Given the combination of Kirby Smart’s cunning defensive football prowess with his stellar recruiting abilities, it should come as no surprise that the 2018/19 Dawgs flaunt some of the deepest and highest quality defensive talent the program has ever seen.
With that said, many have speculated that the secondary could be the area that could be exploited.
Kirby Smart acknowledged this during preseason in August, saying about his secondary that “the biggest concern would be depth. I don’t know if we have enough depth.”
Last year, UGA lost valuable players in the secondary including all time interception leader Dominick Sanders and veterans Aaron Davis and Malkom Parrish. Although there will still be a strong veteran presence in this year’s secondary with senior safety J.R. Reed and junior corner Deandre Baker, the other two spots will likely be filled with inexperienced players.
Sophomores William Poole, Richard LeCounte, Deangelo Gibbs, and Mark Webb all figure to get plenty of opportunities this season, along with redshirt freshman Eric Stokes. Perhaps the most captivating young talent of the bunch is 5 star freshman corner Tyson Campbell, who enjoyed an effective debut against Austin Peay in which he registered 3 tackles and 1 pass deflection.
Against Austin Peay, this young group had a fun and impressive start to the season, not being tested very much in route to a shut out. They would be wise to expect something very different this coming Saturday in Williams-Brice Stadium.
When the Dawgs face South Carolina this Saturday they will clash against a legitimate aerial duo in quarterback Jake Bentley and receiver Deebo Samuel. Smart did not hesitate to praise Samuel during his press conference on Monday.
“He’s probably the most underrated player in all of college football,” Smart said. “I don’t know that everyone in the country knows what the SEC knows about Deebo Samuel. The guy is phenomenal.”
Samuel is coming off of a torn ACL suffered last season, but the dynamic threat torched UGA for 90 yards just 2 seasons ago and he will be hungry for more.
The Gamecocks are coming into this game with utmost confidence, and it will be extremely fun to see how UGA and its young secondary will respond away from home.