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Georgia has best linebacker unit in College Football per On3

On3 imageby:Jake Rowe05/15/24


No team in the country has a better claim on the “Linebacker U” title over the past 10 to 15 years than Georgia and that doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon. Jesse Simonton of On3Sports has gotten to the linebacker portion of his position unit rankings and the Bulldogs stand at the very top of the list despite losing a two-year starter via the transfer portal.

“The Bulldogs willingly watched an All-SEC linebacker leave to another SEC team because Jamon Dumas-Johnson wasn’t set to be promised a starting spot in 2024 — that’s how loaded UGA is at linebacker this season,” Simonton writes.

“Sophomores CJ Allen and Raylen Wilson are a pair of former blue-chip recruits who saw ample playing time down the stretch in 2023. They’re both freaky athletic and super instinctive. Former 5-star recruit Smael Mondon Jr. opted to return for his senior season and projects as a likely starter, while junior Jalen Walker might be the best Swiss Army knife linebacker in the country as a pseudo inside edge rusher (team-high 5.0 sacks). The icing on the cake? UGA also signed two of the best inside linebackers in the country in Justin Williams and Chris Cole.”

The position wasn’t a strength for Georgia in 2023 and injuries played a big role. Both Dumas-Johnson and Mondon were dinged up when the season started and the former suffered a season-ending broken forearm right around the time that he shook off other, more nagging ailments.

Mondon’s foot injury lingered throughout the season and he had surgery in January to correct the issue, causing him to miss spring practice. He’s expected back at full speed by the start of preseason camp.

Talent wasn’t an issue for the Bulldogs a season ago but experienced depth was. Allen and Wilson were true freshmen and seeing as how UGA’s scheme relies heavily upon the inside linebackers to make calls and checks, it caused some issues. Both players have over 150 snaps under their belts with Allen playing over 300 snaps in 2023.

With the EDGE position more solidified due to Mykel Williams moving to that spot and Damon Wilson being a year older, Walker will be a much bigger factor as an off-ball linebacker. He has worked at both positions throughout his first two seasons with the team.

Simonton didn’t mention redshirt freshman Troy Bowles but he’s also a factor. The former four-star prospect out of Tampa had a fantastic spring and is one of the best coverage players in that group. Georgia now has the luxury of not having to rely on first-year players at the position. If Williams or Cole find their way onto the field, it’ll be in certain situations where they can play to their strengths.

Georgia has ranked No. 6 or better in each of the position units Simonton has released thus far. The Bulldogs ranked No. 4 at quarterback, No. 2 at running back, No. 1 at tight end, and No. 3 at both offensive and defensive line.

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