The Georgia receiving core took the hardest hit of all Bulldog position groups in the offseason, losing five targets from the 2018 season.
Junior wide receivers Mecole Hardman, Riley Ridley and tight end Isaac Nauta all declared for the NFL draft and decided to forgo their senior seasons. Tight end Luke Ford transferred to Illinois, and Terry Godwin is out the doors as well.
Ridley and Hardman were the team’s two leading receivers. Ridley finished the season with 44 catches for 570 yards and nine touchdowns while Hardman caught 34 passes for 532 yards and seven touchdowns.
Godwin amassed 373 receiving yards on 22 catches and finished with three touchdowns. Out of the tight end slot, Nauta finished as the fourth-leading receiver for the Bulldogs with 30 receptions for 430 yards and three touchdowns.
So, five names, five voids to fill for the receiving game. Total together all the stats from those that are leaving and a majority of Georgia’s receiving production, 1,909 yards and 22 touchdowns, has to be replaced.
Jeremiah Holloman is the only returning wide receiver that had over 200 receiving yards in 2018. Holloman finished his sophomore campaign with 24 receptions for 418 yards and five touchdowns. Holloman established himself as one of Jake Fromm’s favorite targets and will likely see a higher volume of passes his way in 2019.
Rising senior Tyler Simmons is also another returner that can be expected to churn out increased production. In 2018, Simmons was used sparingly in the air attack, finishing with just nine catches, and the bulk of his receiving yards on the year came on one 71-yard play against UMass.
A trio of sophomores in Kearis Jackson, Matt Landers and Tommy Bush will all have their shots at becoming mainstays in the receiving group. Jackson’s 6-foot, 200-pound frame is very similar to Hardman’s and may earn him time as a slot receiver. All three will be worth watching in spring practice to see if anyone can break out.
Demetris Robertson’s role could be expanded after he failed to record a catch in 2018. Robertson had a strong freshman season at Cal in 2016 before getting injured in 2017 and sitting out. The former five-star receiver only had four rushes in 2018 to account for all of his offensive contribution in his first year as a Bulldog. Robertson showcased glimpses of his speed and may find himself more involved this season.
Georgia signed three touted receiver prospects in the 2019 class. Five-star George Pickens and four-stars Dominick Blaylock and Makiya Tongue are all skilled, but none of them enrolled early and they will not be at spring practice. Pickens and Blaylock are both ranked among the top 40 overall prospects in the 247Sports Composite.
At tight end, Charlie Woerner returns for his senior season after tallying 148 receiving yards a season ago. Woerner will likely be the starter in the fall.
Georgia has a pair of signees at tight end, but only four-star Ryland Goede enrolled early. It is uncertain how much Goede will be able to participate in spring practice after he had surgery to repair a torn ACL in October.
While the use of a tight end in the passing game remains uncertain, both Goede and three-star Brett Seither will have their chances at playing time with only Woerner and John FitzPatrick returning from last year's team.