Georgia Bulldogs Who Must Step Up with Malcolm Mitchell out for the Year
After Georgia's heartbreaking 38-35 season-opening loss to Clemson, an unfortunate injury update threw salt on the Bulldogs' wounds.
Mitchell suffered the injury while celebrating a touchdown in the first quarter of Saturday night's tilt with the Tigers.
Without Mitchell, who had accumulated more than 1,200 receiving yards in his career, Georgia's wide receiving corps lacks major star power, leaving the door open for an unknown to rise to the top.
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Composite 4-star junior college transfer Jonathon Rumph enrolled early at Georgia and immediately made an impact in the G-Day spring game.
The Cayce, S.C. native caught four passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns in the spring game but missed the Clemson game with an injured hamstring, as reported by Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald.
Once Rumph makes his return to health, he must replicate the kind of performance he showed in the spring game.
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Justin Scott-Wesley played a minor role against Clemson, catching four passes for 55 yards, but may see his responsibilities skyrocket with the void left by Mitchell.
The sophomore has the talent to become Aaron Murray's go-to target.
Also a star sprinter on the UGA track team, Scott-Wesley is one of the fastest players in all of college football.
With that elite speed, he stands to play a major role in filling in for Mitchell.
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Senior Rantavious Wooten is one of the most experienced members of the Georgia receiving corps.
However, injury and inconsistency have caused the Belle Glade, Fla. native to slide up and down the depth chart over the course of his career.
Now, in his final season, Mitchell's injury creates an opportunity for the speedy Wooten to live up to his potential.
Wooten hauled in two receptions against Clemson, including one of 33 yards to set up a touchdown.
Going forward, Wooten should have a hand in numerous UGA touchdowns.
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A former composite 4-star tight end, Jay Rome is poised to have an enormous 2013 campaign.
In July, Rome told Chip Towers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he expects 2013 to be a breakout season for him individually.
At 6'6", 254 pounds, Rome has the size and athleticism to be a dominant receiving tight end, but the sophomore caught just one pass for 10 yards against Clemson.
Now, more than ever, Rome needs to fulfill his own prophecy.
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Michael Bennett was previously poised to be Aaron Murray's No. 2 target behind Mitchell.
Now Bennett will need to assume the No. 1 role after returning from an injury in 2012.
In addition to taking over some of Mitchell's production, Bennett will need to take on a greater leadership role among the UGA receivers.
With eight career starts under his belt, now is the time for Bennett to take his experience and lead the Georgia pass-catchers.