The fact is, Ringo’s famed interception came on an underthrown ball with the intended target open behind him. He gets full credit, though, for recognizing where the ball was, high-pointing his interception, hanging on to it and utilizing his sub-4.4 speed to carry it all the way to the end zone.
So, to be clear, Ringo is not just a good corner; he’s an excellent one. He received a 73.3 coverage grade from Pro Football Focus last season and projects among the top 10 at his position in college football for next year. But entering his second season as a starter, he remains an incomplete work.
And without safety Lewis Cine protecting the back end, Derion Kendrick locking down the other side of the field and Georgia’s famed defensive front assuredly supplying pressure, Georgia’s opponents will view the Bulldogs’ secondary as exploitable, until they prove they are not.
Here’s how it looks heading into spring practice:
- Returning starters: CB Kelee Ringo (6-2, 205, RSo.), SS Christopher Smith (5-11, 190, Grad.)
- All eyes on: CB Kamari Lassiter, S Javon Butler, freshman DB class
- Outlook: Once again, there was way more turnover in Georgia’s secondary than the Bulldogs needed or wanted. Safety Lewis Cine turning pro as a junior was expected and justified, but cornerback Jalen Kimber hitting the portal for Florida and nickel Latavious Brini bolting for Arkansas was hurtful and unfortunate. Both would have been a big part of Georgia’s 2022 plans. Add to that another change in leadership – Fran Brown (Rutgers) replaces DBs coach Jahmile Addae, who left for Miami after one season – and there seems reason for concern. As it is, the Bulldogs will seek to rebuild with a nice mix of experienced players and young talent. Georgia signed the best group of DBs in the country and one of the school’s best of all time. Malaki Starks, Daylen Everette and Jaheim Singletary were consensus five-star recruits, according to the 247Sports composite, and Julian Humphrey drew a five-star rating from Rivals.com. In total, there are five new DBs in the 2022 incoming class, so the Bulldogs addressed their needs in a big way in recruiting. But it typically takes a while for freshmen to find their way onto the field. To do that, they’ll have to beat out some significant contributors and others who have been awaiting their opportunities. Senior safety/star William Poole came on strong at the end of the season, Javon Bullard played in nearly every game, as did former walk-on Dan Jackson, and cornerbacks David Daniel and Nyland Green are trying to overcome injury setbacks long enough to prove their worth. There might not be a more intriguing DB on Georgia’s roster than Tykee Smith. A former All-American and All-Big 12 defensive back from West Virginia, Smith was ready to start for the Bulldogs at the star position as a transfer last fall before getting besieged by injuries. First, a broken foot injury in preseason camp sidelined him, then a midseason torn ACL shut him down for the year. So, he ended up playing in one game and will have to sit out spring ball this year as well. But if he can stay healthy until then, Smith will enter camp in August as one of the Bulldogs’ most experienced DBs. That’s both a good and bad thing.
This concludes Spring Preview 2022, a 10-part series that examined each of Georgia’s position groups leading into spring practice. The Bulldogs will conduct their first of 15 spring practices – three per week for five weeks – on Tuesday in Athens. The annual G-Day Game is scheduled April 16 at Sanford Stadium.