2004 Starters: Kedric Golston (20 career starts, 72 total tackles, 2 sacks, 3 recovered fumbles) and Gerald Anderson (20 career starts, 113 total tackles, 2.5 sacks, 21 quarterback pressures)
Georgia’s top two defensive tackles might be two of the best in the SEC, but the depth at this spot leaves much to be desired. Golston returns to Athens for his final season after considering for a very short time leaving for the NFL. Golston made headlines this spring the night of the spring game when he and his dismissed former teammate Derrick White got into a bar room fight in downtown Athens. Golston’s legal matters are settled, but he will serve a one-game suspension. Golston’s NFL Draft stock will depend on his final season in red and black. Golston has been dominating while healthy – an All-SEC season is not out of the question in 2005. Darrious Swain, who also was arrested this summer (traffic citations), will likely start in Golston’s spot for the Boise State contest; it’s time for Swain to get his game together. He’s hurt his pro potential with play that is not his best. Now, Swain, who has been given several attempts to get himself in gear, will have one season to impress his current coaches and perhaps his future ones. Junior Marquis Elmore (0 career starts, 5 total tackles) has played two seasons in Athens, but has only five total tackles to show for it. Injuries have been a burden for him the last two years, but now Elmore must start moving – if he wants to play significant minutes in his Georgia career.
Ray Gant (4 career starts, 47 total tackles, 1 sacks, 17 quarterback pressures), returned from injury and played the “three” position – a combination of both tackle and end – this spring. Gant will likely be used all over the defensive line, but he’s the back-up at defensive end.
At nose guard Anderson, like Golston, returns to Athens for one final year. Anderson also has the potential for an All-SEC season – in fact, it might be easier for him to accomplish considering the number of pre-season votes he got this season. Anderson has been the forgotten about star of this unit for a long time – now everyone knows what he can do. Anderson and Golston are great at slowing or stuffing opposing running games, but once more the depth at nose guard is insufficient. Swain might start the Boise State game at tackle, but he’s a nose guard and will likely be the back-up there all season long. Dale Dixson (0 career starts, 4 total tackles) is the third string nose guard, and he’s been fighting injuries his entire career in Athens. Dixson has played in only eight games as a Dawg.
It’s hard to know how or where freshmen Kade Weston and Jeff Owens will factor in the defensive line rotation. Both will likely play to get experience for 2006, but how much action they will see is up in the air, and will depend a lot on thier performance this August.