Reggie! Georgia veterans praise two freshmen Reggies

semerson@macon.comApril 5, 2013 

ATHENS - The early enrollee on defense who's been getting the most attention this spring has been Tray Matthews, and deservedly so from all accounts. But lately two others, who often cause confusion because of their name, have sparked praise from veteran teammates.

Cornerback Reggie Wilkinson has been working with the first-team the past week, after Sheldon Dawson's hamstring injury.

And Reggie Carter has been singled by several veterans for his play at inside linebacker. Arthur Lynch, a tight end, was particularly impressed.

"That kid's a stud," Lynch said after Thursday's practice. "He's gained like 18 pounds since he got here. He's only 18 years old. That kid is gonna be a stud, I think. He's coachable."

Carter has also been so eager to learn the defense that he has texted inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti, four or five times a night, from what Lynch has heard.

"That's pretty uncommon for a kid who's 18," Lynch said. "There's nothing I was even remotely doing towards the Georgia offense when I was (in) my spring semester of high school. So for him to come along that way I could see him having a very productive year for us if he remains healthy and keep's doing what he's doing."

Lynch added that Carter has good ball skills for a middle linebacker, making two interceptions in a scrimmage, including one he returned for a touchdown.

"He's not afraid to make plays either," linebacker Jordan Jenkins said. "He'll put his head down and knock somebody down. Him and (Ryne) Rankin both come down (and hit). I think Reggie's getting the playbook down a little bit more than Rankin at this time."

Carter was only rated a three-star prospect by most web sites, but his emergence isn't a huge surprise: Several recruiting analysts said the South Gwinnett High School graduate was a sleeper candidate for Georgia's 2013 class.

Wilkinson was a consensus four-star prospect, though overshadowed by other cornerbacks in Georgia's class (Shaq Wiggins, Brendan Langley). Wilkinson will still have to hold off those two, along with veteran Devin Bowman, for playing time. But he's made a good impression thus far.

"He's a very conscientious guy, wants to do things exactly right," defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said earlier this spring. "He's very hard on himself, and I think he's flashed, he's just gotta continue to work. I see him as a guy that can be in our rotation."

The only issue is their names.

"I hate that they're both named Reggie," Jenkins said. "I get Reggie Wilkinson mixed up with Quincy (Mauger), and I'll call Reggie Carter Reggie Wilkinson."

And Lynch at first referred to Reggie Jackson on Thursday, before correcting himself. Sort of.

"The other one's named Reggie Jackson," Lynch said, apparently meaning Wilkinson.

Now the question is whether these Reggies will play like Mr. April or Mr. October.

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