Georgia Bulldogs: ESPN names their top newcomer for 2023

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The Georgia Bulldogs are fresh off their second straight National Championship, but all eyes in Athens are now on #3, as UGA aims to become the first team in college football history to win three consecutive National Championships. And they couldn’t be in a better position to do so. Not only do they have a ton of top-end talent returning, but they also benefit from a favorable schedule due to their matchup with Oklahoma being canceled. It will take a letdown for the Dawgs not to find themselves right back in the College Football Playoff, but in order to avoid that letdown, new faces must make a name for themselves.

ESPN recently came up with a list of newcomers to watch out for among the top 25 teams in college football. For the Bulldogs, the players to watch are a couple of transfer wide receivers — Rara Thomas and Dominic Lovett.

The Bulldogs were the only team from a Power Five conference that didn’t add any players from the transfer portal in 2022, and they still won their second straight CFP national championship. Kirby Smart added two transfers to help the receiver corps this coming season, although it’s unclear if both will be available when spring practice begins. Mississippi State transfer Rara Thomas, who led his former team in receiving yards last season, was arrested on a felony charge of false imprisonment and misdemeanor battery-family violence following an incident with a woman in a dorm room on Jan. 23. Missouri’s Dominic Lovett, who led the Tigers with 56 catches for 846 yards and three scores this past season, also transferred to Georgia. As good as the Bulldogs were on offense in 2022, they didn’t have many consistent receivers outside of Ladd McConkey. Adonai Mitchell, who transferred to Texas, and Arian Smith were hurt for much of the season.

I’m not sure how Rara Thomas’ legal situation unfolds, but there’s a strong chance he doesn’t end up playing in Athens if the case does not turn out in his favor, which means that much more will be on the shoulders of Dominic Lovett.

Every member of the Bulldogs’ starting offense will have to step up next year. They are losing a Heisman finalist in Stetson Bennett, a top wide receiver in Adonai Mitchell, Darnell Washington, and Broderick Jones, among others. However, there remains an embarrassment of riches on that side of the ball, led by All-American tight end Brock Bowers. I expect them to reload on offense, just as they did defensively this season, but I agree that they will need guys like Thomas and Lovett to step up if they are indeed eligible in 2023.

Photo: Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire

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