published Sunday, August 26th, 2012

2012 Bulldogs in depth

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray throws a pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Georgia Tech at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field in Atlanta on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011.
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray throws a pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Georgia Tech at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field in Atlanta on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011.
Photo by Associated Press.

ROLL CALL

A look at the Bulldogs' depth chart

* returning starter (started at least six games in 2011)

Quarterback

*Aaron Murray Jr., 6-1, 210

Hutson Mason Jr., 6-3, 206

Tailback

Ken Malcome So., 6-0, 224

Richard Samuel Sr., 6-2, 236

Fullback

Merritt Hall Fr., 5-11, 238

Richard Samuel Sr., 6-2, 236

Wide receiver

*Tavarres King Sr., 6-1, 200

Justin Scott-Wesley Fr., 5-11, 218

Wide receiver

Marlon Brown Sr., 6-5, 216

Michael Bennett So., 6-3, 204

Tight end

Arthur Lynch Jr., 6-5, 258

Jay Rome Fr., 6-6, 265

Left tackle

*Kenarious Gates Jr., 6-5, 318

Austin Long Jr., 6-5, 324

Left guard

*Dallas Lee Jr., 6-4, 300

Mark Beard So., 6-5, 302

Center

David Andrews So., 6-2, 295

Chris Burnette Jr., 6-2, 322

Right guard

*Chris Burnette Jr., 6-2, 322

Watts Dantzler So., 6-7, 300

Right tackle

John Theus Fr., 6-6, 309

Watts Dantzler So., 6-7, 300

Kicker

Marshall Morgan Fr., 6-3, 201

Jamie Lindley Sr., 5-11, 183

Punter

Collin Barber Fr., 6-2, 200

Adam Erickson So., 5-10, 175

Defensive end

*Abry Jones Sr., 6-3, 308

Garrison Smith Jr., 6-3, 297

Nose tackle

*John Jenkins Sr., 6-3, 358

Kwame Geathers Jr., 6-6, 355

Defensive end

*Cornelius Washington Sr., 6-4, 268

Ray Drew So., 6-5, 284

Outside linebacker

*Jarvis Jones Jr., 6-3, 241

T.J. Stripling Jr., 6-6, 235

Inside linebacker

*Alec Ogletree Jr., 6-3, 232

Christian Robinson Sr., 6-2, 235

Inside linebacker

*Michael Gilliard Sr., 6-2, 230

*Amarlo Herrera So., 6-2, 245

Outside linebacker

Chase Vasser Jr., 6-3, 231

Ramik Wilson So., 6-2, 234

Cornerback

*Sanders Commings Sr., 6-2, 216

*Malcolm Mitchell So., 6-1, 192

Safety

*Shawn Williams Sr., 6-1, 217

Corey Moore So., 6-2, 214

Safety

*Bacarri Rambo Sr., 6-0, 210

Connor Norman So., 5-10, 207

Cornerback

*Branden Smith Sr., 5-11, 182

Damian Swann So., 5-11, 189

Kickoff returner

*Branden Smith Sr., 5-11, 182

Justin Scott-Wesley Fr., 5-11, 218

Punt returner

*Branden Smith Sr., 5-11, 182

Damian Swann So., 5-11, 189

QUARTERBACKS

The Bulldogs have familiarity at the top and a unique situation underneath.

Redshirt junior Aaron Murray enters his third season as the starter after completing 238 of 403 passes (59.1 percent) last season for 3,149 yards, with a school-record 35 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Four of his interceptions were returned for touchdowns, however, including one in the SEC championship and another in the Outback Bowl.

The plan behind Murray is to redshirt junior Hutson Mason, who has played in eight games the past two years and is hoping for at least one season as the starter down the road. Should Murray stay healthy all season, the backup would be redshirt freshmen quarterback Christian LeMay, who hasn’t played since his junior year at Butler High School in Matthews, N.C.

RUNNING BACKS

Redshirt sophomore Ken Malcome, redshirt senior Richard Samuel and true freshmen Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall took turns getting first-team carries throughout preseason camp, and it would not be surprising if all four got the ball in the season opener.

Malcome, who quit the team for a day last September, was Georgia’s leading rusher for the final three games last season, but that really isn’t saying much considering he had just 174 yards all season. Samuel was the starter early last season before being replaced by Isaiah Crowell and finished with 240 yards.

Marshall and Gurley were among Rivals.com’s top-50 national prospects in the 2012 signing class.

RECEIVERS

The Bulldogs return four players — Tavarres King, Malcolm Mitchell, Marlon Brown and Chris Conley — who had 100-yard receiving games last season, though Mitchell will start out in the secondary before morphing into a two-way player.

King is coming off a program-record 205 yards in the triple-overtime loss to Michigan State in Tampa, and he and Brown are the two seniors. The 6-foot-5 Brown had 121 yards last year at Vanderbilt and surpassed 100 yards during Georgia’s first preseason scrimmage this month.

Conley, Bennett, Justin Scott-Wesley and Rantavious Wooten round out a respectable rotation even without Mitchell, but tight ends Arthur Lynch and Jay Rome have to prove their worth after waiting behind Orson Charles and Aron White.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Georgia’s biggest question area offensively has drawn a lot of praise from coaches, beginning with left tackle Kenarious Gates, who was a starter at guard last season and moved outside in the spring.

Kolton Houston was the right tackle coming out of spring but remains ineligible for testing positive for a banned substance, so preseason camp began with a rotation of sophomore Watts Dantzler and freshman John Theus. Getting the nod was Theus, but Dantzler is valuable as not only the backup right tackle but also the backup right guard should Chris Burnette need to fill in for center David Andrews.

Dallas Lee, who started seven games at left guard last season before breaking his leg against Florida, has reclaimed that spot.

Gates, Lee, Andrews, Burnette, Theus and Dantzler are the six linemen who will play a lot, and if there is a seventh, then junior college transfer Mark Beard is the most likely candidate. Beard would be expected to play guard.

DEFENSIVE LINE

With the transition of noseguard John Jenkins from junior college well in the rear-view mirror, the Bulldogs have a stacked rotation in the interior with Jenkins and Kwame Geathers.

Abry Jones and Cornelius Washington are two ends hoping for big senior seasons, with Jones having closed strong as a junior. Washington made six starts last season at outside linebacker, tallying 17 tackles and five sacks.

The backups are Garrison Smith, who made two starts late last season, and Ray Drew, whose preseason got derailed by a concussion.

LINEBACKERS

The Bulldogs are very deep across the board, so deep that it will be interesting to follow whether freshmen Jordan Jenkins, Josh Dawson and James DeLoach can get any playing time of note.

All-America Jarvis Jones headlines the outside, and opposite him are Chase Vasser and Ramik Wilson. Vasser started three games last season but has been suspended for the first two games this year, while Wilson was voted the most improved player in spring drills.

The inside starters are Michael Gilliard and Alec Ogletree, and their backups are Amarlo Herrera and Christian Robinson. All four made multiple starts last season.

SECONDARY

Cornerback Sanders Commings is suspended two games. Cornerback Branden Smith isn’t suspended at all, and safety Bacarri Rambo hasn’t had his fate announced for a second straight season opener.

That is the latest for a group that underwent offseason turbulence but should be among the best in the SEC. Commings is the team’s top corner but will be replaced in the first two games by Mitchell, who led the Bulldogs in receiving yards a game last year but was rated by Rivals.com as the No. 1 cornerback in the 2011 signing class.

Cornerback Damian Swann and safety Corey Moore are names that will be heard more this season, and it remains to be seen if former Ridgeland High cornerback Devin Bowman will be in the mix as well.

SPECIALISTS

Freshman Marshall Morgan is having to replace Blair Walsh at kicker, while Collin Barber is having to replace Drew Butler at punter.

Walsh and Butler had lengthy careers with the Bulldogs and were sharp early on, and coaches are hoping for more of the same from this duo.

A lot of players have gotten looks this month returning punts and kickoffs, and that will be a tall order following the production that Brandon Boykin provided the past three seasons.

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