Georgia senior offensive lineman Kendall Baker had to correct himself when he called the younger offensive lineman "little" on Thursday.
He quickly made it a point to say they are not little at all, and actually “freaks” in terms of the size this year’s freshman class has brought to the offensive line.
The size from each player adds a lot of depth to the Bulldogs’ men up front. Seemingly in every position there are players who have the talent to compete for a starting spot. Baker, who started 14 games in 2017 at left guard, realizes the notion of competition is even more evident with his own position group.
“Those guys are pushing us to do what we’ve got to do to get better,” Baker said. "Because if you don't, then you get your spot taken.”
Those “freaks” are partly here because of the recruiting of offensive line coach Sam Pittman. Between the last two recruiting cycles, Pittman has brought 10 high-quality offensive line recruits, with three of them rated as 5-star players.
Sophomore Andrew Thomas is one example. A member of the 2017 recruiting class, Thomas stepped in his freshman year, earned the job at left tackle and started all 15 games. He heads into the 2018 season as one of Georgia’s leaders on offense.
“It’s just a lot of excitement; I guess it’s different for me this time around, I know the system,” Thomas said of starting up fall camp. “(This year), There’s going to be a lot of competition. ... For the guys that are starting right now, it will push us.”
Baker has seen up close the level of talent the freshman this season have brought to the depth of the offensive line. At 305 pounds, he might even be considered one of the smaller guys of the group.
But it doesn’t affect him. Although he may not be the biggest, he believes he may have an advantage in a different area.
“I’m a very quick guy, and I’m a thinker, too,” Baker said. “I think a lot about what I have to do to take (a) guy out pre-snap.”
Georgia’s offensive line in 2018 has returning starters. They have guys who have game experience. But they also have talented freshman who could take over if needed.
All of which combined makes for a deep group, arguably one of the deepest position groups on Georgia’s team this season.
"We play hard, and everybody as a unit is going to all want to do the same,” Baker said. "We have one goal in mind, and that's to get better every day."
Printed with permission from The Red & Black independent student media organization, based in Athens, Georgia. For more UGA sports news, visit www.redandblack.com/sports.