For most Georgia Bulldog fans, the 2010 season is already done—no matter what happens in the Liberty Bowl. For those fans, the time for looking ahead starts now…today. So, as we look into the future just a little bit, and search for potential ‘diamonds in the rough’, there is no better place to start than the guys who took a redshirt in 2010.
Aaron Murray used his one season of bench time to study the offense and become the man that Georgia would eventually call their starting quarterback. And, despite the impression Georgia’s 6-6 record might have sent, there were few who saw him play that didn’t walk away with a positive impression.
That said, 2011 presents the opportunity for another young player to show what he has to offer to the team and, perhaps, become the piece that either the offense or defense needs to help Georgia get back on the championship track.
Here are just a few guys worth keeping track of this summer:
Michael Bennett, WR
Bennett wasn’t highly touted coming out high school but his work ethic and ability to make the big play didn’t escape the attention of many during last summer’s workouts. With Kris Durham graduating and A.J. Green likely bolting for the NFL (unless there is a lockout), Murray will need another big, strong, dependable target to lock in on when he’s in a tight spot. Bennett could be that guy—he’s a definite sleeper.
Mike Thornton, DT
He was one of last years biggest ‘gets’, and there were some who felt he was a perfect fit for Todd Grantham’s 3-4. However, for whatever reason, he wasn’t ready to be installed into the system this season. Even so, he’s worked hard and put on a little more weight and has impressed his coaches with his tough play. With the 3-4 still searching for playmakers, particulary at the nose spot, Thornton could make a big splash real soon.
Ken Malcome, RB
Georgia flirted with letting him see playing time after injuries, and suspensions, limited the depth chart at his position. However, he managed to stay on the sidelines this season and continue to get comfortable with his potential responsibility at running back. That said, he isn’t likely to be a gamebreaker, but Georgia won’t need him to be if he can do two things well, 1) hold on to the football and 2) move the chains.
He could become a big factor this fall as neither Washaun Ealey, nor Caleb King can count on being the shoe-in’s that they were when the 2010 season began.