Yahoo Sports\' 2019 Top 25: No. 11 Oregon

Two transfers should step in right away. Demetris Robertson looks poised for a much bigger role at wide receiver and Georgia landed Lawrence Cager as well.

Another great season for Fromm would also present an interesting NFL decision and strengthen a QB class that could look very interesting with Oregon senior Justin Herbert and Tua Tagovailoa potentially declaring for the draft after the season.

“We had a guy come speak the other day to our team, talking about characteristics that scouts look for,” Smart said in July. “[Fromm] checks every single box on that list. He's won a lot of football games. He's thrown touchdowns and hasn't thrown interceptions. All of those qualities he has are going to give him a chance of success whenever he chooses to go to the NFL.”

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J.R. Reed was Georgia's second-leading tackler in 2018. (Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

A loaded defense

With Smart entering his fourth year with the Bulldogs, all but the redshirt seniors on the team are players that his staff recruited to Athens. And when you recruit at such a high level like Georgia does, you have talent that contributes right away.

Georgia’s defense returns six starters, but three of those players were the team’s three leading tacklers in 2018. Safeties Richard LeCounte and JR Reed form the best safety combination in the SEC, and linebacker Monty Rice can do anything and everything Georgia needs.

The loss of DE/LB Brenton Cox, who transferred to Florida recently, hurts but Georgia should get immediate contributions from linebacker Jermaine Johnson, the No. 2 junior college recruit in the class of 2019. You probably recognize his name from Netflix’s “Last Chance U.”

The biggest question for Georgia’s defense is generating a pass rush. The Bulldogs had just 24 sacks in 2018 — the team’s lowest total in Smart’s tenure — and no returning player had more than two sacks. But with so many four and five-star recruits on the defense, finding a few pass rushers shouldn’t be extremely difficult.

[ Shop Georgia Bulldogs gear for the 2019 season ]

Biggest game: at Auburn (Nov. 16)

This was a tough call between Notre Dame’s visit on Sept. 21 and the trip to Auburn. And the conference road game won out. Georgia’s undefeated season went down the tubes in 2017 with a 40-17 thrashing at the hands of the Tigers, but the Bulldogs got Auburn back a few weeks later in the SEC title game.

While Auburn isn’t the favorite for the SEC West by any means, there’s a decent chance Georgia could be 9-0 again heading into the state of Alabama.

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Georgia running back Zamir White missed all of 2018 with a knee injury. (Joshua L. Jones/Athens Banner-Herald via AP)

Impact player

RB Zamir White

Swift is the obvious choice here after his turn as a feature back in 2018. But the Bulldogs have been best over the past three seasons with multiple running backs capable of taking over a game. Swift played No. 3 to Sony Michel and Nick Chubb, and then split time with Elijah Holyfield in 2018 as both ran for over 1,000 yards.

White could replace Holyfield’s production. The five-star recruit in the class of 2018 missed the season because of an ACL tear. By all accounts he’s been healthy and productive in Georgia’s fall camps and should contribute right away — even if he’s only getting five or 10 touches per game to start. Georgia fans have super-high expectations for White. He could fulfill them. But a little patience isn’t a bad idea.

Biggest question mark

From Anthony Dasher at Rivals’ UGASports.com:

 Smart must find replacements for his top four wideouts from a season ago, a group that includes early NFL entries Riley Ridley and Mecole Hardman, along with senior Terry Godwin and Jeremiah Holloman, who was kicked off the team for allegedly hitting an ex-girlfriend.

Tyler Simmons (nine catches a year ago) is the top returning WR from a production standpoint, meaning some newcomers will have to come through.

UGA Sports’ breakout player

WR Demetris Robertson

The former five-star recruit who transferred to Georgia from Cal did not catch a pass last year but had 50 receptions for 767 yards and seven touchdowns his freshman season with the Bears. He’s been able to produce before.

For more Georgia news, visit and subscribe to Rivals’ UGASports.com.

Top 2020 NFL draft prospect

OT Andrew Thomas

From Yahoo Sports NFL draft analyst Eric Edholm: The 6-foot-5, 320-pound Thomas was a freshman starter at right tackle for the 2017 Bulldogs team that lost to Alabama in the national title game, and he switched over to left tackle the following year after 2018 first-rounder Isaiah Wynn left. It has been a banner two years for Thomas, an All-SEC coaches’ first-team selection last year.

With a strong junior season in 2019, Thomas has a chance to emerge as the OT1 in the 2020 NFL draft. He displays easy athleticism for a man of his size and has the flexibility and light feet of a tight end 50 or 60 pounds smaller. He can extend his long arms and lock out defenders, even quicker ones.

There are some holes in his game, however, as Thomas can play out of control and fly past defenders (see Texas game). He needs to learn how to play more under control and harness his rare gifts better. But with time, this massive man could soon start hitting his peak as a player. We think he has an excellent chance to end up in Round 1 with continued progress.

Fantasy sleeper

WR Lawrence Cager

You know by now that Georgia needs to replace a lot of wide receiver production. And Cager should get a chunk of that. The Miami transfer had 21 catches for 374 yards and six touchdowns in 2018.

Over/under projection

Over 10.5

The Bulldogs should be favored in every game but the trip to Auburn. And, depending how Auburn’s season goes, could easily be favored there, too. This is our SEC East champion and an 11-1 regular season doesn’t feel like a reach. We’re expecting a third postseason matchup for Smart’s Georgia team against Alabama. Will it be the charm?

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Nick Bromberg

 is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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Source : https://sports.yahoo.com/yahoo-sports-2019-top-25-no-3-georgia-124413641.html

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