The annual offseason attrition marathon has continued in 2014 for the Georgia Bulldogs. This offseason has seen players leave Athens in a revolving door-type fashion. The hardest hit group was the secondary as potential superstar Josh Harvey-Clemons was dismissed from the program, and last year’s interception leader Shaq Wiggins decided to transfer.
The secondary was Georgia’s weakest group a year ago, and it got even weaker this offseason. Add the fact that another talented youngster in Tray Matthews may be suspended due to an offseason arrest, and all of a sudden it feels like a critical-mass situation for the Bulldogs’ first game against the Clemson Tigers.
They return Damian Swann as the only fixture in the secondary. Sheldon Dawson, it would seem, is in line to be the starter opposite Swann. That doesn’t breed confidence considering that as a sophomore, Dawson was supplanted by true freshmen Wiggins and Brendan Langley on the depth chart a year ago.
Georgia needs newcomers to step up in the secondary. There are some talented players from this year’s recruiting class in true freshmen Malkolm Parrish and Shaq Jones, as well as JUCO transfer Shattle Fenteng, who must get up to speed quickly and compete.
However, there are two newcomers who need to make the most of the opportunity in the fall, and they are already on the roster. Those two players are former running back J.J. Green and former wide receiver Tramel Terry.
Green made the move from offense this spring and wowed the new Bulldog coaching staff. He isn’t the biggest guy on the field, but flashed potential and could be a major contributor come fall. He needs to continue developing in 7-on-7 drills this summer and prove he can solidify the corner spot in camp.
Terry is a former five-star recruit who probably would have made his way into the starting lineup at receiver last year were it not for an ACL tear in a high school All-Star game that forced him to redshirt last season. He moved to safety during bowl practices and practiced there throughout the spring.
Terry has tremendous potential and athletic ability. He could be a game-changer for this defense in the fall if he can get the scheme down and get back into a defensive mindset. He was a backup through most of the spring, but with the attrition and lack of experience in the secondary, he could find himself as a starter.
For Georgia to play better pass defense next season, they need some playmakers. They have the pass rush ability in the front seven, now they need guys who can prove they can cover up the receiver long enough to get quarterbacks on the ground. Green and Terry could help this cause tremendously by developing into their potential.
Being former offensive players, they also bring ball skills to a secondary that was second to last in interceptions last season. Turnovers change games, and these two bring that ability to a secondary that struggled to force them last season. That will be key to the Bulldogs’ success in 2014.
There are more questions than answers for Georgia in the secondary. For the Bulldogs to improve defensively in 2014, they need Green and Terry to be answers.