By: Joe Vitale | August 9, 2018
Ever since Kirby Smart arrived in Athens along with offensive line coach Sam Pittman, they have insisted that the Bulldog offensive linemen get bigger, stronger and better. As the Dawgs approach the third year of the Kirby era, they have reached all three goals.
Last season the Dawgs’ O-Line paved the way for a conference-leading 5.8 yards per carry, gave up only 22 sacks and allowed Jake Fromm to average 9.0 yards per pass attempt, 2-best in the SEC.
With four starters returning and a heralded group of true freshmen and redshirt freshmen pushing them, Athlon Sports has ranked the Bulldogs’ offensive line No. 3 in country.
Two impressive recruiting cycles have given Georgia its most depth at offensive line in 40 years and probably its most talent ever. The competition for playing time will be fierce and don’t be surprised to see Coach Pittman take advantage of the new NCAA redshirt rules and play some of the true freshman this season.
The expected starting group includes:
Soph LT Andrew Thomas, 6’5”, 320
Sr LG Kendall Baker, 6’6”, 305
Sr C Lamont Gaillard, 6’2”, 308
RSoph RG Ben Cleveland, 6’6”, 335
RFr RT Isaiah Wilson 6’7”, 340
Key backups include Solomon Kindley, Sean Fogarty, Justin Shaffer, Netori Johnson, D’Marcus Hayes and heralded freshmen Trey Hill, Jamaree Slayer, Warren Ericson and Cade Mays.
Athlon Sports on Georgia’s line:
The improvement of Georgia’s offensive line was a big reason why the Bulldogs won the SEC and nearly won the program’s first national title since 1980. This unit gave up only 22 sacks and cleared the way for rushers to average 5.8 yards per carry. Four starters are back for 2018, including All-America candidate Andrew Thomas, who is slated to flip from right to left tackle to replace Isaiah Wynn. Center Lamont Gaillard returns after starting all 15 games last year, while Kendall Baker and Ben Cleveland are penciled in at guard. Former five-star recruit Isaiah Wilson takes over at right tackle. Coach Kirby Smart also has reinforcements coming from his freshman class in the form of Jamaree Slayer, Cade Mays and Trey Hill.
The Wisconsin Badgers are No. 1 on the list, followed by Alabama at No. 2.