Reason Two UGA Football Doesn’t Repeat: A New Offensive Line
Of the six players who logged a significant number of snaps in the offensive trenches last season, only two return. Tackles Andrew Thomas and Isaiah Wilson were both first-round picks in the NFL Draft, while guard Solomon Kindley was selected a bit later in the fourth round.
In addition to those three, former five-star recruit Cade Mays transferred to Tennessee, possibly as a result of a lawsuit between his family and the University of Georgia.
That leaves just Ben Cleveland and Trey Hill. Cleveland has been a stalwart on the offensive line, starting 13 games last season at right guard. Similarly, Hill started all 14 games last season at center, earning All-SEC Second Team honors.
Looking at the other three spots leads to questions, though. At right tackle, Jamaree Salyer played well against Baylor in the Sugar Bowl, though that game and the game against Murray State are his only two experience starting.
At left guard, redshirt freshman Clay Webb may start, though he’ll be competing with senior Justin Shaffer, who suffered from a season-ending neck injury last year.
Replacing Andrew Thomas at left tackle, the most likely candidate seems to be Xavier Truss a redshirt freshman with prototypical tackle size at 6’7″, 330 pounds. However, Truss has virtually no collegiate experience, only playing sparingly against Murray State, Arkansas State, and Georgia Tech last season.
If the Bulldogs hope to bring an improved passing attack as well as build on their reputation of a dominant run game, they must figure out how to solve the immense turnover on the offensive line.