2004 Starter: Leonard Pope (10 games started, 26 receptions, 203 yards, 6 touchdowns)
Pope will start again in 2005 and senior Martrez Milner (2 games started, 5 receptions, 92 yards, 0 touchdowns) will likely play healthy amounts as well. Pope’s emergence in the Georgia offense will get him plenty of attention from NFL scout next season, so the development of the third tight end is critical for 2006.
Pope will be the Bulldogs’ number one target around the end zone next season. If he is able to produce the same way he did at the end of 2004 the Bulldogs will have a well balanced offensive scheme. Milner will have to prove this spring that he deserves to share more playing time in the fall – staying healthy might help him do that. A senior, Milner certainly has the body for the NFL, but his game is not yet where it needs to be and he could be overshadowed by Pope in 2005.
Trahern Holden has been praised by Richt much of two seasons playing in Athens. Holden appears to be the next in line to start for the Bulldogs at tight end. He’s not nearly as tall as Pope, who stands 6-7, or nearly as big as Milner, who tips the scales at 251, but Holden can do many of the things both can do; he’s just a lot younger. With that said, Holden will not get as much attention from defenses as Pope does. He does, however, have the ball skills necessary to perform well in the Georgia offense. This spring is critical for him because of the likelihood of Pope leaving school early.
Coleman Watson could be the dark horse in the tight end practices this spring. He’s been moved around a lot, from offensive line to defensive tackle, but seems to be settling down at tight end – the position he was originally recruited for. At 6-6, 260, Watson’s body is as close to Pope’s as the Bulldogs have for future years. Watson’s development has been steady, so look for him to make a move to set himself up for future seasons this spring. He could surprise this spring.