With quarterback Aaron Murray and the two-headed monster of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall returning, Georgia's offense is loaded with top-end star power that will make it one of the most-discussed units at this week's SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala.
But behind the shine, there's a talented, deep and versatile wide receiving corps that—with apologies to Alabama—could end up as the class of the SEC.
Malcolm Mitchell is a star.
The 2011 SEC All-Freshman performer spent the first four games of last season playing primarily cornerback as Georgia dealt with personnel issues associated with early-season suspensions. Despite the limited time back at his customary position of wide receiver, he finished second on the team with 40 catches for 572 yards and four touchdowns.
At 6'1", 190 pounds, Mitchell's speed and hands make him one of the SEC's top deep threats, but he is also dangerous after he catches the ball and gets into space in front of the defense. He's fully capable of filling in for the recently departed Tavarres King and being the No. 1 wide receiver.
But he's not the only wide receiver in town.
Michael Bennett is back after tearing his ACL last season, and he was Murray's favorite target at the time of his injury. In just five games, Bennett caught 24 passes for 345 yards and four touchdowns. The 6'3", 205-pounder is a big target, reliable over the middle and much more a deep threat than most realize.
Toss in veterans Chris Conley, Rantavious Wooten, Rhett McGowan, and Georgia's wide receiving corps looks solid.
But it's the new kid who could make the difference.
Jonathon Rumph, a 6'5", 215-pound junior college transfer, provides head coach Mark Richt and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo with a big-time weapon. Rumph had 98 receiving yards and caught two touchdown passes in the spring game, showing the coaching staff something they hadn't seen from him, according to Bobo.
“That’s really the first time all spring he’s made some plays,” Bobo told Macon.com after Rumph's performance. “That was good to see, and hopefully, that’ll give him some confidence.”
If he can "get it" during fall camp and continue his progression as a wide receiver, Georgia will have the luxury of lining up Rumph, a guy with tremendous upside, against a nickelback or an inexperienced corner.
Not only is Georgia loaded with talent and deep at wide receiver, these guys may get more of an opportunity to shine.
The biggest question facing Georgia this season is the defense. With only four true starters returning, guys like linebacker Jordan Jenkins, defensive tackle Mike Thornton and safety Tray Matthews are being asked to step into big roles on the new-look unit.
Despite the lack of star power, Georgia's defense will be better than last year's group, which struggled to come up with stops thanks to personnel that played more downhill. If it's not, Georgia may be forced into some shootouts.
With the wide receivers on the roster, Georgia will be fully capable of handling that.
Don't sleep on Georgia's wide receivers. When all is said and done, they could be the best and most important part of the 2013 Bulldog offense.
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