Bulldogs Blog

Scott-Wesley is back on track ... for football

ATHENS - Appropriately, Justin Scott-Wesley came to interviews on Thursday wearing a UGA track shirt.

The freshman receiver didn't play in a Georgia football game last fall, his services not needed at a deep position. So the speedster filled the competitive void by joining the Bulldog indoor track team.

It wasn't just a lark: Scott-Wesley was a three-time state champion at Mitchell County High School, twice winning the 200 meters and once the 100.  At one point he clocked a state-record time in the 100 meters - and then announced at the award stand that he would be playing football at Georgia.

The track success wasn't as immediate at the college level - his highest finish was third in a 60-meter event - but it did keep him busy and in shape.

"I think it helped a lot with my flexibility, getting my legs right," Scott-Wesley said. "Just staying in shape and competing."

So now football is the main stage again for the native of Camilla. The first week of practice seems to have gone well for Scott-Wesley, who has been in the main rotation at receiver.

Speed may be his best attribute. But Scott-Wesley, listed at 5-foot-11, knows he has to show more.

"The coaches know I'm fast. They've seen me run," he said. "Basically I'm just trying to find my way in the offense, just try to show the coaches I'm ready to play."

So far he has, according to second-string quarterback Hutson Mason.

"He's another prime example of what a year has done for him in redshirting and getting bigger," Mason said. "He's a track guy, so he's one of our deep-ball type threat guys. Any time we can get one-on-one with Justin Scott we like that matchup. Just because that speed, not a lot of guys have that. And not just the speed, his hands have improved a lot since last year, and his knowledge of the offense. ... He's gonna be a big threat for us this year on offense."

Head coach Mark Richt said he was "pretty anxious" to see what Scott-Wesley could do in game-like situations - or even just in pads. Because he can show out in practice drills that are just about skill and speed.

"Justin has got a lot of ability," Richt said. "He caught a deep ball (Tuesday) that was really special. He's got great potential. We'll see how smooth he can become and how confident he can become in game-like situations. Because if you just watch him throwing routes on air or even one-on-ones, or even pass skeleton, you see the potential that he has."

Scott-Wesley might have also benefited from the absence of Malcolm Mitchell, the star receiver who has switched to cornerback for the spring. Mitchell may actually be the only person on the team faster than Scott-Wesley. And yes, they have raced.

"Once, but it wasn't that serious," said Scott-Wesley, adding sheepishly: "I think he got me."

But it may have been tainted.

"He might've false-started," Scott-Wesley said. "He's not gonna say he false-started."

Mitchell is likely to still play some receiver, leaving the spot very crowded. But Scott-Wesley thinks he's done enough to get on the field this time.

"That's the goal," he said. "I'm working hard. So I just work hard, and you can't deny hard work. So I should be out there."