- David Ching, ESPN Staff Writer
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Editor’s note: Each day between now and Georgia’s Capital One Bowl date with Nebraska, we will review the season for a key Bulldogs player and attempt to project what’s next. Today we’ll look at linebacker Amarlo Herrera.
No. 52 Amarlo Herrera
67 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 INT
Role in 2012: After playing considerably as a freshman, Herrera ranked among the Bulldogs’ best run-stoppers from his inside linebacker spot as a sophomore.
The good: A sure and physical tackler, Herrera played a key role throughout the season, but was particularly valuable early in the fall when starter Alec Ogletree was serving a four-game suspension. Herrera started four more times after Ogletree’s return and ranked fourth on the team in tackles -- including a season-high 11 against South Carolina.
The bad: Herrera was inconsistent at times in pass coverage -- although yes, he had the team's only interception return for a touchdown (against Florida Atlantic) -- which cleared the way for Christian Robinson to take the field on third downs and in other passing situations. The sophomore was fairly quiet down the stretch, totaling just six tackles in the final four games after ranking near the top of the team’s tackles list for most of the fall.
Crystal ball: With seniors Robinson and Mike Gilliard -- and most likely draft-eligible junior Ogletree -- departing after the season, Herrera immediately moves into a leadership role in a couple of weeks. He will be the only inside linebacker with significant experience and Georgia’s coaches will certainly count on him in the coming months to help a group of newcomers make the adjustment from high school to college football.