Brock Bowers making great progress as he eyes return for Georgia

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Credit: Jason Getz

Credit: Jason Getz

Georgia tight end Brock Bowers (19) reacts after scoring a 41-yard touchdown reception during the second quarter against UAB at Sanford Stadium, Saturday, September 23, 2023, in Athens, Ga. (Jason Getz/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Maybe Brock Bowers really is superhuman.

Georgia’s tight end underwent TightRope surgery three weeks ago on his left ankle. According to one teammate, he’s doing better than well.

“Brock is looking good,” receiver Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint said Tuesday. “He seems like he’s progressing. … He’s been running. I heard he hit some high speed of like 19, 20 (mph), something like that. He’s progressing and he’s looking to get back. We’re excited to get him back on the field. We definitely miss him.”

If Bowers is running anywhere near the mentioned speed, that’s extremely encouraging for his return in the nearer future (it should be noted beyond straight-line speed, Bowers needs to show he’s comfortable cutting and moving around). Georgia has gotten by without him – receiver Ladd McConkey and tight end Oscar Delp have been crucial in Bowers’ absence – but they’d obviously benefit greatly from having their best overall player back in the mix.

Georgia hasn’t shared any specific timeline for Bowers’ return, but recovery from TightRope surgery is typically in the four-to-six-week range.

Coach Kirby Smart has discussed Bowers the past two days. His latest update Tuesday:

“He’s working hard,” Smart said. “He’s doing all he can in terms of trying to get himself in shape and get better. I mean, he’s back running now on dry land and we’re hoping that he keeps getting better. That’s this kind of the M.O. on this injury. Every kid we’ve had so far that’s had it, week one they do this, week two they do this, week three they do that. He’s right on schedule for the things he’s been doing.”

Bowers has 567 yards and four touchdowns on 41 catches. The Heisman Trophy has become mostly a quarterback honor, but Bowers was making a case to be a finalist before his injury. This is expected to be his final collegiate season as the 20-year-old is projected be an early first-round pick in the 2024 NFL draft.

The Bulldogs host No. 10 Ole Miss on Saturday. They finish the regular season with two road games at Tennessee and Georgia Tech.


- Georgia has faced two teams ranked at the time of the game this season: No. 20 Kentucky and No. 12 Missouri. The Bulldogs’ next two opponents are ranked – No. 10 Ole Miss and No. 17 Tennessee – so the Bulldogs could finish the regular season having faced four ranked foes.

For all the talk about Georgia’s weaker schedule, they also faced four ranked opponents in the 2021 regular season (No. 3 Clemson, No. 8 Arkansas, No. 18 Auburn, No. 11 Kentucky). They only faced two ranked opponents before the conference championship last season (No. 11 Oregon, No. 1 Tennessee).

- This is the first time the Bulldogs and Rebels have played each other as top-10 ranked teams. The Ole Miss offense is leading the way with quarterback Jaxson Dart emerging as a star. Dart’s 311.2 total yards per game are second in the SEC and 12th best in the country.

Dart was among the nation’s top quarterback recruits when he went to Southern California. When starter Kedon Slovis was injured, Dart logged time as a freshman on a dreadful Trojans team. He threw for 1,353 yards with nine touchdowns against five interceptions, but USC went 4-8 and Clay Helton was fired. When Lincoln Riley was hired, his quarterback Caleb Williams followed him from Oklahoma, leading Dart to Ole Miss.

- Rebels running back Quinshon Judkins leads the SEC with 12 rushing touchdowns. Receiver Tre Harris has had a 200-yard receiving game and a four-touchdown game, the only FBS receiver to achieve that combination. Ole Miss has also done a nice job protecting the ball – it’s 10th nationally in turnover margin at plus-8, which is best in the SEC.

“Ole Miss is a team that prides themselves on having really good skill players,” Georgia cornerback Kamari Lassiter said. “They have a really good quarterback, really good running backs and really good guys on the outside. They can do a lot of tempo, so just being able to prepare for those weapons and a lot of tempo for their game. That’s something we have to work on.”

- Fourth-year Georgia junior guard Tate Ratledge will participate in the senior day festivities Saturday, he said. He’ll have the option to enter the NFL draft following the season.

“I am going to take part in it because I feel like I don’t know what’s going to happen after this year,” Ratledge said. “I feel like if I don’t do it, I’d regret it, so I’m going to go ahead and do it. But nobody knows what’s going to happen the rest of this year.”

The Bulldogs have had nine offensive linemen drafted since 2020, including two last year in tackles Broderick Jones (Steelers) and Warren McClendon (Rams).