<
>

SEC spring position battles: Georgia Bulldogs

Jacob Eason might not win the starting quarterback job for Georgia in the fall, but he appears to be the Bulldogs' future at the position. AP Photo/John Amis

Spring practice means there are starting jobs up for grabs across the country, and the SEC is no different. We continue our team-by-team look at the conference’s top position battles with Georgia:

1. Quarterback: Though Georgia had the services of graduate transfer Greyson Lambert, he just wasn't consistent enough against better defenses. The starter for most of the season, Lambert averaged just 164.3 yards per game in SEC play and threw six touchdowns to two interceptions in that span. Brice Ramsey, who was the early favorite last season to be the Bulldogs' starter, ended up punting almost as much as he threw the ball last season. He'll have every opportunity to dethrone Lambert, who entered spring as the No. 1 quarterback on Georgia's depth chart, but new coach Kirby Smart wants Ramsey to be more assertive. Then, there's true freshman Jacob Eason, a.k.a. "The Chosen One." Rated the No. 1 pocket-passer by ESPN's RecruitingNation, Eason is the future at the position, but he's going to be carefully brought along. The staff doesn't want to put too much pressure on him, and it also wants him to earn the job. Eason has the most talent of the bunch, but don't be surprised if this job is still up for grabs this fall.

2. Defensive line: Last season's line produced just 11.5 tackles for loss and two sacks, but this season's line will be even younger, with three starters gone. Those starters might not have been the most productive players in 2015, but their experience would have been a plus with how involved Smart is with his defensive lines. Nose tackle Trenton Thompson has a ton of potential and was expected to make a major impact last season. Though, he had a slow start to his career, Thompson had a tremendous offseason that has carried into spring practice. However, with big junior John Atkins also in the middle, Thompson isn't a shoe-in to take this position in the 3-4 scheme. In 4-3 alignments, both could get on the field. Freshman Julian Rochester is also getting reps at defensive tackle. There are more questions at end, with the one-game suspensions of Chauncey Rivers and Jonathan Ledbetter to start the fall. The Dawgs are thin here, but sophomore Michael Barnett and redshirt freshman Justin Young are getting important reps.

3. Wide receiver: With Malcolm Mitchell gone, Georgia's most proven receiver is now sophomore Terry Godwin, who caught just 35 passes for 379 yards and two touchdowns last season. He has electric ability, but is he ready to be the go-to guy in this offense? Junior Isaiah McKenzie has the athletic ability to be a game-changer when he touches the football, but he's been very limited at receiver, catching just 18 passes in two seasons. Senior Reggie Davis caught just 12 passes last season, and will have to work a lot on his consistency this spring. Sophomores Jayson Stanley (two catches last season) and Shaquery Wilson (zero catches last season) will need to expedite their development through the spring. The overall speed and playmaking ability of this group is also a mystery, so receiver will remain a major unknown heading into the fall.