More than just middle schoolers and high schoolers, the local college football scene will also provide Newton County football fans with incentive to follow the state’s two biggest schools. Both Georgia and Georgia Tech boast a pair of Newton County standouts on their rosters. Here, we hone in just a bit for a snapshot of what Georgia Bulldogs football looks like in 2017.
Turning the Corner
With a brand new coaches in head coach Kirby Smart, offensive coordinator Jim Chaney and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, the Georgia Bulldogs 2016 squad struggled to compete in the SEC with a 4-4 conference record. After a dominating performance on the ground against North Carolina in the opener, Georgia struggled against teams many thought they would rout, before losing its final game of the season to Georgia Tech. With a year of head coaching experience under his belt, and a much ballyhooed 2017 recruiting class, Smart and company will expect obvious progress in 2017.
Who Will the Stars Be?
This season features a lot of intriguing questions like how Kirby Smart and starting quarterback, Jacob Eason, will fare in their second years. The dynamic running back duo of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel decided to return for their senior seasons giving the backfield the loaded depth it needs. Tight ends Jeb Blazevich and Isaac Nauta and receivers Terry Godwin and Riley Ridley are back. On the defensive side, senior safety Dominick Sanders and linebacker Lorenzo Carter will lead an experienced unit.
With the No. 3 ranked recruiting class in the nation, the team has brought in two five-star and 17 four-star prospects, Georgia’s loaded with young, elite talent. And two of its most gifted incoming freshman hail from Newton County.
Newton High grad J.J. Holloman is among them. The 6-foot-2, 195 pound receiver enrolled early in January and showed immediate promise, hauling in three passes for 77 yards and a touchdown in the annual G-Day spring game. Joining him is former Eastside speedster Eric Stokes. The football and track star added 15 pounds to his 6-foot-2 170-pound high school frame, no doubt keeping all his speed in the process.
Georgia’s season will be a test of how the play on the road as their four biggest games against Notre Dame, Tennessee, Florida and Georgia Tech. If Georgia can take three of these four games, barring any losses to teams they should easily defeat, they could be in good shape to represent the east in the SEC Championship in Atlanta.