NASHVILLE — Demetris Robertson spent last season wondering what his first catch at Georgia would be like.
After failing to record a single reception in nine game appearances, Robertson finally realized that feeling in the end zone in the Bulldogs’ first drive of 2019. The junior wideout caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Jake Fromm and put the Bulldogs up 7-0.
“It felt really good,” Robertson said. “Going catchless last year, now getting my first career catch… It felt awesome.”
Robertson transferred from California after the 2017 season, when he caught seven passes for 70 yards with the Golden Bears. His arrival in Athens came with lofty expectations, so a first season with zero receptions raised questions about his abilities.
But the 6-foot-0, 190-pound wideout finished with the most receptions of any Georgia receiver on Saturday, though a rush-heavy offensive attack meant that number ended up being only three. Robertson actually rushed for more yards than he earned on receptions, gaining 29 yards on two carries and 23 yards on his three receptions.
Head coach Kirby Smart said he resents the expectations that were placed on Robertson last season and has always been aware of his capabilities.
“He’s such a good kid,” Smart said. “[He] practices so hard. He was so deserving of what he was able to do tonight.”
Fromm was just as unsurprised by Robertson’s productivity.
“Obviously [he is] a great player,” Fromm said. “His number was called, and he went out and made some plays.”
Smart doesn’t believe there was any change in Robertson’s talent level between this season and last. He based Robertson’s breakthrough solely on the fact that Georgia had lost its three primary pass catchers from last season — wide receiver Riley Ridley, wide receiver Mecole Hardman and tight end Isaac Nauta — to the NFL draft.
“He was just as talented last year as he is now,” Smart said. “He’s taken full advantage of [his opportunities].”
And Robertson feels like he’s gained familiarity with Georgia’s offensive system since last season and has worked to get his body in shape.
“I’m more focused, more dialed in,” Robertson said. “I’m in good health [and] good spirits.”
Though Robertson led the way in Georgia’s passing game, the Bulldogs still relied heavily on its rushing attack. 323 of Georgia’s 479 total yards were accumulated on the ground, and Smart said it had everything to do with the classic Georgia style of offense.
“We wanted to come in here and play physical, establish a brand of football that we play,” Smart said. “I thought we did that.”
Robertson started his Georgia career with a touchdown reception, but he said his work isn’t anywhere near finished.
“I’m still taking it game by game and just keep getting better,” Robertson said.