May 14, 2013

Spring Rewind: The secondary



If there's one position that received a lot of attention during the spring and will continue to do so again, Georgia's secondary would be the one.

Following the graduation of Bacarri Rambo, Sanders Comming, Shawn Williams and Branden Smith, opportunities will abound for newcomers looking to make their mark.

As UGASports continues its spring positional breakdown, we take a look at the secondary, and the players fans will get to know in the weeks and months to come.

Cornerback

Returning Starter

Damian Swann (Jr., 5-11, 189): Swann enters the season as the unquestioned leader of the secondary after 14 games at cornerback where he made 53 tackles and picked off four passes, including two in the Bulldogs' Capital One Bowl victory over Nebraska.

Returning lettermen

Sheldon Dawson (So., 5-11, 181): Dawson was enjoying an outstanding spring before a hamstring injury the next-to-last week kept him from competing in the G-Day Game. Still, Dawson was impressive as he showed the ability to make plays and intercepted four passes in Georgia's first three scrimmages before the injury occurred. As a freshman, Dawson played in 13 games, making 12 tackles.

Devin Bowman (RSo., 6-0, 180): The Bulldogs are still waiting for Bowman to take that next step to become a consistent contributor. He did appear in 13 games last year, making one start against Buffalo.

Newcomers

Reggie Wilkerson (Fr., 5-11, 172): An early enrollee, Wilkerson enjoyed an outstanding spring and was actually running with the first team toward the end of drills. A former four-star performer by Rivals.com, Wilkerson is thought by some to be one of Georgia's more underrated recruits for the 2013 class.

Shaquille Wiggins (Fr., 5-10, 170): Wiggins earned a reputation as a tenacious defender in high school at Sandy Creek and is expected to have that same competitive fire to the collegiate level. No, Wiggins is not the biggest guy in the world, but his coverage skills are what helps to set him apart.

Brendan Langley (Fr., 6-1, 191): Langley could have a quick impact for Georgia, especially after putting on 10 pounds since the end of his senior season at Kell. Langley told UGASports recently he's been tabbed for the boundary position. Assuming he's a quick study with the defense, Langley could see considerable playing time this fall.

Safety

Returning lettermen

Connor Norman (Jr., 5-10, 207): Norman played in all 14 games for Georgia making two starts and made 18 tackles, although he did not come up with any turnovers. Smart, dependable and a proverbial coach on the field, coaches are expected to lean on Norman a lot, although with the influx of new talent, he is not expected to earn a starting role.

Marc Deas (Jr., 6-1, 212): Deas played in all 14 games, primarily on special team as he has not quite made a big enough jump to be considered for extensive playing time. He'll get a chance to earn some more PT this fall, but like Norman, has some talented newcomers to deal with in order to finally break through.

Corey Moore (Jr., 6-2, 214): There's no doubting Moore's talent, but coaches still want to see the former Griffin standout take that next step. Moore and the rest of the returning defensive backs were told by head coach Mark Richt that they would have to earn their PT this fall. For his part, Moore seems to have responded and finished the spring on a positive note.

Josh Harvey-Clemons (So., 6-5, 218): According to defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, Harvey-Clemons is going to be on the field more often than not. At the end of spring, the former Lowndes standout was listed as the starter at strong safety but will assume the "star" position when the Bulldogs go nickel, essentially serving as another outside linebacker.

Newcomers

Tray Matthews (Fr., 6-0, 200): An early enrollee, Matthews spent basically all of the spring as Georgia's starter at free safety and appears the odds on favorite to win the job come preseason workouts. The former four-star standout from Newnan High is also a big-hitter, and figures to play a big role with the Bulldogs, beginning this fall.

Quincy Mauger (Fr., 6-0, 205): Another early enrollee, Mauger was overshadowed somewhat by the more flamboyant Matthews, but from all indications was just about as impressive. The former high school teammate of Langley drew nice reviews from coaches, who now see him as someone who could possibly contribute his freshman year.

Paris Bostick (Fr., 6-1, 217): Hailing from Plant High in Tampa, Bostick is a big-bodied safety similar to Shawn Williams and someone coaches are anxious to see once preseason drills begin. He remains a little bit raw in some respects, but is someone who coaches feel has a bright future.

Shaquille Fluker (Jr., 6-1, 200): In a conversation last week with UGASports, Fluker said coaches have him pegged to work out at strong safety. A 2012 NJCAA Honorable Mention All-American, Fluker is a big hitter with considerable ball-hawking skills as evidenced by his seven interceptions during his two seasons at East Mississippi Community College.

Kennar Johnson (6-2, 185): Johnson is slated to play safety but he could probably also play cornerback, ala Sanders Commings who played both spots for the Bulldogs.

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