SPRING PREVIEW 2023 – DEFENSIVE LINE
ATHENS — By now, most everyone who follows Georgia football closely knows that Nazir Stackhouse is a TikTok star.
“Star” might be a slight exaggeration compared with the most popular personalities featured on the short-form-video, social-media app. But the Bulldogs’ nose guard has a sizable TikTok fan base, with more than 53,000 followers. And undoubtedly he is a prolific producer of content. Stackhouse has posted dozens – could it be hundreds? – of videos on his channels. Accordingly, he has received more than 1.5 million likes.
One of Stackhouse’s favorite parodies on that platform involves people constantly mistaking him for Jordan Davis. Since he showed up at UGA from Stone Mountain in 2020, Stackhouse has had fans and fellow students come up and ask, “Are you Jordan Davis?” and want his autograph or something. That really was prevalent in 2021, when Davis’ popularity exploded because of his play on the field.
Starting last season, Stackhouse’s play began to resemble Davis on the field.
That’s something Stackhouse can take some pride in now.
“Playing behind those guys was a privilege and an honor. I enjoyed even being in a room with them,” Stackhouse said of Davis and fellow linemates Travon Walker and Devonte Wyatt. “I had fun even watching film with them, watching them play. I knew eventually my time was going to come, and I had to learn from these guys.”
While he has yet to receive the recognition or fame of Davis, or other teammates, Stackhouse played a big role in Georgia bringing home back-to-back national championships. That was especially true last season.
A 6-foot-3, 320-pound junior from Columbia High School, Stackhouse was one of only eight players to start all 15 games for the Bulldogs last season. And all of those starts came at nose guard, the position at which Davis flourished the season before.
“Stack’s been really consistent,” defensive line coach Tray Scott said before the national championship game in January. “Game in and game out, he’s done a good job of playing the run and working hard to transition rush and just being a good anchor and being solid inside. It’s been really good to see because he saw how Jordan and Devonte did it last year, and even Zion (Logue), because Zion played just as much as those guys.
“So, ‘Stack’ didn’t have a huge role (in 2021), but he waited for his time and took advantage of it. That’s been awesome to see.”
As always, Scott moves his interior down linemen back-and-forth and in-and-out and switches responsibilities among them regularly. But Stackhouse’s primary spot is nose guard, and his primary charge is stopping the run. That’s how he ended up starting 15 contests last season.
Stackhouse’s numbers last season were comparable to Davis, who also moved around a lot on the interior line. As a senior, Davis had 32 tackles for the Bulldogs, while Stackhouse had 33 stops last season. Where Davis differentiated himself was making plays behind the line of scrimmage. Stackhouse had three tackles for loss last season, compared with Davis’ 11.5. Davis finished with two sacks and seven for his career, while the only career sack Stackhouse has recorded came as a sophomore in 2021.
Sacks and TFLs are not necessarily an important stat for the position Stackhouse plays, but they’re areas in which Stackhouse would like to improve.
Football and academics keep Stackhouse busy enough, but as his TikTok popularity has grown, so has the public’s desire for new content.
“I’m having to manage it more now,” Stackhouse said. “People always, like, ‘Come on, Naz, where’s that new video at? We need a video!’ So, I try to be consistent for people to follow, but I also know what’s most important.”
That, of course, is stuffing the run for the Bulldogs.
- Returning starters: NG Nazir Stackhouse (6-3, 320, Sr.), DE Tramel Walthour (6-3, 280, Sr.), DT Zion Logue (6-5, 295, Sr.)
- Starters lost: DT Jalen Carter
- All eyes on: DT Bear Alexander (6-3, 305, So.), DE Mykel Williams (6-5, 265, So.)
- Outlook: The obvious storyline on the defensive front is replacing the possibly irreplaceable Carter. Then again, that’s what the college football world was saying last year when Georgia stared at the prospect of replacing three NFL first-round picks in Travon Walker, Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt. Though not as dominant overall in 2022, the Bulldogs once again sported one of the best D-lines in the country. And while Carter was otherworldly when he was on the field, he was unable to play most of six games, missing two entirely and playing less than one quarter in two others. The Bulldogs can utilize Logue and Stackhouse at any of the interior positions and will do that. But it’s Alexander, mostly, that UGA is counting on to replicate some of Carter’s interior playmaking. Alexander showed steady progress throughout the season and finished with nine tackles and two sacks. Likewise, Williams proved a solid edge-setter last season at end while spelling Walthour, who will be back for a sixth college season. Georgia also has returnees with experience in senior Warren Brinson and sophomores Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins, Jonathan Jefferson and Christen Miller. Freshman signees Jordan Hall and Jamaal Jarrett will be available if needed.
- Up next: Running backs
This is part three 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 March 14. The Bulldogs will conduct 15 practices over 32 days, culminating with the annual G-Day spring intrasquad game April 15 at Sanford Stadium.