The guy at Georgia who should be most concerned about the Bulldogs’ receivers, minus A.J. Green, insists he’s not concerned at all.
Sophomore quarterback Aaron Murray is confident he’ll have plenty of playmakers to throw to next season.
“Our guys are pumped up,” Murray said. “I know TK (Tavarres King) is ready to step into that No. 1 spot and get more touchdowns and more plays. I’m excited for all of them. I know they will step up and make plays.”
King has moved over from split end to Green’s old flanker spot. He caught 27 passes for 504 yards and three touchdowns last season and averaged 18.7 yards per catch.
With both Green and Kris Durham gone, nobody needed to tell King how important his role would be next season. He knew it was on him to not only elevate his game, but to make sure everybody else around him in the Bulldogs’ receiving corps also stepped up their games.
“Being a leader is an every-day thing,” said King, who will be a junior. “That’s what I’ve been pushing myself to do, in the weight room, in the classroom, on and off the field. It’s just grinding, really, and making sure everybody’s right there with me.”
Making a few more plays and doing it on a consistent basis would also help.
King, who’s up to 196 pounds, thinks he’s physically and mentally ready to be that go-to guy for the Bulldogs. He was just 158 pounds when he first came, and he’s also a more technically sound receiver.
“The first time you get off the line of scrimmage on a guy, it does wonders for your confidence,” King said. “It all comes natural once you shed that guy off of you that first time. You’re like, ‘Wow, I can do this.’ It’s in your head you can do it. I used to go against Asher Allen every day, and he would drive me into the sidelines. It was bad. I was having to use a lot of finesse, pretty much all finesse, but not any more.
“I feel very equipped, not just physically, to take it to another level. My mind has grown so much through film study and practice, watching A.J. work and watching Mohamed (Massaquoi) work. My mind is completely different.”
King is going to need some help, and one of the bright spots in the scrimmage last Saturday was junior Marlon Brown. It’s been a struggle for the 6-5 Brown since arriving as a big-time recruit out of Memphis, but he's starting to show up a lot more this spring.
“I think you’re going to see Marlon come out of his shell,” King said.
The Bulldogs are also committed to using junior tight end Orson Charles in more receiver sets, and redshirt freshman Michael Bennett is somebody else coach Mark Richt singled out in last weekend’s scrimmage.
Freshman Malcolm Mitchell arrives this summer, and he won't have to wait long to get on the field.
“We have great athletes who can go get the ball, and I also think we have some guys who can make things happen after they catch the ball,” Murray said. “You never replace a guy like A.J., but we have the guys to get the job done at receiver.”