SPRING PREVIEW 2023 – RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS
ATHENS — It’s inevitable. All the fuss and attention this spring is going to be directed toward the two newest members of Georgia’s receiving corps who joined the team via the transfer portal. That’s just human nature.
The reality is, the Bulldogs had a solid group whether Dominic Lovett and Rara Thomas showed up from their previous SEC addresses. Nevertheless, their presence certainly adds fuel to a high-octane offense that already featured a lot of options for new offensive coordinator Mike Bobo and whoever ends up being Georgia’s quarterback in 2023.
Those options, of course, start with Georgia’s tight ends. And in the special case of rising junior Brock Bowers, the tight-end distinction really doesn’t do due justice to his role in the offense. While he occasionally lines up as a traditional tight end, or the “Y” position, he just as often mans the F, G or Z position. There might even be a situation in which the 6-foot-4, 230-pound athlete will line up as a good ol’ RB.
So, Bowers must always and will continue to be Option 1. But Lovett and Thomas didn’t change addresses to become window dressing. They might not expect the ball as much as they were getting it at Missouri and Mississippi State, respectively, but you can bet they’re going to want to see it come their way regularly.
The same can be said for those who have been toiling in the Bulldogs’ rotation for years. So far, though, the newbies have received a generous welcome.
“I’m open-arms to whoever comes to join the Georgia family,” said split end Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint, a returning starter and rising senior. “I’m going to make sure they’re welcomed here. I want to do my part like others did for me when I came in, helping them learn the plays and everything you’ve got to get acclimated with. They’re my new brothers.”
It’s an impressive brotherhood, too. No. 8 Lovett (56-843-3) and No. 18 Thomas (44-626-7) add to a receiving corps that already included No. 4 Bowers (63-942-7) and No. 10 Ladd McConkey (58-762-7), which gives the Bulldogs four of the SEC’s top 18 receivers from 2022. Add to that experienced veterans such as Rosemy-Jacksaint, speedy flanker Arian Smith, sophomore tight end Oscar Delp and up-and-comers just showing up or patiently waiting in the wings, and it’s evident that Georgia is loaded when it comes to receiving targets.
The key, the Bulldogs say, is being unselfish and contributing however one can.
“You’ve got to be selfless,” said Rosemy-Jacksaint, a world-class downfield blocker. “It’s a team sport. You’re trying to make everybody better. Everybody’s got to eat. If you’ve got to go crack that linebacker or safety on a play, it’s not about you. It’s about that running back that’s coming for that hole or that tight end coming across that you’ve got to make a block for. It’s a mentality thing, a want-to thing.”
Rosemy-Jacksaint definitely has the right attitude. The 6-2, 200-pound player has amassed 493 yards on 40 receptions and three touchdowns during his Georgia career.
But he said the only total he’s interested in increasing in 2023 is championship rings. That currently stands at three.
- Returning starters (3): TE Brock Bowers, FL Ladd McConkey, SE Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint
- Starters lost (1): TE Darnell Washington
- All eyes on: Dominick Lovett and Rara Thomas
- Outlook: Optimism abounds for a receiving corps that, on paper, lost some huge assets. Among the players missing that were targets for quarterback Stetson Bennett last season are split end Adonai “A.D.” Mitchell (transferred to Texas), slotbacks Kearis Jackson (NFL) and Dominick Blaylock (undecided transfer) and tight ends Washington (NFL) and Arik Gilbert (transferred to Nebraska). But just between Bowers, Lovett, McConkey and Thomas, the Bulldogs feature four players who averaged 55 receptions, 794 yards and six TDs a year ago. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs have many other players they’re eager to see what they can do. Speed abounds among that set, including redshirt junior Arian Smith, sophomore Dillon Bell and freshman Yazeed Haynes. Depending on how well the new quarterback develops, it would seem the Bulldogs will have no choice but to throw the ball often in 2023.
- Up next: Secondary
This is part six of an eight-part series breaking down each position group as the two-time defending national champion Georgia Bulldogs get ready to start spring practice Tuesday. The Bulldogs will conduct 15 practices over 32 days, culminating with the annual G-Day spring intrasquad game April 15 at Sanford Stadium.
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