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Oscar Delp excited about new role after important offseason

Palmber-Thombsby:Palmer Thombs08/16/23


Oscar Delp Discusses Offseason Weight Gain, Improvement As A Blocker | Georgia Bulldogs Football

ATHENS, Ga. — Oscar Delp knew from the day he stepped foot on Georgia’s campus that he’d have to put on weight to be a better blocker. A matchup with Travon Walker fresh out of high school proved that to be true. Fast forward a year-and-a-half to now though, the sophomore tight end is 20 pounds heavier and feeling capable of contributing to the Bulldogs’ attempt at a three-peat.

Ranked the No. 2 tight end in the Class of 2022, Georgia fans were excited when Delp chose their team out of West Forsyth High School. He was a South Carolina legacy with a mother that was vocal about her love for the Gamecocks. Still, seeing what the Bulldogs were doing just down the road with a freshman tight end Brock Bowers, it was hard to pass on the opportunity to be coached by Todd Hartley.

Delp finished up his senior season at West Forsyth totaling nine touchdowns (8 receiving, 1 rushing) and nearly 1,000 total yards in 11 games. Then it was on to Athens earlier than most of his classmates to help Georgia prepare for the College Football Playoffs. That’s when we was matched up with Walker, the No. 1 overall pick in the next NFL Draft, in practice and shown what college football was really like.

“I was in there my first day in pads. I wasn’t even on the roster yet or at the school yet, but the freshmen come in and practice with the team for that camp. The first person I went against was Travon Walker, and he literally just — I didn’t even know what I was doing or what a six-tech was,” Delp said. “It’s just a drill where they basically put one-on-one and just run at each other and the best man wins. He basically just walked me back as far as he wanted. That’s when I knew I had to do a lot of things to play in the SEC and play for Georgia.”

Delp did those things during his freshman year. He saw action as a backup tight end in 11 of 12 regular season contests totaling five catches for 61 yards. Against South Carolina in a return to Williams-Brice Stadium where he grew up watching games, Delp turned his first collegiate catch into a 28-yard touchdown – his only on the season. However, it was a game later in the season that really served as the wake-up call for the freshman.

When Darnell Washington went down in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl College Football Playoff semifinal against Ohio State, it was Delp who was thrust into the spotlight, asked to step up and help the Bulldogs earn a spot in the National Championship Game.

“I remember watching that game and seeing Darnell go down. I didn’t think he was going to be out for long, but he happened to stay out. I knew it was just my turn to go in, and the coaches don’t care who’s up next. I mean, if you’re on the depth chart next, you’re going to play,” Delp said. “I was prepared and I was ready. I knew everything I had to do. I was definitely a lot lighter. I felt like I was a little kid amongst men out there playing against some of those big dudes, and I’m definitely way more comfortable going in there now at the weight I’m at. Just knowing everything I had to do and just not getting flustered by the play calls and everything was just the biggest thing.”

“That’s one thing that Georgia does really well is just making sure everyone’s ready to play because they have that next-man-up mentality,” he continued. “They don’t care who’s up next. If your number’s called, they expect you going in and doing what you’re supposed to do … It was awesome getting in there and getting to experience a game like that and just an atmosphere like that. To kind of look back on that now and be like, ‘OK, I did that.’ I kind of got that big first game out of the way. I just kind of got that off my shoulders. So I’m really excited for this season and to hopefully play in some more really big games. I’m just really excited for this season.”

Delp has reason to be excited for this season. Coming in at 245 pounds now – heaviest among Georgia’s four scholarship tight ends – he’s expected to take on a much bigger role as a blocker, once again trying to fill the shoes of Washington. It’s something that Delp said was going to be an emphasis for him in the offseason last year when we spoke with him before the National Championship when it looked like he might get the start in place of the injured Washington. Now, that Washington’s gone entirely, that’s Delp’s way onto the field.

“Definitely grown the most in, like, the run-blocking aspect part of the game. Just working on those fundamentals I didn’t focus on as much in high school like my footwork and just really getting stronger in the weight room and just being able to move those bigger guys on the line,” Delp said. “The biggest thing was just getting stronger in the weight room and really just getting my legs stronger, chest bigger, arms stronger and everything. Just working out a ton and trusting the strength coaches and the strength staff and the nutrition staff and just eating everything they told me to. Just buying into the process and really trying to just put on as much weight as possible and get used to it running around in it and playing fast and playing big.”

“It’s something I really had to learn from high school,” he continued, talking about blocking. “I mean, now I feel like I enjoy blocking. When a big play’s called where I know I have to make a big block, like, I get excited for it. It’s almost like the same as making a big play. I mean, Coach Hartley says sometimes he’d rather us just own the line of scrimmage than be that tight end room that makes all these catches. I mean, really we look at it like a run-first offense and tight end room rather than all those big catches and pretty stuff.”

Delp knows the kind of talent he’s been around. After all, Georgia’s the only school to have put a tight end into the NFL each of the last five years. Once seen as the next Brock Bowers when he committed and now being looked at to replace Darnell Washington, Delp’s not trying to be anybody but himself though.

“I love playing with Brock and everything, but, I mean, I’m just trying to be the next Oscar Delp,” he said. “I mean, obviously everyone wants to be like Brock Bowers and make the plays that he makes and they’re crazy. It’s great to have a guy like that in the room that can kind of mentor me and also just be one of my buddies that I just hang out with. I’m just trying to focus on my game and just be the next Oscar Delp.”

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