UGA Football Postseason Awards
UGA FOOTBALL POSTSEASON AWARDS – Before the season began, I gave out some preseason awards to UGA players that had all of the importance and value of Schrutebucks.
Nonetheless, I thought I’d take my crack at what I thought would be some of the key players for the Dawgs, excluding some of the obvious players like Brock Bowers, Carson Beck, or Malaki Starks.
Let’s take a look at how I close I got and who deserves some post-season recognition.
Offensive Freshman of the Year
Preseason Prediction: Andrew Paul
Andrew Paul was coming off of an ACL injury as a true freshman, which resulted in a red shirt.
Paul finished the regular season with 26 carries for 108 yards and a touchdown. His knee injury still affected his performance this year where the pain and soreness from playing kept him from playing more.
He got his most carries against Tennessee and Ole Miss, and scored his lone touchdown against the Rebs. To be fair, I don’t know if any freshman had a big year on the offensive side of the ball, so Paul is as fair as any candidate.
And the award goes to: Lawson Luckie. Luckie stepped up in Brock Bowers’ absence this year. He also suffered a high ankle sprain, but was there when needed. While he looked like a freshman at times this year, he played key minutes in big games.
Defensive Freshman of the Year
Preseason Prediction: Joenel Aguero
Aguero played a back up in the star position this year, and I expected that he would get a good bit of time rotating into games. Not so.
He finished the year with 7 tackles, with 4 of them coming against UAB in September. Aguero flashed at times when he was on the field, but just did not make significant impact as a freshman. He is poised for a lot of game time as a sophomore.
And the award goes to: CJ Allen. Allen ended up 6th on the team in tackles, playing a key role when starting ILB Jamon Dumas-Johnson broke his arm late in the year.
While Allen saw some playing time all throughout the year, his performance was crucial at the end of the season.
The reality is that UGA has two dudes in the transfer portal right now, because they were passed up by Allen, a true freshman. Allan shows incredible promise, and headlined a class of exciting defensive freshmen this year. Damon Wilson and Raylen Wilson also were notable this year.
Special Teams Player of the Year
Preseason Prediction: Mekhi Mews
Mews featured as UGA’s primary kickoff and punt returner even as a walk-on this year. He managed the first punt return touchdown since Mecole Hardman this year.
He was explosive in the return game, but also featured his fair share of fumbles and poor decisions this year. By the end of the year, I lost trust in his performance.
And the award goes to: This one is really tough because UGA has two incredibly deserving candidates. Freshman Kicker Peyton Woodring and Punter Brett Thorson.
Woodring had a shaky start to the year, but went on an incredible streak of nailing field goals before missing a crucial 50 yarder in the SEC Championship. He looks to be the guy at kicker for the future.
Thorson averaged 43 yards per punt and helped UGA not allow a single punt return all year. Thorson takes the award.
Breakout Player, Offense
Prediction: Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint
RoJack’s senior year was a success. He finished third on the team in receiving with 502 yards and 4 touchdowns this year. His two touchdown, 7 catch performance against Tennessee was his most notable game this year.
He also managed 4 for 99 against UK. He also was UGA’s best blocking receiver all year, as expected and played a key role on special teams. While I think he had a solid season, he didn’t breakout like I would have hoped.
And the award goes to: This one is tricky. Did anyone really break out this year on offense? Carson Beck. Yeah, but he’s a QB so that’s a boring answer. I’m going to go with running back Daijun Edwards.
Edwards proved his value the very first game he returned from injury. There was an instant boost to UGA’s running game, and he made crucial plays throughout the season, finishing as the team’s leading rusher.
He finished with 5.5 yards per carry and 819 years. He had 118 yards versus South Carolina and 146 against UK. His ability to make defenders miss, block in the passing game, and provide the occasional catch out of the backfield made him UGA’s best back this year. He did his draft stock a whole lot of help this year.
Breakout Player, Defense
Prediction: Jalon Walker
Walker did make some waves this season, making fans question why he didn’t receive more playing time. By year’s end, he was an absolute terror rushing the passer and finished leading the team in tackles.
His size limits him some. He is not quite big enough for striking linemen or setting the edge. So, he’s basically limited to an inside backer who blitzes on 3rd downs.
Because of this, he just didn’t get enough snaps to become the breakout player this year.
And the award goes to: Kamari Lassiter. Lassiter was excellent this year in coverage and in stopping the run. His blanket coverage made it so that he was rarely targeted.
He developed into one of the best cover corners Kirby Smart has coached this year and will be sorely missed next season.
He also was a force in defending the run, frequently blowing up runs that got stretched out wide or even screen passes.
Prediction: Dominic Lovett
Lovett was second in receiving for the team this year behind Brock Bowers. His 51 receptions are impressive, but he only managed 3 touchdowns. Lovett was a good, solid player this year, but not the most valuable player on the offense.
And the award goes to: Keep in mind, I’m trying to stay away from the obvious answer: Brock Bowers. I’m going to go with Amarius Mims.
When Mims was healthy, UGA’s offense was on a different level this year. While he missed much of the year, every game he was out, UGA’s offense sputtered at times. Every game he was healthy, the whole offense was efficient and deadly.
Prediction: Nazir Stackhouse
Stackhouse had a notable interception and return against Missouri at a crucial moment in the game. It was his highlight of the year as he rumbled down the sideline, nearing a score before getting tripped up. However, Stackhouse failed to live up to the preseason hype this year. He was okay, not great.
While he had a few great moments, Stackhouse had the chance to become a day 2 pick in the draft. I don’t think his performance this year came close to that.
And the award goes to: Okay, again, the clear answer in terms of talent and value is Malaki Starks. That’s boring. I’m rolling with Tykee Smith.
Smith had himself a really solid year. He was tied with most tackles on the team as a DB. That’s remarkable. His ability to blow up plays from the slot, pressure the QB, and defense well enough on the back end was remarkable. UGA had no one near that talent level at his position.
Even though there were times UGA had to help him out in coverage, he made plenty of big plays as he led the team in interceptions. Tykee finally returned to All-American form this year and his value is hard to quantify.