It felt a bit weird to do a depth chart without Aaron Murray as the first name. But life goes on for the Georgia offense, which this spring will have a lot of big names other than Murray also missing: Arthur Lynch and three offensive line starters (Kenarious Gates, Chris Burnette and Dallas Lee) have also moved on. There will also be a number of players either sitting out spring practice or only practicing on a limited basis.
But there will still be plenty of position battles and interesting things to watch. Not as much as on defense (more on that at a later date) but still some intrigue. So let's dive in with our projected pre-spring depth chart for the Georgia offense:
Starter: Hutson Mason, Sr.
Top backup(s): Faton Bauta, R-Soph., Brice Ramsey, R-Fr.
And don’t forget: Jacob Park, Fr.
The skinny: Mason has the job barring injury or anything else unforeseen, but the battle between Bauta and Ramsey will be one of the most intriguing of the spring, and is likely to carry into the preseason. Park, the team’s only early enrollee, could wiggle his way into things, but he almost certainly will redshirt this fall.
Starter: Todd Gurley, Jr.
Top backup(s): Keith Marshall, Jr.
And don’t forget: Brendan Douglas, Soph., A.J. Turman, R-Fr.
Not here yet: Nick Chubb, Fr., Sony Michel, Fr.
The skinny: Gurley’s health and how he’s handled during the spring will be another intriguing subplot. Marshall will not participate, however, as he continues to recover from ACL surgery. Douglas and Turman will get a lot of reps, as they did last year, but even more with J.J. Green moved to defense. It will be critical for the pair to have good springs, because Chubb and Michel, once they arrive, are capable of moving quickly up the depth chart.
Starter: Merritt Hall, Jr.
Top backup: Quayvon Hicks, Jr.
And don’t forget: Taylor Maxey, Sr., Cameron Faulkner, Sr.
The skinny: Hicks actually won’t work much if at all at fullback during the spring. He’ll concentrate on tight end, not as a permanent switch but in order to get ready for an H-back role, according to offensive coordinator Mike Bobo. Still, all indications are Hall, the former walk-on, is in good shape to be the top fullback this fall. Maxey and Faulker, both walk-ons, will get a lot of reps as well.
Starter: Malcolm Mitchell, R-Jr.
Basically also a starter: Chris Conley, Sr.
And don’t forget: Reggie Davis, Soph., Blake Tibbs, R-Soph.
Starter: Michael Bennett, R-Sr.
Top backup: Justin Scott-Wesley, R-Jr.
And don’t forget: Jonathan Rumph, Sr., Kenneth Towns, R-Soph., Uriah LeMay, R-Fr., Michael Erdman, Sr.Not here yet: Isaiah McKenzie, Fr., Gilbert Johnson, Fr., Shakenneth Williams, Fr.
The skinny: Mitchell may not do very much this spring, especially contact-wise, and Scott-Wesley will do even less. That leaves practice reps for the players who will be competing to get into the rotation: Tibbs, Rumph, Towns and LeMay. (The thinking here is Davis is basically set as the fifth guy.)
Starter: Jay Rome, Jr.
Top backup: Jordan Davis, R-Fr.
And don’t forget: Jack Looman, Jr., Jared Chapple, Soph.
Not here yet: Jeb Blazevich, Fr., Hunter Atkinson, Fr.
The skinny: Rome, still recovering from foot surgery, isn’t likely to do much this spring. So Davis will spent virtually the entire spring working with the first team, giving him a good chance to develop a rapport with Mason. When the fall arrives, look for either Blazevich or Atkinson to emerge as the third-teamer, while the other will take a redshirt. The lack of depth at the position was a big reason Georgia signed Atkinson.
Starter: John Theus, Jr.
Top backup: Mark Beard, Sr. .
The skinny: Theus being moved to this spot was once considered a fait accompli, but when it took so long to do it the assumption became it never would. So now that the coaches done it, you have to think the job belongs to Theus, who earned praise from Bobo for his offseason workouts. It’s a disappointment to Beard, who was the top backup to Kenarious Gates the past two seasons, and now might spend most of his spring trying to earn the job at left guard. Right now it’s not certain who will emerge as Theus’ top backup, so for now we’ll still list Beard. .
Starter: Brandon Kublanow, Soph.
Top backup:Mark Beard, Sr.
The skinny: It actually could be an even competition between Kublanow and Beard, but something tells us that if Beard started out with the edge he wouldn’t have decided to transfer, only to change his mind quickly. Kublanow got some game experience last year – not much, but some, so that helps. Also keep an eye on Watts Dantzler and Greg Pyke, who will be working at right guard.
Starter: David Andrews, Sr.
Top backup: Hunter Long, R-Jr.
The skinny: While every other starting spot can be inscribed with a pencil – even Theus – this is the one spot you can break out the pen. Andrews will be a three-year starter, and he’s also the emotional captain of the line. But since he’s entering his final year, it bears watching who they settle on as his backup. Will it be Long, who technically was the backup last year? (But if Andrews had been hurt Chris Burnette would have shifted over from guard.) Or will they work in a younger player like Josh Cardiello, who redshirted as a freshman last year?
Starter: Watts Dantzler, Sr.
Top backup: Greg Pyke, R-Soph.
The skinny: Dantzler saw action at this spot last season, spelling Burnette for several series per game. He enters the spring as the favorite. Pyke is a guy who at various times has been close to cracking the main rotation, so he bears watching at both guard spots.
Starter: Kolton Houston, Sr.
Top backup: Zach DeBell, Jr.
The skinny: This spot could end up being wide open. Ideally the staff would like to play three tackles, with a third “swingman” between both spots. Houston has played guard too, so he could still end up being a factor at one of those spots – but only if another tackle prospect emerges.
Don’t forget: T Xzavier Ward, Jr., G Josh Cardiello, R-Fr., G Aulden Bynum, R-Fr.
Not here yet: T Dyshon Sims, Fr., T Kendall Baker, Fr., G Isaiah Wynn, Fr., T Jake Edwards, Fr.
The skinny: Depth-wise, Georgia doesn’t need any of the freshmen to play right away, but there’s room for them to compete once they arrive in the fall. In the meantime, the spring will be a big opportunity for youngsters like Cardiello and Bynum. Ward, who finished last spring as the starter at right tackle, has faced so many injuries during his career that you have to approach him warily. If he can stay healthy, he could be a factor at either tackle spot. But until then
Coming soon: The pre-spring depth chart on defense.