Georgia finished 2023 ranked 20th in rushing defense and only allowed 3.8 yards per carry. It’s not that the defensive line was a massive weakness, but it wasn’t the strength that it typically has been with players like Jordan Davis and Jalen Carter. That group even got exposed by Alabama when the Crimson Tide ran for 114 yards and salted the game away on the ground.
The D-line was a bigger problem in the passing game. The Bulldogs, who ranked eighth in sacks per game in 2021, fell to 40th in 2022 and then 65th last season. The pass rush is pedestrian at this point and that’s unacceptable in Athens.
Mykel Williams and Jalon Walker, who led the team in pressures are both back in 2024, but Walker is a linebacker and only had the seventh most pass rush snaps on the defense a year ago. Smael Mondon, another linebacker was third in pressures.
Warren Brinson and Nazir Stackhouse are both returning while Zion Logue is heading for the league, but neither Brinson nor Stackhouse are impact pass rushers. Kirby needed to take a swing on an edge or interior rusher in the portal, but instead, he only added Xzavier McLeod who played just 30 snaps as a 6-foot-5 284-pound freshman at South Carolina.