of your hard work. Maybe a real D-line coach can teach you to play lower. I’m sure great things await you in the NFL.
Let the younger kid play. Maybe we won’t give up 350 yards rushing.
I’m sooooo glad Garner is gone. We have NFL talent on the D-line EVERY year but we can’t stop the other team from running the football. I really hope CMR takes the huge opportunity to cleanse this team of stupidity. Not directed to you BIG John. We just took a big step in the right direction.

run the damn ball

December 26th, 2012
7:28 pm

Jenkins IS out. Sorry.
Check the comment from BKbroila. He’s right.

sflanagan21

December 26th, 2012
8:19 pm

Bama has a tough schedule next year hahahahaha!!!! No way OSU repeats this year, they had no pressure on them this year… Look at USC last year and this year, OSU will crumble under the pressure! Go DAWGS

Discount DoubleDawg

December 26th, 2012
8:20 pm

Any word on a replacement for Garner?

Ghost of Sinkwich

December 26th, 2012
8:21 pm

The Bulldogs really need to close strong, where recruiting is concerned.

Jarvis Jones gives Muschamp nightmares

December 26th, 2012
8:30 pm

That sucks about Jenkins. Hopefully Geathers has a big game. I’m sorry but I’m not going to get all worried about Nebraska like some of the Georgia fans and haters on the blog. They can run the ball, but the Big Ten was down this season. Plus we will be getting Abry Jones back which will soften the blow of losing Jenkins. So I think they will surrender about 150 rushing yards, but Nebraska’s inability to throw the ball will cost them. If you think our run defense is bad, Nebraska gave up over 500 to Wisconsin. I think Bobo will pound them with Gurley and Georgia will score at least 35, which will be enough.

bubba4dawgs

December 26th, 2012
8:36 pm

Hey Buckeye, just read Alan’s blog! It says it all!!

[...] Sheldon Dawson, Jonathan Taylor, Blake Tibbs among Bulldogs waiting in the wings ← Back to Home Tags: capital, championship, coach, cornhuskers, focal, game, nebraska, [...]

graphite

December 26th, 2012
9:30 pm

Buckeyes are only good for making deer turds…. Urban being the biggest one of all…. RollOn…..

Bill

December 26th, 2012
9:58 pm

Garner is Auburn, and Auburn is Garner. Birds of a feather should flock together. Move on and hire BETTER!

Smitty

December 26th, 2012
10:53 pm

a buckeye is a what? Oh yea I remember now