Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE
The Georgia Bulldogs may lose a lot of players from their defensive unit next season. Who is set to step in and what will be their expectations?
Right now, only four current starters on the Georgia Bulldogs' defensive side are expected to return next season. Despite a high amount of turnover, the players filling those defensive voids next season believe there will not be a significant drop-off on defense.
Linebacker Ramik Wilson thinks that the fact that so many of these players have waited for their chance to get significant playing time could possibly improve the defense a bit:
"It's probably gonna be a little bit better," he said. "Because some dudes out there that've been waiting, we're hungry. We're ready to go out and make plays. We've been sitting and watching these guys for awhile now. So we're ready to let the dogs off the leash."
Part of what has given the Bulldogs such depth on defense has been recruiting. Several of the reserves that have not yet started were recruited as four-star recruits, as well as one five-star in Josh Harvey-Clemons. While he does not know where he will ultimately end up, he welcomes the opportunity to learn a new position after learning both inside and outside linebackers and safety:
"It's really knowing what position I'm gonna play and then learning that position," Harvey-Clemons said. "Because basically I'm going to be in the same spot as the freshmen next year when they come in, because I'll be learning a new position. But it's a great opportunity."
Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt thinks that next year's defense will have a lot of speed and strength. The one concern he will have is how quickly the unit melds together:
"We had that situation offensively (this year) to a certain degree, and those guys exceeded everybody's expectation," Richt said. "So it'll be the defense's turn to have all the questions about can they possibly be good enough to help us win the SEC."