Two names will be missing from Georgia’s receiving corps this upcoming season. With Tavarres King and Marlon Brown now playing in the NFL, most teams would be worried as to how to fill the gap left by such productive receivers. King, now with the Broncos, finished his career at Georgia with 21 receiving touchdowns and 2,602 receiving yards, landing at No. 4 on Georgia’s all-time receiving list.
In just the 2012 season, King had 950 receiving yards. Brown, now a wide receiver for the Ravens, played only eight games last season before being sidelined with an injury. Despite his absence, he still managed to end the season as the Bulldogs’ third-leading receiver, with 27 receptions. During Georgia’s game against Ole Miss, he led the team with 113 yards.
The Bulldogs, however, will not have to worry over what guys will make up for the loss of King and Brown. Malcolm Mitchell and Michael Bennett made their marks last season and will continue to do so as QB Aaron Murray’s go-to receivers. In addition to Mitchell and Bennett, Murray will have the option of throwing to Chris Conley and Rantavious Wooten, as well as transfer Jonathon Rumph and, potentially, freshman Reggie Davis. Georgia also has a strong group of tight ends, especially Arthur Lynch and Jay Rome, to help Murray out.
1. Malcolm Mitchell
In 2012, Mitchell worked on both sides of the ball, spending part of the season on defense as a cornerback, in addition to his work as a receiver. Despite playing on defense, he ended the season as Georgia’s second-leading receiver with 40 receptions for 572 yards. With Mitchell working solely as a receiver in 2013, his numbers will rise even more, as he establishes himself as Georgia’s top receiver.
The one issue for Mitchell will be staying healthy. As a sophomore, he missed the first game of the season with an injury; the year before, he missed parts of four games due to another injury. One of Mitchell’s strong points, however, is his ability to be very productive in a short amount of time. Last season, he was productive on the offensive side of the ball, even though he played part of the season on defense. In his freshman year, while recovering from an injury, he had 65 catches for 665 yards and ended the season with four receiving touchdowns. Mitchell’s ability to come back and be effective is one of his strengths.
2. Michael Bennett
Bennett’s season ended early last year as he dealt with a torn ACL that occurred during practice. At the time of the injury, though, he was Georgia’s leading receiver, with 24 catches for 345 yards. Those 345 yards came in just 5 games, surpassing the 320 yards he had in total during 2011. After working out over the summer, Bennett will be ready for the season opener against Clemson, as he works to add to his productivity from last season. In the second scrimmage of the preseason, Bennett had one catch for eight yards, in addition to a touchdown.
Conley and Wooten will be other options for Murray. In 2012, Conley made 20 catches for 342 yards and six touchdowns, while Wooten had two catches for 36 yards and one touchdown. Despite being backups, Conley and Wooten can be productive in the same manner as Mitchell and Bennett, giving Georgia much depth in the receiver position.
Both Jonathon Rumph, a junior transfer, and Reggie Davis, a freshman, have shown their potential throughout the preseason. Davis, at 6-foot, 160 pounds, is very similar to Mitchell in size. Originally, Davis was predicted to redshirt, especially with the number of active receivers on Georgia’s roster, but his preseason performance is showing otherwise. Georgia’s newest receivers show promise for this season and should give the Bulldogs confidence heading into subsequent years.