The Georgia Bulldogs’ fifth-year quarterback Aaron Murray has always had offensive firepower in every direction in his already three years of playing career under center for the Bulldogs.
But in his five seasons in Athens, he will never have had the luxury of having so many talented wide receivers at his disposal than his senior and final season as the signal caller for the Dawgs this season.
This season, Georgia will bring back five wide receivers and nine altogether, including running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall and tight ends Jay Rome and Arthur Lynch, who caught at least 10 passes in 2012 for the Bulldogs.
Murray will have two of the most dynamic members of the group juniors Michael Bennett and Malcolm Mitchell playing together again for the first time in two years.
Mitchell, 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, is Georgia’s returning receiver after finishing 2012 with 40 catches for 572 yards and four touchdowns and returned 16 punts for about 22 yards per punt. He opened last season at cornerback, but after Bacarri Rambo and Sanders Commings returned from their suspensions, Mitchell made a move back to wide receiver against Tennessee and stayed there for the rest of the season. Georgia head coach Mark Richt envisions Mitchell being solely used on offense this season.
Bennett, 6-foot-3, 205 pounds was Georgia’s leading and go-to receiver before tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, which caused Bennett to miss the remainder of last season. Bennett pulled in 24 catches for 345 yards and four touchdowns, leading Georgia in every receiving category after five games. The Bulldogs, with offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, will strive to create mismatches down the field for the junior wideout. He is the Bulldogs go-to guy in pressure, tight situations.
The Bulldogs will also bring back a committee of receivers ready to contribute headed by senior Rantavious Wooten, who plays the slot and has the potential homerun threat because of his ability to find holes in the defense. Junior Chris Conley showed he could be a solid receiver in the Bulldogs pro-style attack late last season with 20 catches for over 340 yards and two touchdowns against Nebraska in the Capitol One Bowl. This could be the year that Conley emerges on the national scene as a solid compliment to Bennett and Mitchell in four-five wide set formations stretching the field.
Junior college transfer Jonathan Rumph, 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, brings added size to the group, with his ability to pluck away 50-50 balls from defenders. Rhett McGowan and Georgia track star, Justin Scott-Wesley also returns for the Dawgs corps. Scott-Wesley has that track, top-notch speed that could be used as a deep threat for Bobo’s offense this season.
Add that with talented freshman Reggie Davis, Tramel Terry, Uriah LeMay and Blake Tibbs and you’re found out why Mark Richt is very happy with the future of the Bulldog offense for many years to come with the talent that is being filled at the wide receiver position.
There is no doubt that the fifth-year Aaron Murray has many offensive weapons this season on his side. The running game with Marshall and Gurley and the explosive passing game to Bennett, Conley, Mitchell, Wooten, Lynch and Rome should prove why all the experts have the Bulldogs barking at the door in the SEC race in 2013.
This could be the year that a Georgia quarterback throws for over 4,000 for the first time in school history with the cast of the best receiver group in school history as well.
This puts Georgia in contention for a national title in Pasadena come this January.
Or is this the national title when they rematch with Alabama in Atlanta?