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Behind the Hedges: December UGA Transfer Portal

December UGA Transfer Portal

DECEMBER UGA TRANSFER PORTAL – As UGA prepares for their semi-final match up against Ohio state, fans are keeping their eye on the transfer portal to see who may be leaving UGA and who may be committing to the ‘23 iteration of the Bulldogs. Here is who is in, and who is out so far.

Who is Out

As of 12/15, only one Georgia player has entered the transfer portal.

Reserve defensive lineman Bill Norton has gone to the portal with no known destination at the moment. Norton came out of high school as a 4-star prospect and the #8 ranked defensive end in the nation by 247Sports.

From Memphis, Tennessee, Norton played in only 3 games in his freshman year in 2019. His year got off to a rocky start when he was arrested for a DUI in August, serving a one game suspension, and never really improved on the field.

The following year, he didn’t get much more action on the field. 2021 he played in more games but this year he has played primarily on special teams. As a redshirt Junior, Norton still has more than one year of eligibility left for whatever team he plays for next year. The Dawgs will be disappointed Norton never developed but also should be fine without him. 

Who May Be Arriving

Rara Thomas

The most smoke for a player possibly transferring to Georgia is around Mississippi State receiver Rara Thomas. Thomas leads State in receiving with 44 catches, 626 yards and 7 touchdowns. The sophomore receiver who comes in a 6’2 and 200 lbs., was a 3-star recruit out of Eufala, Alabama.

Thomas visited Georgia on 12/7 and has received a scholarship offer from them. Hugh Freeze and Auburn are in hot pursuit as well. Thomas has taken an unofficial visit there and has an official visit scheduled according to Auburn Wire. 

Nate McCollum

UGA is looking at a few other receivers at the moment. Nate McCollum is a Georgia native who was a 3-star out of high school. He has 60 catches for 655 yards this season for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

He managed 100+ yard games this season against Virginia Tech and Miami, in addition to 6 catches for 65 yards against the Dawgs. 

Devontez Walker and Dante Cephas

Devontez Walker is another familiar face for UGA, as they faced off against him in the Kent State game this season. He has 11 touchdowns and nearly 1000 yards for the Golden Flashes this year. He is another big body at 6’3, and averages over 14 yards per catch. 

OC Todd Monken has also met with Walker’s teammate Dante Cephas. His 48 catches and 744 yards have caught the eye of several major programs. Penn State, Oklahoma, Pittsburgh, and Notre Dame are also interested. 

Dominic Lovett

Another receiver Georgia is testing the waters with is Missouri standout Dominic Lovett offered by Georgia out of high school, Lovett has over 800 yards receiving for the Tigers this year, earning the third most receiving yards in the SEC.

LSU, Tennessee, Alabama, Oregon, and Colorado are other suitors for Lovett. The smaller, speedy receiver will almost certainly end up at a large program with a talented QB. 

Notice a pattern here? All these receivers played against Georgia this year. Coach Smart is showing preference to players they recruited heavily out of high school, or have seen in person to prioritize in the portal. 

Where There’s Smoke…

Speaking of players Kirby recruited out of high school, I’m seeing conflicting reports on former 5-star Smoke Bouie.

Bouie was a DB/WR (although expected to play DB in college) recruit who was lured to Texas A&M after previously being committed to UGA.

It wasn’t all about NIL money though. A&M hired away Nick Williams from the Dawgs, who was just an analyst in title, but a recruiting monster in practice. Williams helped the Aggies haul in that top-ranked class last year. After the dumpster fire that was A&M’s season, Williams was hired by Deion Sanders at Colorado.

Bouie entered the portal and is looking for a new home. Could he come back home to Georgia? He did graduate from Kirby Smart’s Bainbridge High School after all.

After initially seeing that UGA wasn’t interested, I have heard that things have changed. Georgia will look into Bouie to fill a corner or STAR role on the team. Perhaps Bouie needs a change of scenery, as he was one of four A&M players suspended after the loss to Appalachian State for a violation of team rules. Bouie played in 7 games this season and made 4 tackles.


Other Areas of Need

Georgia will likely dip into the portal for an OLB, as they lack production in that role. While they have young talent there, they need experience and depth. 

Georgia might try to land an offensive lineman from the portal as they will likely lose both tackles and their center to the draft. One tackle spot is already taken by Amarius Mims but there will be a huge hole to fill at tackle and center. Georgia will likely see some attrition on the O-line as well. 

Kicker is another role Georgia may go find in the portal. 

Who Else Might Leave

Pure speculation here but you can logically look and conclude some potential departures from the roster. 

Rian Davis and Trezman Walker are upperclassmen linebackers who are sitting behind underclassmen in the rotation. They both play some but could play more elsewhere. One or both could hit the portal.

It’s possible that redshirt freshman Xavian Sorey could leave instead of Davis or Walker. Sorey has seen fewer snaps as the season has gone on, but if Davis and Walker leave, he could see a decent increase in playing time next year. 

I would guess that one or two of UGA’s junior tight ends will depart as well. Brett Seither and Ryland Goede have been surpassed by Brock Bowers and by Darnell Washington.

Even freshman Oscar Delp seems to get more snaps than Seither and Goede, so when Washington leaves for the NFL after this year, their playing time may not increase much.With two or possibly three highly touted tight ends coming in the ‘23 class, I expect some to leave. 

Additionally, expect a QB to leave the room. While it’s possible all will stay, especially with Georgia not taking a QB in this year’s class, it’s far more likely someone will leave.

The expectation is that former 5-star QB Brock Vandagriff will depart, but probably not until spring practice shakes out. He is competing with current 2nd-string QB Carson Beck for the top spot. Plus, scout team QB Gunner Stockton is catching on quickly. Beck appears to be the favorite as this time to win the job, which could send Vandagriff to the portal.

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