UGA football’s offensive line has been known for elite talent, but coaching will need to shine this year as three-star recruits like Justin Shaffer take over starting jobs.
UGA football needs to replace four starting offensive linemen this season, which is no small task in the SEC. Fortunately, one of the players stepping up is a senior with some experience as a starter. That player is Justin Schaffer from Ellenwood.
Shaffer signed with Georgia in 2017 as a three-star prospect ranked No. 388 overall in the 247Sports Composite. Other linemen in that class included five-star Isaiah Wilson, and top-100 four-star prospects Andrew Thomas and Netori Johnson. Shaffer was understandably overshadowed.
To his credit, Shaffer has had no problems getting on the field. He appeared in 12 games in 2018 and appeared in six games last season before an injury forced him to miss the last eight games. Other injuries forced him to start against Tennessee and South Carolina. He actually played on every offensive snap against the Volunteers.
[Note: Watch Justin Shaffer #54 in the breakdown of Jake Fromm’s performances against Tennessee.]
[Note: WatchShaffer in the breakdown of D’Andre Swift’s performances against Tennessee.]
At 6-5 and 356 lbs., Shaffer is a monster in the middle of the offensive line and he’s much quicker than he looks. In the running game, Shaffer fires off the snap and engages with a defender instantly. In the passing game, he’s just as efficient. Shaffer had a perfect game protecting Fromm in his first career start. No defender came close to breaking through Shaffer for a sack.
Shaffer brings valuable experience to Georgia’s offensive line this season. Even before joining the starting lineup in 2019, he played a lot of meaningful minutes. Before his injury, he had spent a season and a half as the clear-cut backup at left guard, rotating in the game at times and always on standby.