Q&A: Starting or not, lineman Micah Morris is an impact player for Georgia

Georgia Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart and offensive lineman Micah Morris (56) walk off the field following the SEC Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023. Alabama defeated Georgia 27-24 to end the Bulldogs’ 29-game win streak. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Georgia Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart and offensive lineman Micah Morris (56) walk off the field following the SEC Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023. Alabama defeated Georgia 27-24 to end the Bulldogs’ 29-game win streak. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

ATHENS — Georgia’s Micah Morris is an intimidating presence even standing before reporters in shorts and wearing crocs. He is listed on the Bulldogs’ roster at 6-foot-6, 330 pounds, but the fact that his body is nearly as wide as the lectern he’s standing behind hints that he might tilt the scales at even more.

But it’s when he’s in motion on the football field that Morris truly is terrifying. Coach Kirby Smart alluded to that when referring to the junior’s unique ability as a pulling guard and in the art of “contact-striking,” whatever that is.

“Guys on defense know when Micah comes off a double-team or pulls,” Smart said earlier this week. “He’s coming with bad intentions. He’s good to have, in terms of that group and creating an identity.”

Morris is part of an offensive line that returns four starters, give or take. The Bulldogs are having to replace center Sedrick Van Pran and right tackle Amarius Mims. But Mims started only six games last season because of injuries, and Xavier Truss eight games there and another four at left guard, so he’s a returning starter no matter where he lines up, which is expected to be at right tackle.

Meanwhile, Morris most definitely is not a returning starter. Officially, he’s a backup to fellow junior Dylan Fairchild at left guard. But he most assuredly is a regular, splitting time with Fairchild at left guard and playing in all 14 games while also taking snaps at right guard and occasionally at tackle.

He truly is the “Sixth Man” for offensive line coach Stacy Searels, plugging in wherever the Bulldogs might end up with a hole, but at the very least rotating series with Fairchild at left guard.

“All of those guys are rolling,” Smart said. “Tate’s (Ratledge) been able to play some center, which has opened up some guard reps. You’ve got Dylan, Micah, all of those guys competing there at guard, so it’s been a good rotation.”

Indications are that Morris, who had some 5-star ratings as a recruiting prospect, is going to be hard to keep off the field this season. He spoke Tuesday about his journey from Kingsland and Camden County High to becoming a leader on a national-title contender.

On his relationship with Fairchild ...

“It’s actually funny, Dylan went to West Forsyth, so I played him two times back in high school. So, me and Dylan go way back, even before we knew we were teammates. We just want to get each other better. Pushing each other to be better all the time. At the end of the day, that’s my brother. We’ve been through a lot together, all the practices, runs, stuff like that. It’s definitely something great because whenever there are two solid players like me and Dylan just getting each other better, it’s making the team better, and that’s the goal.”

On the level of competition on Georgia’s offensive line …

“The first thing I would start off with is the amazing job (Georgia coaches do) as far as recruiters in the organization. Guys like myself and my teammates are usually All-Americans or top-tier players, regardless. The other thing we want to have here is the type (of player) that works hard, whether or not you’re necessarily in the rotation right now or you’re a freshman coming up. Coming in with the same mindset, to get better every day and going back to our core principles (of) trying to stay consistent with that and work as hard as we can to get each other better, thus making the games much easier and us able to reach our true potential.”

On his role as a “tone-setter” for the Bulldogs’ offense …

“That’s one of my favorite things. I like running into people. I like running over people. It’s just a mentality. Their mouthpiece better be in because mine is in, and I’m coming for you. That’s pretty much it.”

On his 2023 season ...

“I’ll say it was a blessing. Like I previously mentioned, all the hard work that we all put in, just accepting my role and knowing that my number was called up, I was going to have to go out there and perform. That can go for any one of us in the offensive line (group).”

On playing next to sophomore left tackle Earnest Greene III ...

“It’s awesome. Earnest Greene – don’t tell him I told you guys this – but he’s got some of the best feet I’ve ever seen in a tackle. I mess with him a lot, but it’s awesome, especially seeing him grow up. I was here before him and seeing him develop from how he was when he first came in to now, it’s still night and day now, even seeing how much he’s developed. I really appreciate him and all he does for me. Working with him is amazing.”

On playing some left tackle against FSU in the Orange Bowl …

“I came in here as a tackle. My first year, I was getting reps at tackle. Really, playing tackle shows my versatility, I would say, being able to play inside or outside. In practice, I pretty much play everything except center. … I like pulling more, but I’ll do whatever the team needs.”

On having to wait his turn at UGA …

“My mindset toward that stuff, it starts whenever you commit to a school. Commitment is for better or for worse. Things might not always work out how you want them to, but you keep pushing. You’ll feel better for staying and knowing that you gave it all you had rather than leaving and choosing another route. That’s just my mindset. Some people feel like they have a better opportunity somewhere else, and you can’t knock them for that either.”

On using his NIL money to buy gifts for kids in the Boys and Girls Clubs …

“My grandad and my grandma ended up passing this past year. As far as giving back to the youth, I’m from Camden County, southeast Georgia, and there wasn’t really a lot of stuff like that when I was around in my county. For me, knowing that the youth is going to end up shaping the future, I’m trying to help them and give them the best chance they have. Even if they didn’t start off with the bare minimum, (I’m) trying to at least give them that or have them have a good holiday. If I’m able to do that, that is what I would like to do.”