May 9, 2013

Spring rewind: Tight ends



When Orson Charles left early for the NFL just over a year ago, many figured it might take a few years before the tight end became an integral part of Georgia's passing game again.

Arthur Lynch said not so fast.

When he signed with Georgia four years ago, Lynch did so with the reputation of being a "blocking" tight end but proved otherwise last fall catching 24 passes for 431 yards with three touchdowns.

As UGASports continues its post-spring position rewind, we take a look at the tight end position, which should once again be a strength for the Bulldogs.

Projected starter

Arthur Lynch (Sr., 6-3, 258): Even when he was playing third fiddle to Charles and Aron White, Bulldog coaches always claimed that Lynch was a better receiver than he was given credit for being. How right they were. After catching just two passes for 17 yards his first two seasons with the Bulldogs (he redshirted in 2010), Lynch's 24 receptions in 2012 tied for fourth-most on the team. Lynch even had a 16-yard pass off a fake punt in the SEC title game against Alabama, further showcasing his skills. In just one year, Lynch has gone from being a question mark to arguable the most well-rounded tight end in the SEC, not only with his ability to catch the football, but as a valuable inline blocker.

Returning lettermen

Jay Rome (RSo., 6-6, 265): Rome got off to a slow start last year after redshirting as a true freshman, but by the time the season was over displayed the talent and versatility most projected for him when he signed as a four-star performer out of Valdosta High. In 14 games, Rome caught 11 passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns, including a 19-yarder against Alabama in the SEC title game. Although he's still not the blocker that Lynch is, Rome is a versatile receiver who will actually split out in the slot from time to time, giving quarterback Aaron Murray an inviting target over the middle of the field.

Ty Flournoy-Smith (So., 6-3, 237): Flournoy-Smith played in eight games last year, most only special teams as he did not record a catch. He did, however, display his pass-catching abilities in the G-Day game making one reception for 30 yards. With Lynch and Rome in front of him on the depth chart, Flournoy-Smith probably won't make that big of an on-field impact other than special teams, but coaches are still quite high on the former Colquitt County standout who as a senior caught 46 passes for 785 yards and five touchdowns.

Incoming freshman

Jordan Davis (Fr., 6-3, 225): Barring injuries to one of the three tight ends above him on the depth chart, expect the former Thomson standout to get redshirt this year. That said, Davis showed his athletic prowess during last week's state track meet in Jefferson when he finished second in the Class AAA 110 meter hurdles.

Others

The Bulldogs also list six walk-ons as tight ends, including Jack Loonam from Lexington, S.C., Greg Mulkey from Fairmont, Geoff Rapp from Kennesaw, Hugh Williams from Atlanta, Drew Wilson from Tignal and Newan's Cole Trolinger, who will miss the upcoming season after suffering a torn labrum.