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How will Demetris Robertson factor into Georgia’s wide receiver rotation?

Georgia offensive coordinator James Coley meets with media for first time in new role

James Coley, offensive coordinator for the Georgia Bulldogs, talks to media August 5, 2019 about keeping energy up in preseason practice and taking on a new role. Coley was named offensive coordinator in January 2019.
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James Coley, offensive coordinator for the Georgia Bulldogs, talks to media August 5, 2019 about keeping energy up in preseason practice and taking on a new role. Coley was named offensive coordinator in January 2019.

Demetris Robertson’s first touch at Georgia illustrated his first season with the program.

Receiving a carry on a jet sweep play. All of the hype surrounding his five-star moniker and a productive freshman season at Cal.

A burst of speed for a 72-yard run against Austin Peay. In that instant, Sanford Stadium was sent into an uproar, and the potential for a bolting player known as “Super Sonic” flashed before the fan base’s eye.

Crossing the pylon for a touchdown. Fading away from the spotlight view and slipping toward the back of a then-veteran receiver depth chart.

Robertson only had three more touches on the season after a thunderous (and lightning fast) introduction. It had to be a unique situation for a player who showed early stardom at Cal and received a hardship waiver to play with the Bulldogs immediately … only to record 37 more rushing yards and no catches.

He found himself buried within a group of talents — Mecole Hardman, Riley Ridley and Terry Godwin — who are now on NFL rosters and had deficiencies in blocking.

A season later, things are more favorable. Robertson has had a full spring — one in which Georgia running back D’Andre Swift praised the receiver for — and a preseason camp to improve upon those keys to playing time. Georgia’s group has entered a reboot period with some younger faces taking over. And that speed already gives an advantage.

“He has to play well within our system and play better than the people in front of him,” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said. “That’s his challenge. He’s got to be in the top six and I fully expect him to do that.”

Robertson hasn’t been discussed among the Bulldogs’ top receivers coming out of preseason camp. A lot of that is due to popularity around freshman George Pickens and a few circus catches which display his potential. From the moment Robertson stepped onto campus, however, he emerged as a fan favorite and one that demonstrates speed for a jaw-dropping play or two.

Georgia currently runs Tyler Simmons and Matt Landers as first-team outside receivers. Offensive coordinator James Coley has played Robertson at different spots, but he could see time at slot receiver once the season opener hits on Aug. 31. Coley has shown pleasure with Robertson’s development, but there are still progressions being made.

And another step or two in development might be necessary before Robertson takes a significant role.

“He’s definitely a guy who has a great skill set. He’s fast, he’s quick,” Coley said. “We just have to continue to develop him into the type of player we need him to be. I think that was the biggest part for him to continue to grow within our system.”

Once Robertson shows consistency in blocking, those qualities that back his nickname could cause problems for SEC defenses. Georgia saw it translate with Hardman, and he turned out to be a second-round draftee after entering the program as a cornerback. Robertson, draft eligible after this season, likely anticipates a similar leap.

Along with working at the receiver position, Robertson also sees reps on punt and kick return units. That’s when his speed is best displayed, and Georgia has a crew of speedsters. Cornerback Eric Stokes, a high-school track star at Eastside, said it’s a coin toss as to who could win a race between the two. But when he has to cover Robertson, the sophomore definitely see quick legs playing a factor.

“It’s just speed,” Stokes said. “You can’t mess up, because he will leave you in a hurry.”

Once Robertson gets another opportunity, it might tell a different tale. Not in the result, but the frequency of seeing the pylon.

“He’s an amazing player. He’s the same guy he was,” safety Richard LeCounte said. “He’s definitely stronger, faster and something you expect to see from guys every year.”

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