- David Ching, SEC reporter
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Editor’s note: Over the next two weeks, we’ll take a closer look at each of Georgia’s position groups at the end of spring practice. Today we examine the wide receivers:
Returning players/stats: Malcolm Mitchell, Jr. (nine starts, 40 catches, 572 yards, 4 TDs); Michael Bennett, Jr. (three starts, 24-345, 4 TDs); Chris Conley, Jr. (three starts, 20-342, 6 TDs); Rantavious Wooten, Sr. (15-187, 2 TDs); Rhett McGowan, Sr. (one start, 12-150, 1 TD); Justin Scott-Wesley, So. (6-135, 1 TD); Blake Tibbs, RFr. (redshirted in 2012)
Newcomers: Tramel Terry, Fr. (ESPN No. 89 overall prospect, No. 9 athlete, enrolled in January); Jonathon Rumph, Jr. (ESPN No. 7 junior college prospect, No. 1 juco wide receiver, enrolled in January); Reggie Davis, Fr. (ESPN No. 294 overall prospect, No. 45 wide receiver, expected to enroll this summer); Uriah LeMay, Fr. (No. 48 wide receiver, expected to enroll this summer); Rico Johnson, Fr. (No. 122 wide receiver, expected to enroll this summer)
Key storyline: Georgia must replace one of the most accomplished receivers in program history in Tavarres King, who is third all-time in touchdown catches (21) and fourth in receiving yards (2,602). It appears that with Mitchell, Bennett and Conley, the Bulldogs have a threesome that should make opposing secondaries sweat. But Mitchell might be the player to watch if he manages to stay healthy. Before suffering a torn meniscus that ended his spring, Mitchell was in the process of learning all three receiver positions after playing only one of them in his first two seasons as a Bulldog. The ability to move Mitchell around will allow offensive coordinator Mike Bobo to exploit favorable matchups by getting one of his most dynamic players the ball in even more ways than he was able to before.
Breakout candidate: There are lots of candidates for this honor: Conley, who caught five touchdowns in Georgia’s last five games; track star Scott-Wesley, who had three catches for 67 yards in the bowl win against Nebraska after barely making an impact in the first 13 games; and Rumph, who has huge potential, but hasn’t played in an SEC game yet after transferring from Holmes (Miss.) Community College in January. We’ll go with Terry, who is already on campus, but is still recovering from a torn ACL he suffered late last year in a high school all-star game. If he makes it back for this season, the versatile Terry has explosive playmaking skills as a runner and receiver.
Reviewing 2012: Georgia’s receiving corps managed to withstand season-ending knee injuries to both Bennett and senior Marlon Brown (27 catches for 469 yards and four TDs in nine games) to still post solid numbers. Five different Bulldogs had at least one 100-yard game and 11 players caught at least one touchdown pass, so quarterback Aaron Murray clearly was able to spread the ball around. King’s 950 yards and nine touchdowns led the team and Mitchell was second despite spending most of the first month of the season playing cornerback.
Projecting 2013: Georgia coach Mark Richt said before the season that Mitchell has the potential to rank among the SEC’s top receivers now that he’s focusing solely on playing receiver. He and Bennett -- who should return to full-contact practices when the Bulldogs open preseason camp -- and Conley have proven they can make plays in big games. Nobody else on the roster can make that claim. Murray is aiming for his fourth straight season with 3,000-plus passing yards, so he’s obviously going to put the ball in the air. The question is which of the less established wideouts will step into bigger roles alongside the proven trio.
Editor’s note: Over the next two weeks, we’ll take a closer look at each of Georgia’s position groups at the end of spring practice. Today we examine the wide receivers:Returning players/stats: Malcolm Mitchell, Jr.