Spring preview: Georgia receiving corps approaching elite status

Georgia wide receiver George Pickens (1) celebrates his touchdown reception with Kearis Jackson during the first half against Cincinnati in the NCAA college football Peach Bowl game on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, in Atlanta. Georgia beat Cincinnati 24-21. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
Georgia wide receiver George Pickens (1) celebrates his touchdown reception with Kearis Jackson during the first half against Cincinnati in the NCAA college football Peach Bowl game on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, in Atlanta. Georgia beat Cincinnati 24-21. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

The Georgia Bulldogs will open spring football practice March 16. Each day between now and then, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution will break down the various position groups, analyze the personnel and examine their relative spring-practice objectives. G-Day, the annual spring intrasquad scrimmage, is scheduled for April 17 at Sanford Stadium.

SPRING FOOTBALL PREVIEW – TODAY: WIDE RECEIVERS

ATHENS – Georgia has been a bit snake-bitten at receiver. The Bulldogs always seem have their fair share of exceptional pass-catchers on the roster, but keeping them all on the field through the course of an entire season has been a never-ending challenge.

Last year was a great example. The Bulldogs didn’t even get to the first game before Dominick Blaylock, a projected starter at slotback, was sidelined for the season with a knee injury.

Then George Pickens went down with a shoulder issue in the middle of the season, missing the Kentucky and Florida games. Just as freshman Marcus-Rosemy-Jacksaint began to emerge as a consistent threat, he suffered a broken leg on a touchdown catch against Gators and was lost for the season.

Well, everybody’s back now. And along with having quarterback JT Daniels back to deliver the football, optimism about Georgia’s passing game is as high as it has been since Aaron Murray was quarterback.

RETURNING STARTERS (3): Junior George Pickens, junior Kearis Jackson, sophomore Jermaine Burton

OTHERS: Senior Demetris Robertson, redshirt freshman Arian Smith, sophomore Dominick Blaylock, sophomore Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint, redshirt freshman Justin Robinson, redshirt freshman Ladd McConkey, freshman Jackson Meeks, freshman. Adonai Mitchell

ALL EYES ON: George Pickens

OUTLOOK: There’s a reason why Tommy Bush, Matt Landers, Makiya Tongue and Trey Blount sought and were granted transfers. They simply weren’t going to get on the field much with the Bulldogs in 2021. Of the group remaining, any who earn their place in the rotation will have to be truly exceptional to do so. The returning starters each are all-SEC caliber – at least. And if Pickens can stay out of trouble and off the injury list, he should be in position to become Georgia’s first consensus All-American receiver in school history. … Nine of the Bulldogs’ top 10 receivers from 2020 return, including five wideouts. Jackson led Georgia with 36 catches for 514 yards and three touchdowns, which was the same number of catches, one yard more and three touchdowns less than Pickens. … Excitement abounds about redshirt freshman Arian Smith. A track star, he might be fastest player in Georgia football history. He flashed tremendous deep-ball potential in limited work (four games) because of injuries last year. His two catches went for 86 yards and a touchdown. … Neither Blaylock nor Rosemy-Jacksaint are cleared for spring practice. However, both are straight-line running and working out and should be good to go in the fall, according to coach Kirby Smart. Blaylock had a second knee surgery in a year in September, and Rosemy-Jacksaint required surgery for a lower-leg fracture suffered in the first quarter against Florida on Nov. 7.

UP NEXT: Specialists (Monday)

PREVIOUSLY: Offensive line, quarterback, running backs, tight ends

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