Can Thompson’s production be replaced? Will it need to be?
Trenton Thompson’s recent withdrawal from UGA for the rest of the semester has certainly worried fans. Despite having an inconsistent season, Thompson dominated in the bowl game against TCU, racking up 3 sacks in one game. This kind of production is what so many were expecting when he signed in 2015 and had many people predicting he could be set up for a breakout season in 2017.
Unfortunately, the medical issue that has withdrawn him from school will of course set back his development. There is no guarantee he will be back in 2017, the school is rightly keeping details of his issue under wraps so we really do not know his timetable. If he does return and is no worse for wear, he will likely lead what could able a dominant defensive front.
If anyone is going to pick up Thompson’s production, it’s likely to be Rochester. Having started 6 games in 2016, he was the second best lineman behind Thompson despite being a freshman. Fan’s should expect for him to take the starting job, at least until Thompson returns and perhaps for the whole season. He has the potential to be a dominant player on the line in 2017.
Tyler Clark had moments last year and will certainly be in the mix to get some snaps again this year, particularly if Thompson misses time. Freshman Devonte Wyatt is also worth keeping an eye on. He wan’t particularly highly ranked, but he has amazing raw tools. He will likely have the chance to learn behind some top tackles this year, but like the rest of the 2017 class, he’s coming in with the mentality to take a job.