Last week I detailed the three impact players I feel are the most important in the three phases of Georgia football this season. I promised South FL Dawg I'd come back to the newbies, so here goes.
Offense - Rantavious Wooten
Look...I know what you're saying. I too am a BIG believer in Orson. He's gonna turn some heads and he's gonna crush some souls. Marlon Brown has the tools to put together a season of stats that would rival those of AJs last season.
But Wooten's been my ball carrier since NSD '09. I like the kid's skillz. He breaks ankles, he attacks the ball, he's fast, he's slippery when cleated, he runs crisp routes, he's got great vision and he's very versatile. About the only thing he doesn't have that Marlon has is a higher altitude. And about the only thing he hasn't done that Charles has is shatter Slurban's crystal ball.
For a moment I want you to picture this: Cox, Lynch and Samuel jogging to the sideline and slapping the hands of Gray, Charles and Wooten as they jog towards the huddle. Welcome to our landscape, Mr. Change of Pace. PWDs Grayhound in living color. Somewhere in a press box...Bobo grins.
Defense - Branden Smith
Really wanted to go with Reuben Faloughi here, but it sounds like his chances of cracking the rotation at d-end are slim. What a great story though.
Martinez says Smith's athletic ability and strong work ethic have assured him of valuable playing time. The defensive back out of Booker T. Washington will see action at corner most likely in nickel situations as it appears Martinez will opt to put Prince Miller over the slot.
It's only natural that Smith is behind in development of players like Miller and Boykin, but the fact that he hasn't been left behind by the likes of Commings and Cuff is a sign that the kid came to camp ready to play....and grow.
Via Hale's Blog where he assesses each freshman's chances at '09 action, CMR on Smith: "He can recover extremely fast...Instead of recovering and trying to strip the ball out, he might be in position for an interception."
Thank you sir may I have another? The writing is on the wall that we could see Branden Smith more and more frequently as the season wears on.
Special Teams - Brandon Bogotay
This could also go to Mr. Smith as he should get some opportunities to field a kicked ball and attempt to evade opposing jerseys running at a high rate of speed.
But place-kicking is a hot-button issue, is it not?
It still sounds doubtful that Bogotay is going to wrestle away the kicking duties from Walsh, but just the fact that this kid from sunny Cali is on campus is impactful enough. Think back to Walsh's first kickoff as a Dawg and how it sailed into the endzone. Fans cheered as if the feat counted for points to be added to the scoredboard. It all seemed so promising...only to lead to so much disappointment.
Fans are tired of half-assed performances after television TOs. They're ready for consistency, hang-time and kicks across or in the nearest possible vicinity of the opponents' goal line. Coach Fabris can scowl all he wants, but CMR spent an extra scholly on someone who can do just those things we're asking for.
So if Bogotay can get us past the 20 yard line without any little yellow flags, whether as a direct result of his foot or an indirect result...well, I'll take it!
So, who would you substitute? Or add...?