January 6, 2010

Both starting jobs up for grab at safety

With Reshad Jones' decision to make himself available for the NFL Draft, it's now assured that both starting safety spots will be up for grabs when Georgia kicks off spring practice in March.

The Bulldogs were already down one spot due to the graduation of Bryan Evans, but with Jones' announcement to move on to the NFL, Georgia's new defensive coordinator - whomever that may be - will be looking find two new starters.

Bacarri Rambo figures to have one of the spots locked down.

As a redshirt freshman, Rambo enjoyed a solid season in a backup role for the Bulldogs last fall, collecting 21 tackles and intercepted two passes before suffering a concussion in the next-to-last regular season game of the year against Auburn.

Jones said he expects his former teammate to shine.

"Watching Bacarri grow, I think he's going to fit right on in. I think he's a great player," Jones said. "He's starting to learn the game, he knows his stuff. He'll be a big help for Georgia and the secondary next year."

Rambo won't be the only returnee vying for playing time. The oft-injured Quintin Banks, along with rising sophomores Shawn Williams and Makiri Pugh also return, while fellow sophomore Sanders Commings has played both the cornerback and safety position.

Pugh only saw action in eight games while Williams appeared in all 13, albeit with most of his action on special teams.

Banks, meanwhile, has been limited to just three games in two seasons and it remains to be seen if the former Houston County star can regain the form he had before his recent plethora of injuries began to take their toll.

Fortunately for Georgia, the Bulldogs have a pair of incoming players who appear ready to step in and fill in the gaps.

Georgia Military transfer Jakar Hamillton has the ability to step right in and win one of the two starting jobs, while incoming freshman Alex Ogletree appears to be a first-year player more than capable of making an immediate impact on the field.

"I've really bonded with all the players, (Brandon) Boykin, everybody, all through the recruiting process. Rambo keeps telling me he's really happy I'm coming here; he thinks we can be the best safety duo in the SEC next year," Hamilton said. "I'm just ready to get out there. You can put me and (Rambo) at safety, Rambo and Tree (Ogletree) at safety, me at corner - I'll even play some wide receiver if they'll let me. It's going to be wonderful to see."

Two Rivals.com recruiting analysts apparently agree.

"Jakar Hamilton is a JUCO All-American who has shown that he is more college ready to come in and possibly take over for Bryan Evans next year," analyst Mike Farrell said.

Fellow Rivals analyst Barry Every has equally fond words to say about Ogletree, one of the nation's top incoming freshman safeties.

"Ogletree has the size and affinity for major contact," Every said. "He also should play on most special teams and give Georgia a presence in the secondary or linebacking corps that will make receivers think twice about going across the middle."

UGASports' take: "Georgia recruited Hamilton as a junior college player because the Bulldogs expect him to come in and make a solid contribution next fall, if not start. Barring injury, that's just what will happen. Nicknamed "The Hitman," Hamilton will make an immediate impact, and as an early enrollee, will get ample opportunity to win a starting spot. The guess here is he will. As for Ogletree, they sky is the proverbial limit for this guy. "Tree" will make an immediate impact as well, and could wind up pushing for a starting role as well. He's that good."

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