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July 29, 2011
A reporter joked to wide receiver Tavarres King that perhaps this particular interview would not include the mention of one A.J. Green.
No such luck.
Just a handful of questions into this week's sit-down with the Georgia junior, Green's name was evoked as it pertained to King and his status on the Bulldogs this fall.
Actually, it's a natural question to ask.
With Green now catching passes for the Cincinnati Bengals, one of the obvious questions for fall camp is which receiver will the Bulldogs turn to when the season opens Sept. 3 against Boise State?
Why not King?
"Absolutely, I do feel that way," King said. "It's my time to step up and be a leader, that and be a playmaker as well."
Statistically, there's no reason why he shouldn't.
King finished third on the Bulldogs in receiving last fall behind Green and Kris Durham with 27 catches for 504 yards and three touchdowns, numbers that earned him a Pre-season SEC third-team selection by Athlon Sports.
Still, some questions remain about the rest of Georgia's wide receiving corps, which returns just three players - Marlon Brown, Israel Troupe and Rantavious Wooten - who saw any game action at all last fall.
In fact, King's 27 catches is six more than the trio combined, meaning the opportunities are certainly going to be there for other wide outs to make an impact.
"We've still got weapons," King said. "You look down the board and I still see guys who can make plays at any time and that's great to know."
There's a certain group of freshmen King expects to make an impact as well.
Along with redshirt freshman Michael Bennett who is expected to jump right in, the true freshman quartet of Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Conley, Sanford Seay and perhaps Justin Scott-Wesley will also get their chance to shine.
If you believe the buzz emanating from the just completed summer workouts, Mitchell might be ready to make the biggest impact at all.
Last week during SEC Media Days, quarterback Aaron Murray perked up the ears of the Bulldog Nation when he stated that the Valdosta native could "start for any team in the country."
Although such praise may be considered hyperbole until the players put on the pads, Mitchell continues to receive bouquets from teammates on both side of the ball.
Ditto for King.
"(Mitchell) is a tremendous athlete and can do a lot of different things," King said. "The other day in pass skel, he was just torching guys. He's going to help this team a lot. All these young guys are ball players, man."
Conley figures to be in the mix as well and could have a leg up on some of his competition.
It helped the freshman that he was able to go through spring drills with the rest of the team, although players like Seay and Scott-Wesley will still get their chance to prove to position coach Tony Ball that they're ready to see some early playing time.
"All these guys have pretty good hands," King said. "Like I said, Malcolm has awesome ball skills. He's going to contribute a lot this year."
As for King, he hopes his experience will rub off on his younger teammate as they settle into life on the collegiate stage.
"I remember what it was like for me when I first started," King said. "I just want to do everything I can to help show them the way."
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Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports and he can be reached via email at email@example.com.