UGASports - An early look at the Georgia 2022 defense
football Edit

An early look at the Georgia 2022 defense

After examining what Georgia has returning on offense heading into spring practice, let's slide over and discuss the situation on defense.

While there's certainly no shortage of talent, Kirby Smart must replace guys who played integral roles for last season's national champions.

That includes replacing the production of Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt, along with the linebacker trio of Nakobe Dean, Quay Walker and Channing Tindall.

On the back end, the Bulldogs must find replacements for Lewis Cine and Derion Kendrick.

Returning Defensive Linemen
Name Class in 2022

Jalen Carter

Junior

Nazir Stackhouse

Junior

Zion Logue

Redshirt Junior

Warren Brinson

Junior

Tramel Walthour

Senior

Tymon Mitchell

Redshirt Junior

Bill Norton

Redshirt Junior

Marlin Dean

Redshirt Freshman

Jonathan Jefferson

Redshirt Freshman

Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins

Redshirt Freshman

*Mykel Williams

Freshman

*Bear Alexander

Freshman

*Shone Washington

Freshman

*Early enrollee

The biggest question, literally and figuratively, is who steps in and replaces Jordan Davis, who did such a great job for the Bulldogs over the past two years.

There are several options.

Rising junior Jalen Carter was arguably the Bulldogs' best defensive lineman last fall, and will be the focal point for what still should be a very strong defensive line.

Carter plays the game with a nasty disposition, just the kind of attitude you want your players on the front line of the defense to have.

Look for junior Nazir Stackhouse, Zion Logue and Tymon Mitchell to take another step up the rotation, although the player with the most potential may just true freshman Keithian "Bear" Alexander.

Three other redshirt freshmen - Tyrion Ingran-Dawkins, Marlin Dean and Jonathan Jefferson - will also get long looks this spring.

Returning Outside Linebackers
Name Class in 2022

Nolan Smith

Senior

Chaz Chambliss

Sophomore

Robert Beal Jr.

Super Senior

MJ Sherman

Junior

Xavian Sorey

Sophomore

*Mykel Williams

Freshman

*Carlton Madden Jr.

Freshman

*Early enrollee

One cannot overstate how huge it was for Nolan Smith to announce he would be coming back for his senior year.

For starters, his value as one of the team's top defensive players speaks for itself, but also the role he played last fall as one of the most vocal leaders.

Getting Robert Beal Jr. to return was also huge. Beal led Georgia in sacks in 2021, and like Smith, brings excellent experience to the position.

MJ Sherman will also look to take the next step.

Chaz Chambliss and Xavian Sorey also return, but keep an eye on the true freshman.

Mykel Williams and Carlton Madden Jr. are both early enrollees, with5-star Marvin Jones Jr. joining the program in May.

Georgia also has a verbal commitment from Darris Smith who is expected to sign next week.

Returning Inside Linebackers
Name Class in 2022

Rian Davis

Redshirt Junior

Trezman Marshall

Redshirt Junior

Jamon Dumas-Johnson

Sophomore

Smael Mondon

Sophomore

*Jalon Walker

Freshman

*C.J. Washington

Freshman

* Early enrollees

This is a position where Kirby Smart may feel a bit queasy about.

The Bulldogs lost some serious production and leadership with Nakobe Dean, Quay Walker and Channing Tindall moving on.

If Rian Davis and Trezman Marshall can stay healthy, the Bulldogs won't be in bad shape. If not, that's going to put the onus on sophomores Jamon Dumas-Johnson and Smael Mondon to carry much of the load. Those two could be your starters right off the bat.

Early enrolles Jalon Walker and C.J. Washington will also get work in the spring.

Returning Safeties/Star
Names Class in 2022

Christopher Smith

Super Senior

William Poole

Super Senior

Tykee Smith

Redshirt Junior

Dan Jackson

Redshirt Junior

David Daniel

Sophomore

*Malaki Starks

Freshman

*JaCorey Thomas

Freshman

*Early Enrollee

This is a position where the Bulldogs received a break when Christopher Smith, William Poole and Tykee Smith each decided to return.

The Bulldogs lost Lewis Cine to the NFL, but getting Smith and his experience back as one of the two starting safeties is huge. Ditto for Poole, who despite seeing little action during the regular season, came on and played extremely well for the Bulldogs during the playoffs at star.

Tykee Smith, who figures to compete with Poole for the starting job at star, is also greatly welcomed.

The Bulldogs will still need to find another starter opposite Smith, and there will not be any shortage of candidates with redshirt junior Dan Jackson, sophomores David Daniel, along with freshmen Malaki Starks and JaCorey Thomas.

Returning Cornerbacks for 2022
Name Class in 2022

Kelee Ringo

Redshirt Sophomore

Nyland Green

Redshirt Freshman

Kamari Lassiter

Sophomore

*Daylen Everette

Freshman

Javon Bullard

Sophomore

Once again, cornerback is a little bit dicey from a depth perspective, leaving one to wonder if Smart might reach into the transfer portal like he did last spring to bring in Derion Kendrick.

We'll see.

Kelee Ringo figures to have one spot locked down, but after that there's not a ton of experience from which to draw.

Kamari Lassiter flashed as a true freshman, while Javon Bullard received decent reps in a backup role.

The spring will provide a big opportunity for early enrollee Daylen Everette until five stars Julian Humphrey and Jaheim Singletary arrive with the rest of the true freshmen in May.