UGASports - The Daily Recap: Georgia takes center stage
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The Daily Recap: Georgia takes center stage

Kirby Smart speaks at SEC Media Days Tuesday morning.
Kirby Smart speaks at SEC Media Days Tuesday morning.

Here is the July 21 edition of The Daily Recap presented by JFQ Lending.

All about Georgia

On Tuesday, it was Georgia’s turn in the spotlight.

At SEC Media Days, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, quarterback JT Daniels and defensive lineman Jordan Davis met with reporters to discuss the upcoming 2021 college football season.

When it comes to preventing a Covid-19 outbreak, the Bulldogs are reporting that 85 percent of their players have received the vaccine. Davis said this has been an important measure for the team to accomplish.

“Definitely we wanted to put an emphasis on getting vaccinated. Definitely will save us in the long run, at the end of the season, but we also didn't want it mandated. We wanted to make it a choice for others. I definitely believe that it should be a choice,” Davis said. “Me personally, I got vaccinated, but I know some people who are kind of shy or don't want to get that now, and I understand that completely. We just want everybody to be safe and make sure our team is protected during the season.”

Smart said director of sports medicine Ron Courson did a tremendous job driving home the importance of getting the vaccine.

“He has been invaluable—Superman in regard to this, because our staff has done a tremendous job. I’m going to talk about some things our staff has done, but Ron took it down to the studs and like has worked his tail off. He’s had African American doctors come in and speak,” Smart said. “We created a vaccine ambassador program, and J.D. is one. In which the school started that, created that. They took 25 students out of 35,000 students and made them vaccine ambassadors. Six of them are student-athletes. They got trained on how to peer-to-peer recruit and get guys to do the vaccines. There’s a lot of things that played into it, but Ron Courson has been integral in that piece.”

Injury update

When it comes to receiver George Pickens, Smart hasn’t ruled him out to return at some point this season. Pickens suffered a torn ACL during spring practice, which has him out indefinitely.

“George has made great progress. George is running straight-line. If you had to put somebody in the ACL program, who would you put him with better than Ron Courson, and the guys like Todd Gurley, Nick Chubb—guys he has done,” Smart said. “I’m excited about that part. When you see George out there running, it gets you excited. But you also realize that running straight-line is a lot different than playing football. He’s still a ways away.”

Smart said receiver Dominick Blaylock (ACL) has not been cleared for contact as he makes his return to the playing field. Receiver Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint (ankle) is 100 percent, Smart said. Smart added that linebacker Nakobe Dean, receiver Kearis Jackson and linebacker MJ Sherman (shoulder) will be ready for the start of fall camp.

Daniels: Beating Clemson is ‘very important’

Daniels is a big believer that Georgia needs to set an early tone this season with a win over Clemson. How that happens is of little concern.

"Winning against Clemson is very important, honestly. The way that happens does not matter to me," Daniels said. "If I have to hand the ball off every single play, I have no problems with that. If I have to throw it every single play, I have no problems with that. I wouldn’t say there’s something where I have to go out and drop 20 dimes. It’s whatever we decide is the best way to win."

Daniels started the final four games of Georgia’s 2020 season and is entering his second season in offensive coordinator Todd Monken’s scheme. Daniels said the comfort level he has with Monken remains productive.

"We see the game the same way, which is hugely important between your offensive coordinator and your quarterback," Daniels said. "It's a relationship building that's arguably one of the most important. I think he's a really good guy; he genuinely cares about the kids. It's hard to knock Monken on anything really. We've always had a good connection."

Davis explains reason for return

Davis said he bypassed the NFL draft to return for his senior season after teammate Devonte Wyatt elected to use the Covid-19 waiver and come back for another year.

“Honestly, I remember one night I was talking to Devonte, and I asked him, ‘Hey man, are we going to do this?’ He was like, ‘Yeah,' and I was like, 'OK, cool,’” Davis said. “Devonte’s my dawg, he’s my ride or die, and that night, I was like, you know what, I can’t leave Devonte like that. It’s another love for him. All the players, I love them, they’re my family. It was an easy decision. I didn’t spend much time on it.”

Good news on Gilbert

Smart said receiver Arik Gilbert is expected to be eligible when the 2021 season kicks off. There were previous concerns that Gilbert was still dealing with some academic eligibility issues.

“I fully expect for him to be ready to start the season,” Smart said.

At LSU, Gilbert caught 35 passes for 368 yards and two touchdowns as a tight end. With Georgia, he will move to play receiver.

“He’s a playmaker—a guy who you need to get the ball in his hands,” Smart said. “He’s worked out with the wide receiver group; that’s where he indicated he wanted to work and train at. That’s been a big part of what he wants to do. We’ve got to find out if he can sustain, if he’s got the stamina at that position to play that position, to play the X, to play the Z, play the slot. We’ll find ways to move him around. When you have a coordinator like Coach Monken, that’s what he does.

“When you’re in the NFL, you’ve got guys all over. You’ve got Mike Evans over here, you’ve got people you’ve got to move around. We know Arik Gilbert is going to be a big part of that.”

UGASports Live

Jim Donnan, Radi Nabulsi, and Dayne Young discussed the comments from Smart, Daniels and Davis at SEC Media Days. They also played sound clips from each of them. Topics included NIL, vaccinations, the build up to the Clemson game, and much more. The show wraps with listener questions from YouTube.

The best moments


‘Are you a professional golfer?’

Quoting Henry David Thoreau

Outside the Vent

Mississippi's Lane Kiffin on his QB, Twitter exchanges.

Kentucky’s Mark Stoops on his offense and his future.

Josh Heupel discusses the rebuilding process at Tennessee.

Clemson’s Dabo Swinney opposes playoff expansion.

Deion Sanders walks out of media day interview after reporter calls him ‘Deion.’

Alabama QB Bryce Young has nearly $1 million in endorsement deals already.

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