Georgia Bulldogs: Underclassmen Improved vs. Mizzou


The Georgia Bulldogs may have won a field goal battle with the Missouri Tigers on Saturday, but there was noticeable improvement from the underclassmen.

There comes a game every fall where the game starts to slow down for some of the underclassmen as they push forward into the back half of their final two years of collegiate eligibility. Usually this surge from the younger half of the team can ignite the spark that gets the team playing its best football as the season begins to hit the home stretch. That game for the Georgia Bulldogs came in Week 7 at home versus the Missouri Tigers.

-= Related: Georgia Wins Field Goal Battle with Mizzou, 9-6 =-

Though Georgia already has many great players that are underclassmen (RB Nick Chubb, RB Sony Michel, DB Dominick Sanders, etc.), it normally takes even the best of high school prospects a season or so to figure out how to play at a high level in the Power 5.

Some players may need half a season, even a redshirt season, to not only earn playing time both thrive in their earned opportunities. On Saturday against Mizzou, I saw a handful of players that still have at least two more years of eligibility take the next step.

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It seems now that in the last few weeks that 5-Star Defensive Line Prospect Trent Thompson is carving out a roll in DL Coach Tracy Rocker‘s unit. Thompson has tremendous respect for Rocker, who won both the Outland Trophy and the Lombardi Award while at Auburn in the late 80’s.

Thompson seems to have the size and the quickness to play a DE/DT hybrid role. Trent is a gifted enough of an athlete to create several mismatches is he continues to grow in this hybrid 3-4 D-Line role.

DB Malkom Parrish has shown flashes of brilliance in 2015. His ability to strike with authority up on the line of scrimmage in press coverage impressed me early on. However, he didn’t always play with that conviction in either the Alabama or Tennessee games, both loses for the Georgia Bulldogs.

I see Parrish as a player that DC Jeremy Pruitt is trying to use in a risk/reward type of role defensively, putting him up on the line to make the quick stop. Should he miss his tackle, the ball carrier easily gets the first down.

Pruitt is using Parrish’s aggressiveness in a way I haven’t seen him use in a DB in the first two years of his coaching tenure. Though Mizzou’s offense struggled to move the ball, I have to believe that Parrish’s strong cover skills were a reason for true freshman QB Drew Lock‘s ineffectiveness in moving the chains.

We know that WR Malcolm Mitchell is the leading receiver on the Georgia Bulldogs. In recent games, it seems that QB Greyson Lambert is trying to establish a rapport with true freshman 5-Star WR Terry Godwin as his other main receiving option.

I didn’t expect Godwin to set the college football world ablaze as a true freshmen, but he seems to now have a better understanding of WR Coach Bryan McClendon‘s route trees and should become a reliable pass catcher for the Dawgs for many seasons.

If there was one player that impressed me the most with their performance against the Missouri Tigers, it was RS Sophomore OLB Davin Bellamy. Bellamy played an outstanding football game in OLB Jordan Jenkins‘ absence. What Davin did in that game proved to me that he can certainly start opposite of Lorenzo Carter next year when Jenkins and Leonard Floyd are playing on Sundays.

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I have a feeling that regardless of this season’s outcome, we will look back on the LB corps in absolute amazement. We will have had Leonard Floyd, Jordan Jenkins, Lorenzo Carter, Jake Ganus, and Davin Bellamy all on the same team!

With the biggest game of the season coming up in 11 days, expect the underclassmen and the rest of the Georgia Bulldogs to get excite for their date with the Florida Gators down in Jacksonville. After last year’s embarrassment to UF, there is no excuse for the Dawgs not to show up with the SEC East on the line. Go Dawgs!

Next: Georgia Bulldogs: SEC East Power Rankings, Week 8

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