Georgia football winners and losers following 2021 G-Day

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Georgia football winners following 2021 G-Day

Winner: Devonte Wyatt

It’s difficult for defensive players to shine in spring games, with the event traditionally geared toward the offenses. But senior Devonte Wyatt made the most of his G-Day, as he finished with two of the four sacks the first-team defense picked up.

Wyatt could’ve left for the NFL following the 2020 season but he elected to return to Georgia for another year using the NCAA’s extra year of eligibility.

And the senior from Decatur, Ga., is coming back with lofty goals in mind.

“In that room, when we decided to come back, it felt like we can do something this year together and make history,” Wyatt said. “Go to the playoffs, win a national championship. So, we [Wyatt and Jordan Davis] both decided to come back together and win one together.”

Related: Georgia defense makes plays on G-Day even if ‘you are not shutting people down anymore’

Davis didn’t pick up a sack on Saturday but the longest-designed run on Saturday was just nine yards. His presence was felt. Travon Walker and Nolan Smith also added sacks on G-Day, while sophomore Jalen Carter flashed as well.

Wyatt had the top day from a defender on G-Day but it shouldn’t come as a surprise the defensive line had a strong showing. This is the best unit on the Georgia team, with G-Day only further proving that point.

Loser: Georgia offensive line 

As strong as the defensive line was, the offensive line still has plenty of questions. The group seemed to have a top-six, with Xavier Truss starting at left tackle, Justin Shaffer at left guard, Warren Ericson at center, Tate Ratledge at right guard and Warren McClendon at right tackle. Jamaree Salyer also worked with the group at left guard and left tackle.

Were Georgia to have played Clemson, Salyer would’ve been out there. Smart remarked that the senior had missed portions of spring practice and was shaking off the rust.

Georgia though wants to give Ratledge as many reps as possible so that he can be ready for what figures to be a strong Clemson defensive front.

“We are not where we need to be on the offensive line,” Smart said. “If we are going to be a good team, we have to protect the quarterback, and we have to be able to run the ball. That is one of the areas where we are going to have to take some of the largest leaps in order to get where we want to go next season.”

Smart noted the group specifically has to give quarterback JT Daniels a cleaner pocket that he can step into to operate.

The second-team offensive line did have some of the more tantalizing prospects in Broderick Jones at right tackle, Sedrick Van Pran at center and Amarius Mims at left tackle. Georgia did run a throw-back play to Mims on a two-point conversion attempt, but he was unable to get into the endzone. Had he done so, it likely would’ve been the highlight of the day for the group.

Winner: The Georgia quarterback room

All four of Georgia’s quarterbacks had some strong moments on Saturday. Daniels was the obvious star, as he tossed for 324 yards and three touchdowns. He looked every bit as sharp as he did the last time he played in Sanford Stadium, when he threw for 401 yards and four touchdowns against Mississippi State.

“There’s been a lot of improvement to me overall personally and also with a lot of guys stepping up in the receiver room,” Daniels said. “There’s a lot better chemistry that you notice from the spring game compared to the 180, when I was first starting to rep with the 1s.”

Stetson Bennett saw limited reps with the same first-team offense but proved he could effectively move the ball. He did throw an interception while trying to take a shot downfield.

Most encouraging was the performance of Carson Beck. The redshirt freshman had a strong spring and that continued on Saturday as he threw for 236 yards. He did get intercepted by walk-on Dan Jackson on an ill-advised downfield attempt to Arian Smith. But Beck responded by throwing touchdown passes on each of his final two drives of the game.

Related: Carson Beck ‘stepped up his game’ this spring as he competes for backup quarterback role

Georgia fans got their first look at Brock Vandagriff and he didn’t disappoint either. He did have a fumbled snap and threw for just 47 yards on nine attempts but the talent was evident from the freshman.

Daniels is clearly the established quarterback for the Georgia program in 2021. But Beck and Vandagriff flashed enough potential to show that there is plenty of upside at the position beyond Daniels.

Loser: Field goals in spring games

As important as special teams are for the Georgia program, no one was exactly thrilled to see Jake Camarda get three field goal attempts while working with the first-team offense. Even worse was the fact that Camarda missed all three attempts, though distance was not the problem for the senior.

Jack Podlesny did connect on his lone attempt on the afternoon as he continues to look like a very dependable option for Georgia.

Some had hoped to see what redshirt freshman Jared Zirkel could do on field goals but Smart explained why he was unable to play on Saturday.

“Zirkel has been injured, so we went with [Jake] Camarda today to give him an opportunity,” Smart said. “You know we don’t get to travel all the time three kickers, so you want to have a back-up kicker situation in case a guy goes down, and there’s no better experience for a kicker than getting to kick field goals in a game.”

Winner: Darnell Washington

Washington was working with the second-team offense on Saturday. If he keeps making plays as he did, that will not be the case for long.

The sophomore from Las Vegas finished with four receptions for 84 yards and a touchdown. He looked every bit as unguardable as someone of his size should.

“He’s a great target he’s a big target, he’s an athletic guy. He is a weapon,” Smart said. “We have to find ways to be able to utilize him both in the passing game and in the run game because he’s a weapon in both.”

Making Washington’s performance all the more impressive is that he did miss a number of practices this spring for Georgia and was still working his way back into shape.

That didn’t stop him though from rampaging through the Georgia defense on a 51-yard reception. Poor Dan Jackson tried to bring down Washington. It did not go well.

While wide receiver will be a very important position to monitor for Georgia in August, it should feel very good with what it has at tight end because of Washington.

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