Georgia Football: 6 Bulldogs Who Will Break out in 2013

David Aldridge@davidmaldridgeFeatured ColumnistJanuary 5, 2013

Georgia Football: 6 Bulldogs Who Will Break out in 2013

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    Much has been made about the Georgia Bulldogs and the amount of talent they will be losing to the NFL draft this offseason.

    Many are wondering how Georgia will be able to replace Jarvis Jones, Alec Ogletree and Bacarri Rambo, among others.

    However, because of the recruiting efforts of Mark Richt and his coaching staff, next year's team will feature a number of players that should be able to step up and play well.

    The following six Bulldogs are poised for big seasons in 2013.

1. Garrison Smith

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    Despite starting the season as a backup behind Abry Jones and Cornelius Washington at defensive end, Garrison Smith became one of the most consistent players on the Georgia defense in 2012.

    Smith stepped up when Jones went down with an ankle injury and finished the season with 57 tackles and one sack.

    As a rising senior and one of the few returning starters from the 2012 defense, Smith is expected to provide leadership and consistency for Georgia's front seven.

    It looks as if he will be ready for the challenge.

2. John Theus

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    The true freshman from Jacksonville, Fla., delivered on the big expectations many had for him when he was listed as a 5-star recruit out of high school.

    Theus started all 14 games at offensive tackle for the Bulldogs in 2012 and was named to the SEC Coaches' All-Freshman Team.

    Theus also played a major role on an offensive line that protected Aaron Murray and paved the way for Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall.

    The talented offensive tackle will be tested early in the 2013 season with big games against the physical defensive lines of Clemson, South Carolina and LSU, but he should be up for the challenge.

3. Jordan Jenkins

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    You know you are a talented player when you are already touted as the "next Jarvis Jones," and that is the expectation with Jordan Jenkins.

    The freshman outside linebacker from Hamilton, Ga. finished the 2012 season with 33 tackles and four sacks and showed great potential for being the next elite pass rusher for the Bulldogs.

    Jenkins also displayed good discipline playing under Todd Grantham and showed the ability to set the edge in the Georgia defense, allowing the other linebackers on the field to make plays.

    Todd Grantham will develop ways to turn Jenkins lose in 2013, reminding Bulldogs fans and SEC quarterbacks of what they saw from Jarvis Jones the past two years.

4. Amarlo Herrera

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    With all the talk about Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree during the 2012 season, no one seemed to notice the production of Amarlo Herrera.

    Herrera, an inside linebacker from College Park, Ga., finished the season with 70 tackles and was one of the most consistent performers for a defense that was wildly inconsistent.

    As a rising junior who has received significant playing time in his first two seasons at Georgia, Herrera will join Damian Swann as one of the unquestioned leaders of the defense.

    And with the departure of Jones and Ogletree, people around the league will start to notice what a good player Todd Grantham has in Amarlo Herrera.

5. Malcolm Mitchell

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    2012 was a season of Malcolm Mitchell doing whatever Mark Richt and the coaching staff needed him to do to help the Georgia Bulldogs.

    Following an outstanding freshman season at wide receiver, Mitchell was expected to become one of the elite wide receivers in the SEC in 2012. Instead, Mitchell was forced to move to the defensive side of the ball and play cornerback for the first part of the year because of suspensions and transfers in the secondary.

    Mitchell eventually moved back to the offense during 2012, but it was obvious he was a bit rusty.

    Mark Richt has already said Mitchell will focus solely on playing wide receiver in 2013, meaning he'll have a full offseason of working with the first-team offense in practice.

    With his attention dedicated to playing wide receiver, Mitchell should have a huge year.

6. Damian Swann

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    Considering his performance in the Capital One Bowl on January 1, 2013, Damian Swann may already be viewed as a breakout star of 2013.

    Swann finished the game with six tackles and two interceptions, giving him a total of four interceptions for the season.

    For a Bulldogs secondary that will be losing its other three starters, the rising junior from Atlanta will be a crucial player for Georgia's defense in 2013.

    Todd Grantham has big expectations for Swann, saying:

    He's a really good playmaker. Obviously, he's going to be a leader for us as we move forward.—

    Look for Swann to emerge as one of the premier cornerbacks in the SEC next season.