published Sunday, March 24th, 2013

Georgia Dogs' area duo look to do more

Georgia cornerback Devin Bowman celebrates after a 2012 win at Auburn.
Georgia cornerback Devin Bowman celebrates after a 2012 win at Auburn.
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
SCRIMMAGE SCRATCHED

Georgia's first scrimmage of the spring was scheduled for Saturday morning in Sanford Stadium, but it was postponed due to heavy rain. The Bulldogs will scrimmage instead Tuesday.

  • photo
    Offensive lineman Watts Dantzler works out during a Georgia football practice.
    Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Cornerback Devin Bowman and offensive lineman Watts Dantzler are no longer young up-and-comers on Georgia's football team.

The two Chattanooga-area members of Georgia's touted 2011 signing class have played some but not extensively in their college careers. Each is trying to work his way to more time on the field, and this spring could be very pivotal in determining whether the two can make significant contributions to the program or continue in supporting roles.

"It's getting big," Bowman said this past week, "and I think if I just keep working that everything will fall into place."

A redshirt sophomore out of Ridgeland High School, the 6-foot, 180-pound Bowman started last season's opening win over Buffalo due to a pair of suspensions in the secondary. That was his only start, and he wound up making nine tackles in 13 games.

Bowman began this spring competing with sophomore Sheldon Dawson for the starting spot at field corner but now is backing talented junior Damian Swann at boundary corner.

"Devin Bowman has started for us, and he's a guy who is going to get a chance to play and earn a starting spot," defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. "I've been real impressed with Sheldon Dawson and [early enrollee] Reggie Wilkerson. Those guys did a tremendous job in the offseason program, and I think when some others get here in the summer that it will be a hearty competition.

"In the secondary, you really can't go out there and take a day off. We need to find out exactly what these guys can do, because we've got more coming in August, and we'll need to filter some things out quickly."

Dantzler, a 6-7, 320-pound junior from Dalton High, began preseason camp last August as the first-team right tackle. He was supplanted quickly by touted newcomer John Theus and suffered a high-ankle sprain against Buffalo that hampered him for most of the season.

The injury was costly for him on two fronts, as it held him back while others, such as junior college transfer Mark Beard, began to flourish.

"It was tough, but I think everything happens for a reason," Dantzler said. "It was a tough situation to go through, but I think it helped me build some character and it taught me some discipline. Not everything goes your way in life, so it's something you've got to work through and move forward."

Dantzler appeared in just six games, mostly in mop-up duty, after getting in three blowout victories as a freshman. He practiced last year at right tackle and right guard but now is backing up Dallas Lee at left guard.

As with Bowman, the ticking of the clock for Dantzler is getting more and more noticeable.

"I've just kind of switched around since I've been here, and I go wherever the coaches put me," Dantzler said. "This spring is big. I'm working and training hard and trying to prove to the coaches that I'm ready to contribute and help out the team."

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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