Burton to Bama represents net loss for Georgia in transfer portal

ATHENS – This one hurts.

Jermaine Burton, one of Georgia’s best wide receivers, just transferred to Alabama. The sophomore flanker from Atlanta by way of Calabasas, Calif., entered the transfer portal late last week and made his decision public via social media Sunday night.

That indicates either a deal already was done or it was done fast. And to be clear, transfers such as these are deals. They’re transactions really.

It’s easy to follow Burton’s logic. At Alabama, he expects to be much more productive. The Crimson Tide throw the ball more than Georgia, and they rotate receivers less.

Playing flanker for the Bulldogs, Burton was fifth on the team in receptions with 26. He was second in receiving yardage (497) and touchdowns (5). Those numbers figure to increase exponentially at Alabama, where there’s a throw-first mentality and a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback in Bryce Young.

Nick Saban no doubt sold Burton on the transformation that just took place with Jameson Williams. Williams was, of course, Alabama’s star receiver last year with 79 catches for 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns. Those numbers represented a five-fold increase over what Williams did at Ohio State, where he had 15 catches for 266 yards and three touchdowns in two seasons.

It’s not hard to imagine a similar increase in production for Burton, providing he can stay healthy. That was Burton’s biggest issue his first two seasons with the Bulldogs. While he played in 24 of Georgia’s 25 games these last two seasons, he often was slowed by lower-body injuries and missed practice time or was limited in games. Nevertheless, Burton would have been a major part of Bulldogs’ plans in 2022.

Burton is the eighth Georgia player to enter the NCAA’s transfer portal since the Bulldogs won the national championship on Jan. 10. He’s the second to find a second home with one of Georgia’s rivals.

Redshirt freshman cornerback Jalen Kimber, who was limited to one game due to injury this past season, transferred to Florida. Kimber was working with the No. 1 defense in spring practice but lost his starting spot in preseason camp.

Defensive back Latavious Brini also settled on a new home over the weekend. The senior and 11-game starter from Miami announced that he is transferring to Arkansas.

Quarterback JT Daniels remains the only Georgia player known to be in the portal that has not settled on his next destination. Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin reportedly was in Athens to meet with Daniels and Burton this past weekend.

Meanwhile, Georgia defensive back/running back Lovasea Carroll announced Monday that he has committed to South Carolina. A 4-star running back when he signed with Georgia out of IMG Academy, Carroll was moved to defensive back last spring. But he was working with the Bulldogs’ running backs during postseason practices. He is expected to play tailback for the Gamecocks.

The question now is who or whom might Georgia bring in from the portal. The Bulldogs are in the market for help at receiver, defensive back and possibly linebacker. But for now their portal acquisitions stand at zero. With UGA now entering the third week of spring semester, it likely will be May before we see any additions.

But Georgia coach Kirby Smart always has made good use of transfers, even before they came packaged in something called the portal. His first season as the Bulldogs’ coach brought starting defensive back Mo Smith from Alabama and offensive tackle Tyler Catalina from Rhode Island. Since then he has added at least one transfer a year, most of whom became starters. That includes safety J.R. Reed, wideout Lawrence Cager, tight end Eli Wolf and, yes, quarterbacks Stetson Bennett and Daniels.

Meanwhile, Alabama has been very busy harvesting the portal. Burton was the Crimson Tide’s third major acquisition. They already got LSU cornerback Eli Ricks, a former 5-star prospect, and Georgia Tech running back Jahmyr Gibbs.

As for Burton, his latest move represents his sixth school in the last seven years. Originally from Atlanta, he attended Hapeville Charter as a ninth grader. Since then, he attended IMG Academy in Florida, Marietta High, Calabasas High in California and now UGA and Alabama.

PORTAL DOGS

DB Latavious Brini (Sr.) – Arkansas

WR Jermaine Burton (So.) -- Alabama

RB Lovasea Carroll (RFr.) -- South Carolina

QB JT Daniels (RJr.) – Undecided

WR Jaylen Johnson (Jr.) – East Carolina

CB Jalen Kimber (RFr.) – Florida

WR Justin Robinson (RFr.) – Mississippi State

CB Ameer Speed (RSr.) – Michigan State

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