February 24, 2013

Grantham has eyes open

Count defensive coordinator Todd Grantham as someone who's ready for spring practice to begin.

He doesn't have to wait much longer.

The Bulldogs open spring drills this Saturday, one of 15 that includes the annual G-Day Game set for April 6 at 1 p.m.

With so many holes to fill on the defensive side for the Bulldogs, Grantham said recently he's looking forward to being able to start working with his new pupils to see exactly what he's got on his hands.

That includes a couple of Georgia's 13 early enrollees who will looking to make a quick impression on the defensive line - Chris Mayes and John Atkins.

With John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers having moved on, there are plenty of opportunities.

The Bulldogs return junior Mike Thornton and redshirt freshman John Taylor, but Mayes and Atkins will be getting a close look, too.

"I think they're big, athletic guys. Anytime you can get big people in your program, I think it helps them because you can work them and you can get them into a conditioning program," Grantham said recently. "For them to be in our strength and conditioning program right now is something that's going to benefit them moving forward."

Spring will also be Grantham's first opportunity to start sorting out the situation at linebacker, where early enrollees Ryne Rankin and Reginald Carter hope to make an impact.

But when it comes to finalizing what players will play where, that's going to be a work in progress.

"The big thing will be to mix and match guys out there," Grantham said. "We've probably had 24 different lineups in 28 game so where that ends up, I'm not sure. But I know this, we'll play the best players, get the best players out there."

Davin Bellamy won't get to Athens until May, but Grantham said the Chamblee youngster is someone he's got high hopes for as well.

The Bulldogs were able swing the 6-foot-5, 240-pounder away from Florida State, and come fall, Grantham thinks the youngster has a chance to be someone special.

"He's a big guy. Size is important at positions and when you look at his growth and his growth potential at a certain position, I think that he's a guy who can be a mismatch like Lebron (James) was early in his career when he was in Cleveland," Grantham said. "Anytime you can get a guy who has Davin's size and quickness, I think you've got a chance to make something happen."

Shaquille Wiggins may not be the biggest of Georgia's incoming freshmen but Grantham is equally high on him.

"Shaq's awesome. Shaq's a shutdown guy. He's got excellent body movement, great transition back to the ball, he's a tough guy; he's got ball skills," Grantham said. "He's got the right mentality to play the ball. We're really excited about the corners we've got coming in. They all have different types of assets and I think they complement each other well. I certainly look forward to working with those guys because I think they can all be really good."