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Colbie Young, Georgia receivers showcase skills during G-Day

Palmber-Thombsby:Palmer Thombs04/14/24


ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia’s receivers shined on Saturday during the annual G-Day spring game, and while the setup certainly is one that favors the passing game, the presence of players like Dominic Lovett, Colbie Young and others bodes well for the Bulldogs headed into the 2024 season.

Lovett led all pass catchers with seven catches for 104 yards and a touchdown, one that tied the game with under a minute to go. In his second year after transferring, Lovett is looking more and more comfortable by the day, something he spoke on this spring.

Anthony Evans combined for 79 yards on four catches, being targets 12 times in his action with the two teams. Then there’s the likes of Rara Thomas (four catches, 58 yards), Michael Jackson III (five catches, 42 yards), Dillon Bell (two catches, 22 yards) and London Humphreys (two catches, 18 yards) that add to the depth of the receiver room. Arian Smith also had a catch for 18 yards to wrap up a spring he’s made headlines.

Amidst all the talented names, Young, in his first season at Georgia after transferring from Miami (Fla.), showed off the reasons why the Bulldogs went out and added him this offseason. Listed at 6-foot-3 but looking closer to 6-foot-5, Young hauled in three passes for 27 yards including a pair of contested-catch, third down conversions and a jump ball red zone touchdown grab.

“I think all across the board, our wideouts may be our best leadership group. O-line maybe and then receiver. They have some really good core leaders,” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said about the receivers.

“I know that the first level, let’s call it the first four, five guys deep, it’s very experienced. After that, it’s like, I’m still trying to figure out what we’ve got,” he added. “There’s young players that are talented. Sacovie (White) and Nitro (Tuggle) are going to be good players. The portal guys are still coming along: Mike Jackson and London. Colbie has factored in and made some plays. Colbie’s made plays like that all spring. When you throw RaRa, Dillon, Arian, and Dom out there, it gives you, what they are is the bullies. They bully you on special teams. They lead, they show toughness. That’s usually your defensive back group. For us, right now it’s our wideouts.”

Having those kind of players and combining them with a quarterback like Carson Beck makes for one heck of an offense. When you add in the pass catching threat of Georgia’s running backs and tight ends, the ceiling is raised even higher. That’s what the Bulldogs showed on Saturday. While it wasn’t the cleanest of scrimmages with the defense doing its job and holding the two Georgia offensive units to just 10 points each in both halves, there were moments in there throughout where it’s easy to see what the group is capable of.

As for Young specifically, his teammates think he’s got the ability to be a game-changer for Georgia. It’s been a few seasons since the Bulldogs had a true go-up-and-get-it receiver, counting on separation more often than not with guys like Ladd McConkey and Jermaine Burton starring over the past few seasons. Brock Bowers has been that guy at the tight end position, but he’s not around anymore. Nor are the likes of AD Mitchell and Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint. Yes, there still are separation guys on the roster, but Young’s skillset is something different, adding another element to the difficult task that is defending UGA.

“I’m not surprised with anything Colbie does,” Dillon Bell said about Young. “Colbie has not dropped a fade ball since he’s been here. 50/50, it’s not 50/50 with him, it’s like 90/10. He hasn’t dropped any passes, so for him to show it out here, I was happy for him.”

“He’s like a Megatron (Calvin Johnson) type of style,” Lovett added.

In two seasons at Miami, Young combined for 930 yards and 10 touchdowns on 79 receptions. Twice during his first season with the Hurricanes did Young top the 100-yard mark including a 9-grab game against Virginia Tech, followed up the next week with a pair of trips to the end zone and 127 yards versus Duke. In 2023, he posted a trio of 6-catch Saturdays, topping out at 79 yards but showing a little bit more consistency with multiple catches in every outing.

“He has integrated himself into that group really well. He’s not the alpha leader, he’s a quiet kid,” Kirby Smart said about Young, not going as far as to compare him to an NFL and NCAA hall of famer like Lovett did. “What impresses me about him is he’s showing up on special teams. I’m like, when you show up on special teams and you show a commitment to blocking and holding people up, he’s been a really good special teams player. We sold him that if you came here, you had to buy into those values. It’s made him tougher, more physical.”

“He’s a big body, he’s a tough matchup for all teams,” he continued. “I’m pleased with where he is. He still has work to do in terms of learning. I look at him like RaRa last year. This time last year, RaRa didn’t understand the offense. He couldn’t line up and execute all the time. RaRa’s a lot further along. We didn’t have to give him as many reps, we didn’t have to give Arian as many reps. Colbie did a nice job.”

Next up for Young and the rest of the Georgia receivers, an offseason of work with their veteran quarterback. Carson Beck said after the scrimmage that he can’t wait to further develop chemistry with his pass catchers during player-led workouts this summer. According to him, that’s where the best work happens and the connection is really built – and if Saturday was any indication, Beck further developing chemistry with this group of receivers should be a scary thought for the SEC this season.

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