The top 5 Georgia football standouts from fall camp
Oregon week, at long last, is here for the Georgia Bulldogs. The 2022 season starts for Georgia on Saturday after nearly a month of preseason practices.
Most of those practices were focused on self-improvement, with the Bulldogs working to get better and shore themselves up before turning their attention to the Ducks.
Between the intense position battles and multiple scrimmages, a handful of players were able to stand out above the rest. These five players listed below are far from the only players who had strong moments during fall camp, as a number of players made progress. But the players highlighted are ones that earned consistent praise heading into the opener.
Georgia football fall camp standouts
5. Tate Ratledge, offensive line
The quote: “I don’t take things for granted because I was on top of the world starting for us, and then the next thing I know it’s over with. So, definitely feel like I understand the game better just sitting back and watching and not really as much playing. Mentally, I’m definitely a lot stronger than I was.” — Ratledge
The why: Ratledge’s talent should no longer be doubted. If he’s healthy, he’s going to be Georgia’s starting right guard. That much was made clear during August. It was a little touch and go as Ratledge battled turf toe, but that injury was not tied to Ratledge’s surgically repaired foot. If the Bulldogs are able to get a full season out of Ratledge, Georgia very well could have one of the best offensive lines in the country.
4. Dillon Bell, wide receiver
The quotes: He will work his way into rotation by necessity. We don’t have the depth at the position. Right now at wide out, we don’t have great depth and we have a couple injuries. Those young guys are getting thrust out there, and they have to go up. We have done it before. We’ve had productive young wide receivers.” — Kirby Smart on Bell.
The why: Oscar Delp and Malaki Starks were other true freshmen that made some plays for Georgia during August. But Bell hit the ground running after arriving during the summer. Georgia has a strong recent history of churning out productive freshman wide receivers and Bell seems well positioned to follow in the foot steps of George Pickens and AD Mitchell.
3. Kamari Lassiter
The quotes: “I’d say whenever this time of the year comes, you’ve got to switch your mind a little bit. You’ve got to lock in and laser focus. And I’d say that just keeping a strong relationship with God and my family and my coaches and just locking in and just trying to be the best person that I can be each day.” — Lassiter
The why: Nyland Green had a good camp for Georgia. The three freshmen cornerbacks are going to be key players for this team this year. But Lassiter found another gear this past month and clearly locked himself into a starting spot for the Oregon game. The Ducks will test Lassiter early and often as he lines up opposite Kelee Ringo but the sophomore from Savannah, Ga., is more than ready for the challenge.
2. Darnell Washington
The quotes: “He’s worked tremendously hard putting himself in the best health possible. He’s really in a good spot. You know, he’s a guy that I came in on Sunday, and he’s out there running on his own on a day that was off. He’s got a purpose. He’s practicing to be driven. And excited to see, you know, what he can do. It’s going to be important that we get him in good, physical conditioning shape to be good to go in this training camp.” — Smart on Washington
The why: Washington entered camp in great shape and it really seems to have paid off for the junior. He made big plays in both scrimmages, even in a loaded tight end room with Brock Bowers, Arik Gilbert and Delp. While many will be eager to see how Bowers build off last year and what Gilbert can bring to this team, Washington made it crystal clear this August that he is going to be a force for the Bulldogs this year.
1. Kenny McIntosh
The quote: “It is work ethic. He has always been a worker. He was in the shadows of those other guys and now, he steps up and he leads. He pushes guys. He’s got better stamina. There were times where he would get tired in practice in the past. He might be gassed and taking reps. Now, he might be the rush guy. He can go cover a punt. He can run routes out of the backfield. He is elusive. He has had the best camp he has ever had by far in terms of no mental lapses and picking up pressures. He has done a tremendous job.” — Smart on McIntosh