UGA football is only replacing one starter in the defensive backfield. Lewis Cine will take over the spot after an impressive freshman season.
Cine began 2019 as the “closer” making big plays late in blowout games to preserve Georgia’s dominant lead. He intercepted a pass against Arkansas State in the end zone to preserve a shutout and later recorded a sack to keep Tennessee from scoring a cheap touchdown in the fourth quarter.
As 2019 progressed, Cine began transitioning from the “closer” to a starter. His playing time became more meaningful late in the year and he even started in the SEC Championship Game and the Sugar Bowl, playing very well in both outings.
Replacing J.R. Reed would be a daunting task for most players around the country, but Cine seems to have all the tools needed to surpass Reed. He wasn’t known for his coverage skills coming out of high school, but you wouldn’t know that watching him play last season. Coverage appeared to be a priority for him before 2019.
What Cine was known for was all on display last year. Taking good angles to ball carriers, delivering solid contact with a strong wrap-up and dissecting plays before they play out were all things Cine excelled at in 2019. Cine is certainly an upgrade from Reed when it comes to blitzing, and that’s not good news for Georgia’s opponents. The Georgia defense is going to be better at rushing quarterbacks, and Cine is a big factor in that equation.
Cine isn’t on any watchlist right now and he’s not likely to appear on any preseason All-SEC teams. He’s an unknown commodity on the national level right now, but by November, Lewis Cine will become a household name.