Georgia released its post-spring depth chart earlier this week, and while there weren't all that many surprises for folks who have been following spring practice and the various position races closely, there are a few obvious places where, in the words of Senator Blutarsky over at Get the Picture, "the welcome mat has been laid out for the Dream Team." Let's take it unit by unit, with players listed in order of their depth-chart placement.
QUARTERBACK: Aaron Murray, Hutson Mason, Christian LeMay.
No surprises here. LeMay looked good in the G-Day game, particularly for a guy straight out of high school (and who'd effectively skipped his senior season at that), but my guess is Mark Richt and Mike Bobo will do everything in their power to keep him securely redshirted in 2011.
TAILBACK: Caleb King, Carlton Thomas, Brandon Harton, Ken Malcome.
FULLBACK: Bruce Figgins, Alexander Ogletree, Dustin Royston.
At tailback, it's a little surprising to see G-Day fan favorite Ken Malcome buried behind a walk-on, though he was nagged by injuries through much of spring practice. But we all know the real news at this position is the guy who's not listed -- Isaiah Crowell, who will compete for the starting job from the minute he sets foot on campus this summer. At fullback, former tight end Bruce Figgins appears to have taken control as the starter -- not a huge shock, though Dawg fans should be pleased at the coaches' apparent confidence in his ability to pick up a new position.
FLANKER: Marlon Brown, Michael Bennett, Israel Troupe.
SPLIT END: Tavarres King, Rantavious Wooten, Chris Conley.
TIGHT END: Orson Charles, Aron White, Arthur Lynch.
No surprises at tight end, where Georgia's embarrassment of riches (even after Bruce Figgins' position move) ensures all three will see healthy amounts of playing time; where that leaves four-star recruit Jay Rome, on the other hand, remains to be seen. At flanker, it's time for Marlon Brown to live up to the hype, and if he doesn't, Michael Bennett will be breathing down his neck all season. On the opposite side of the field, Tavarres King becomes the elder statesman of the receiving corps, and he'll have to step up big in A.J. Green's absence because depth behind him is lacking. Don't be surprised to see early enrollee Chris Conley get some early playing time -- or to see Dream Teamer Malcolm Mitchell in the mix at both receiving spots by September.
LEFT TACKLE: Cordy Glenn, Hugh Williams.
LEFT GUARD: Kenarious Gates, Kolton Houston, Dallas Lee.
CENTER: Ben Jones, Ben Reynolds.
RIGHT GUARD: Chris Burnette, Brent Benedict.
RIGHT TACKLE: Justin Anderson, Austin Long.
Unfortunately, the first thing that jumps out at me here is the lack of depth across the board. With Trinton Sturdivant missing a third season due to yet another knee injury, the critical left tackle position falls to Cordy Glenn; though Hugh Williams is listed behind him, the coaches have indicated Kenarious Gates will be their first option should either of the starting tackles get injured, which will likely cause a wave of shuffling across the line. Here again, the coaches will do everything they can to hold the unit together and keep any redshirts from getting burned, but if they have to put any Dream Teamers out there, Zach DeBell and Watts Dantzler seem the most likely candidates.
LEFT DEFENSIVE END: Abry Jones, Garrison Smith, Candler Cook.
NOSE GUARD: Kwame Geathers, Michael Thornton.
RIGHT DEFENSIVE END: DeAngelo Tyson, Derrick Lott.
Kwame Geathers caused some audible gasping at spring practices with his size and added muscle, but Mark Richt didn't recruit JUCO NT Johnathan Jenkins just to let Jenkins warm the bench. Geathers and Jenkins will compete for the starting role throughout summer, and don't be surprised to see them take the field side-by-side in Todd Grantham's frequent change-of-pace 4-3 formations. Chris Mayes would've been an interesting addition to this front, but he's headed to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (where John Jenkins just transferred from, incidentally) to get his grades up.
LEFT OUTSIDE LINEBACKER: Cornelius Washington, Reuben Faloughi, Ricky Lowe.
LEFT INSIDE LINEBACKER: Christian Robinson, Michael Gilliard, Brandon Burrows.
RIGHT INSIDE LINEBACKER: Alec Ogletree, Richard Samuel, Jeremy Sulek.
RIGHT OUTSIDE LINEBACKER: Jarvis Jones, Chase Vasser, Matthew DeGenova.
The surprise move of Alec Ogletree from safety to linebacker appears to have been the right one, as 'Tree has comfortably settled into his spot at ILB. That leaves just one question: Where's the Right Reverend Ray Drew going to go? My wild guess is the left side of the defensive front, where Todd Grantham will be able to move him between linebacker and defensive end as the situation dictates. Not sure that Drew will have worked his way into a starting job by the season opener -- it all depends on how quickly he picks up Grantham's playbook -- but he's a virtual lock to see plenty of playing time as the season progresses. Kent Turene and Amarlo Herrera will also find their way onto the depth chart at some point in the season.
FREE SAFETY: Bacarri Rambo, Jakar Hamilton.
STRONG SAFETY: Shawn Williams, Marc Deas.
LEFT CORNERBACK: Sanders Commings, Jordan Love, Blake Sailors.
RIGHT CORNERBACK: Brandon Boykin, Branden Smith, Derek Owens.
Relatively speaking, cornerback seems pretty solid; Devin Bowman and Damian Swann could work their way onto the depth chart with great showings over the summer, but the starting jobs won't change. Safety, though, is another story. Rambo and Williams are the starters and they aren't going anywhere, but depth behind them is non-existent. So while Nick Marshall and Corey Moore will likely get their first taste of action on special teams, the door is wide-open for them to earn playing time at safety. Chris Sanders could be a factor as well.
PLACEKICKER: Blair Walsh, Brandon Bogotay, Jamie Lindley.
PUNTER: Drew Butler, Adam Erickson.
LONG SNAPPER: Ty Frix, Billy Johnson.
KICKOFF RETURNER: Brandon Boykin, Branden Smith, Carlton Thomas.
PUNT RETURNER: Brandon Boykin, Branden Smith.
Nothing shocking here, as Georgia's kicking/punting teams might rank as the best in the country. As far as return men, Boykin and Smith are listed as sharing the starting PR job. They're not in any danger of losing that status, but don't be surprised to see Dream Teamers Justin Scott-Wesley, Chris Sanders and Nick Marshall -- all track stars at their respective high schools -- get some late-game opportunities should the Dawgs hold any comfortable leads this season.