Continuing our look at the Georgia football position battles, we look at a big prblem spot for UGA last year. Offensive Tackle.
Wynn started at left guard last year for the Georgia football team but he probably had better feet that Tyler Catalina who played most of the season there. While he has good feet, the issue with Wynn is his size. At only 6-2 and 280 lbs, he gets overpowered far too often at the point of attack. If he loses out at left tackle, he can be expected to compete for a guard spot.
Has only appeared in 5 games in his 3 years at UGA, but was the backup right tackle for all of 2016. At 6-6, 305 lbs, he has better size than Wynn but in comparison to the players that are coming in, he does lack for size. He’s yet to really display anything for fans to get too excited about.
A mountain of a man at 6-5, 341 lbs, Cleveland came the UGA last year as a very raw prospect. He’s possessed elite size his entire career and he came into Georgia as a tackle. That being said, he will likely be pushed inside, where his size and power can overcome his less than elite footwork.
The #2 overall tackle in the junior college ranks, Hayes was an early enrollee at UGA and has been on campus since January. Another 6-6 prospect, weighing 320lbs, he likely has the inside track at left tackle.
As a 5 star offensive tackle, Wilson might just be the most exciting of all of UGA’s 2017 recruits. He is an absolute monster of a man, apparently standing at over 6-7 and more than 350 lbs. He bullied several top pass rushing prospects at the Under Armour All American game and he has the potential to become a dominant right tackle.
One of the top players in the state of Georgia, Thomas is the prototype left tackle for the future. He has great size at 6-5 but the scouting reports are all over the map in terms of his weight. He is likely around 300 lbs and he needs time to gain some weight and improve his strength. He will likely redshirt in 2017 but look out for him to challenge hard for playing time when he comes in.
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Who takes over as left tackle?
With last years starter, Tyler Catalina heading out of Athens this season, the door is wide open at left tackle. D’Marcus Hayes look’s likely to be the second transfer student to come in and win the job in the last 2 years. Unlike Catalina, Hayes was an early enrollee and so will have had 8 months to learn the system before the season. He also has quicker feet then last years starter, a crucial component to the position.
Isaiah Wynn will likely be the biggest challenger for Hayes and he has previously held the position. Wynn lacks the ideal size and is often bullied by bigger defensive linemen. That being said, he has quick feet and decent technique which is how he’s been able to hold his own the past few years.
Andrew Thomas looks the part of a left tackle. Unfortunately, he could really use a year in a college weight program to get stronger before he faces the tough defensive fronts of the SEC. He and D’Antne Demery would likely both best be served by redshirting. They could then enter 2018 and both really challenge for playing time.
Will a freshman really start at right tackle?
Unlike Hayes, Isaiah Wilson is not currently on campus. He’s also still only 18 years old and the thought that he could arrive in the summer and start on day 1 seems far fetched. That being said, Wilson is a special talent. He is an imposing physical specimen who is already bigger than any linemen currently on campus.
Baker has the height that’s necessary to play as a tackle, but Wilson is already considerably heavier and could well be stronger before he arrives this summer. Baker often looked over-matched in the three games he played last year and he will have to improve to old off the competition that is coming in this year.
Ben Cleveland is a bit of a wildcard. He was a tackle in high school and certainly has the size for the position. He does however seem to lack the athleticism and it’s likely that he battles for a guard position in 2017. I’m of the opinion that his size and and attitude, will make him an excellent option on the inside so I think he will likely win a spot there and essentially backup at right tackle if needed. He certainly does not have the feet for the left side.
2017 Projected Depth Chart:
Left Tackle Right Tackle
- D’Marcus Hayes, Jr 1. Isaiah Wilson, Fr
- Isaiah Wynn, Sr 2. Kendall Baker, Jr
- Andrew Thomas, Fr (Redshirt) 3. Ben Cleveland, Fr (Guard)
- D’Antne Demery (Redshirt)
Georgia’s offensive line was a problem in 2016. There’s no other way to put it. What should hopefully give fans hope however, is just how much more talent seems to exist in this group in 2017. It might seem shocking to project 2 members of the 2017 class as starters at tackle but I firmly believe it’s going to happen. D’Marcus Hayes absolutely has the size and technique required to start on the left side and just offers so much more than Isaiah Wynn who is very limited.
I’m also a firm believer than Isaiah Wilson is going to be an instant impact player at UGA. The way he dominated at the All American game showed just how good he already is. There will be a learning curve and I expect him to make mistakes, but long term, I just think he is going to be too good of a right tackle to sit for any amount of time.