Continuing my weekly series, I will now take a look at the Georgia wide receiving corps.
As it stands,the Dawgs had twelve guys on roster at the end of spring (including scout team guys), not counting Marlon Brown and Rantavious Wooten.
The losses of Mohammed Massaquoi, Demiko Goodman, and Kenneth Harris will be significant because all provided great senior leadership and a set of reliable hands on the field.
That said, if anyone believes that the Bulldogs are weak at this position, especially after the season ending loss of senior Kris Durham, then he would be wrong.
This is probably one of the positions where the most potential playmakers lie, and we may see some guys come out and stake their claim in the receiving game this coming season as our new quarterback, whomever that may be, takes over the reigns.
This article will focus on six of the eleven guys who are expected to be on the roster by the time the season begins:
Tavarres King, Tony Wilson, Israel Troupe, Marquise Brown, and Rantavious Wooten.
First up: Tavarres King (RSf)
At 6'1" and 176 pounds, King isn't the biggest wide receiver on the Dawg's roster, but he is one of the fastest and with the loss of Kris Durham, he could be seeing this year as his time to shine.
He, technically, runs a 4.5 forty, putting him more in the mold of a possession receiver than a speed receiver, but he plays a lot faster than his forty time would suggest.
He is elusive after the catch and has the running ability of a tailback, which makes him just as dangerous on the short yardage catches as the long ones.
The only knock on him coming out of high school was his route running ability.
This was mostly due to the fact that he played a lot of wingback in high school, and a majority of his plays were either out of the backfield or in misdirection.
He rarely had to concern himself with running routes.
However, he has become much better at that since he arrived at Georgia last year and is now one of the more proficient route runners on the team.
He's got the skills to make a major impact this season, but his spot on the depth chart could hinge on the emergence of Marlon Brown and the continued progression of last year's Capital One Bowl standout, Michael Moore.
Tony Wilson, (RsJr) **Update: Wilson has left the team for good due to injury 5/8/09
At 5'11" and 214 pounds, Wilson looks more like a running back than a wide receiver.
He is one of the most physical wide receivers the Dawg's currently have on their team, and he loves to dish out hits.
He occupies the split end position, which is ideal for him because he will be required to open up the passing lanes for the quarterback when called upon. His penchant for taking on tacklers will come in handy in this respect, as well as catching the ball if nothing materializes.
Wilson has played sparingly over the last couple seasons due to an ankle injury that he suffered last spring, but he feels that he will be at or near 100 percent by the start of the season.
His senior leadership is what will be most important as most of the wide receivers will be young this year.
However, we must not forget that Wilson was heralded as a four star recruit coming out of high school and has the ability to be a big time playmaker when he's playing at his full capacity.
I look for him to get in on quite a few plays early in the season as his blocking ability will be key not only in pass protection, but in giving the quarterback a reliable set of hands to turn to should a play begin to break down.
One thing Tony will need to do is shed a few of the pounds he picked up while rehabbing his ankle. He is currently about 10-12 pounds heavier than his playing weight, but I don't see that being a significant problem for him this season.
Israel Troupe (RsSo)
The last impression I have of Troupe is him dropping a pass near the end zone during the G-Day Game.
That's definitely not a good way to endear yourself to the coaching staff if you are looking to get a little PT this season.
Troupe has decided he will focus all his attention on football this year and forgo his dreams of being a two sport star—he came into the Georgia program with hopes of playing baseball as well, a sport in which he also excels.
His new dedication will hopefully bring about an increase in production as well.
Last season, he saw little in the way of snaps due to the receiver log jam, but may find his fortunes changing now that Coach Bobo has decided to open up the playbook in order to account for the losses of Stafford, Moreno, and Massaquoi.
Troupe is a tough receiver.
He has the perfect build at 6'1" and 215 pounds coupled with great speed and, despite what G-Day showed, a nice set of hands.
He is a home run threat.
He plays at his best when he is running the deep route. His ability to find the ball over his shoulder, then go up and make the play is phenomenal.
He won't be too tough to bring down even at 215 pounds; he falls pretty easily to the standard wrap tackle, but you will have to catch him first.
It can be tough to jam him off the line, and if he gets free...forget it because he can hit that second gear in a hurry and the end zone will likely be his last stop.
His ability to adjust to an under thrown ball may be his best asset. Where most receivers would be looking at a pick six, Troupe has the leaping ability to turn a lot of badly thrown balls into huge gains.
He has tons of playmaking potential if he can keep his focus on football.
Remember, he was one of the top prospects in the nation and was thought to be an MLB candidate.
It's impossible to know whether or not he has fully committed himself to football until we see him on the field again.
If he has, consider him a sleeper for this coming season.
Marquise Brown, (RsJr)
Brown is a former University of South Carolina walk on who transferred to the Dawgs in 2007.
He redshirted that season and has not played in any games since he arrived on the team.
Brown is on the smallish side at 5'11" and 174 pounds, which will work against him as far as his playing time is concerned.
But there is always room for a guy who is willing to work hard, and Brown has shown that his work ethic is solid.
He also proved to be a nice target for Aaron Murray in the G-Day Game as he was the recipient of a 43 yard bomb from the young slinger, which turned out to be the longest pass of the day.
He isn't likely to play often considering there are a lot of talented guys listed ahead of him, but being named the Most Improved Player at the conclusion of spring does mean that he has an outside chance of seeing himself in on a few plays this season.
Rantavious Wooten (incoming freshman)
In all likelihood, Wooten may redshirt this season...but you never know.
Wooten is 5'11'' and 175 pounds, so he is not going to scare anyone away with his size.
Although he is small, he could be ideal as a slot receiver.
The Bulldogs have a lot of talent at the wide receiver position this year, and if they do indeed begin to involve the tight end more...then a player like Wooten could find himself with a lot of opportunities to make big time plays on the field.
He has the speed and the hands to be a nice third option for the quarterback, and if he is able to get behind the secondary...look out because he will be tough to catch.
He has the moves to make guys miss, but must add a few pounds to that frame of his if he expects to last long in the SEC as the hits he'll absorb on occasion will take their toll over the long haul.
It will also help him to become better at running more precise routes. Improvisation is okay at times, but it will be important to be where he needs to be.
I expect him to make some noise once he arrives on campus, and he is definitely a player to keep your eye on if no redshirt appears by the start of the season.
Next Week: A.J. Green, Marlon Brown, Michael Moore, and Zach Renner
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