The Biletnikoff Award preseason watch list was released on Tuesday, and no Chris Conley, no Michael Bennett, no Malcolm Mitchell. Where oh where have the Georgia Bulldogs gone?Yes, the award that is presented annually to the top collegiate receiver in the nation is not looking at any of Georgia’s wideouts as potential winners.
UGA had the 2nd highest passing offense in the SEC (behind Texas A&M) and was #15 in the country last year. The Dawgs lose Aaron Murray, but redshirt senior QB Hutson Mason looks to be picking up where Murray left off. In his two starts against Georgia Tech and Nebraska, and taking over for most of the Kentucky game after Murray’s injury, Mason averaged 193 YPG and 14 YPC.
So why aren’t any of UGA’s receivers on the Biletnikoff watch list?
Simple answer: UGA’s pass offense is spread across too many players, including a tight end, and even a running back. Last year, five receivers had over 400 yards receiving. Georgia loses only 2 of those receivers – Rantavious Wooten and Arthur Lynch.
The receiving corps adds Brendan Langley from the defense, and Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley return from season-ending injuries. Jay Rome takes over for Lynch at tight end, and a host of other receivers like Jonathan Rumph and Reggie Davis showed plenty of potential last year to share in the receiving duties.
The Biletnikoff Award goes to the best wide receiver in the country. Last year’s winner, Brandin Cooks (Oregon State) had 120 catches for 1670 yards, 15 TDs and averaged 13.9 YPC. He beat out the other finalists, Mike Evans (Texas A&M) and Sammy Watkins (Clemson). Other SEC players on this year’s watch list include Amari Cooper (Alabama), Sammie Coates (Auburn), Jameon Lewis (Mississippi State) and Laquon Treadwell (Ole Miss).
Here are last year’s leading receivers from UGA that are returning:
Chris Conley 45 Rec, 651 yards, 14.5 YPC, 4 TDs, 59.2 YPG
Michael Bennett 41 rec, 538 yards, 13.1 YPC, 4 TDs, 48.9 YPG
Todd Gurley 37 rec, 441 yards, 11.9 YPC, 6 TDs, 44.1 YPG
It wouldn’t be surprising to see at least one or more of those receivers end up being added to the list as the season moves along.
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