ATHENS, Ga. — Several of Georgia’s top commitments on the defensive side of the ball made it official on Wednesday, but just where they might line up once they arrive remains a bit of a mystery.
Star defensive back Alec Ogletree will begin camp at safety, coach Mark Richt said, but there’s a chance he could end up at linebacker at some point.
At 6-foot-6, 215 pounds, defensive end T.J. Stripling has the prototypical frame for an outside linebacker, and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said that’s a move any of the Bulldogs’ ends could make, including new recruits Brandon Burrows, Jalen Fields and Dexter Morant. Even prized prospect Garrison Smith, who played defensive tackle in high school, could find he fits better at end in Grantham’s 3-4 scheme.
“Any of these guys you bring in, you get them working, then you evaluate and see where they can help you, wherever that may be,” defensive backs coach Scott Lakatos said.
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And for now, Grantham said finding a home for players who have yet to arrive on campus is a secondary priority.
“It’s kind of early because we’re still evaluating our guys,” Grantham said. “Once we get our guys in place, we’ll figure out what the best matchups and best scenarios are.”
The process of evaluating the current Georgia players is one Grantham began several weeks ago, breaking down film on each player and working to decide where they might fit in.
The results aren’t exactly in yet, he said. But they’re not too far off, either.
“We’re getting closer,” Grantham said. “It’ll be sooner than later, but nothing’s ever etched in stone. We’re going to start some guys out at positions and see how they handle it. But I can tell you that nothing is etched in stone right now, and we’ll be constantly tweaking it throughout spring ball and into the fall to get our best players on the field at all times.”
That’s a plan Lakatos is on board with, and he might take it even a step further.
Film study provided an initial gauge, spring practice will add more, and the fall will see the arrival of the new freshmen — but it might be years before everyone has found a home, and even then things will be re-evaluated with each new matchup.
“Sometimes people’s ability correlates to what you’re trying to stop and how they can help you that week may be different than the previous week,” Lakatos said. “And then players change. Players develop at different rates than other players. So it’s a constant evaluation of who the best guys are and what’s the best situation.”
As good as advertised
Georgia’s newest safety, Jakar Hamilton, arrived from Georgia Military College with a pretty impressive reputation. Grantham, Lakatos and the rest of the Bulldogs’ staff had seen him on tape enough to know he had plenty of ability. But there’s always a concern about how a player will react to a new environment.
In Georgia’s first few days of offseason conditioning, however, Lakatos said Hamilton has gone a long way toward eliminating any of those worries.