Before Georgia's season starts on Aug. 31 against Vanderbilt, The Red & Black is analyzing the depth chart of each position group in a 10-part series. Part seven focuses on inside linebackers.
Despite the loss of graduated seniors Natrez Patrick and Juwan Taylor, the inside linebackers group returns a lot of experience, including players like Crowder. The senior from Pine Mountain, Georgia, played in all 14 games in 2018 and replaced Patrick as the starting strong side linebacker in the second half of the season. At 6-foot-3, Crowder’s height allows him to make plays in the secondary in pass coverage and fill gaps in the run game. He and corner Deandre Baker finished tied for the most interceptions on the team last season, with two each.
The other half of Georgia’s veteran corps at inside linebacker, Rice will look to build on an up-and-down season in 2018. He was the week one starter as a sophomore last year, but he only appeared in nine games due to a foot injury. The Madison, Alabama, native still managed to finish third on the team in tackles, at 59, despite the absence. Heading into his junior season, Rice will have his work cut out for him to nail down a starting spot. He earned the job in the offseason last year, so don’t be surprised if he starts week one in Nashville.
Coming in as the No. 2 inside linebacker from the 2019 recruiting class according to the 247Sports Composite, Dean has high expectations. So far, he’s looked deserving of that high ranking. Dean got his Georgia career off to a running start with five tackles in the spring game as an early enrollee and is firmly in the mix for some playing time.
Tindall is looking to to force his way into the defensive lineup in his second season. The sophomore from Columbia, South Carolina, played in all 14 games last season and recorded a career-high five tackles in Georgia’s win over Vanderbilt. His lack of experience will likely see him fill a more complementary role behind veterans Rice and Crowder, but Tindall has the talent to be a contributor in the defensive backfield. Tindall and Dean look to be the primary candidates to break into the starting rotation at inside linebacker this season.
Others to watch
Rounding out the group is freshman Trezmen Marshall and sophomore Quay Walker. Both will likely be special teams contributors, but Walker could find his way into some playing time coming off a freshman year in which he received the team’s special teams newcomer of the year award. Marshall, on the other hand, is a four-star prospect and was ranked the No. 7 inside linebacker in the 2018 class, per the 247Sports Composite.