Newcomers Prince Miller, a cornerback, and Geno Atkins, a defensive tackle, will play this year, their position coaches said Wednesday. That makes at least five true freshmen who will play, according to the coaching staff. Head coach Mark Richt previously has said cornerback Asher Allen, linebacker Darius Dewberry and wide receiver Kris Durham will see action.
Miller, last year’s player of the year in South Carolina, has caught Allen on the depth chart, defensive coordinator and secondary coach Willie Martinez said. The two players are “neck-and-neck” behind Ramarcus Brown at one cornerback spot and either could take over the starting job by next week, Martinez said.
“I know they’re both going to play this year,” Martinez said.
Due to the two-game suspension of Thomas Flowers and a knee injury suffered by Bryan Evans, the Bulldogs have just four healthy cornerbacks for at least the first two games of the season.
Safeties Quintin Banks, a Houston County High School graduate, and Reshad Jones also remain in the running for playing time. Those two are currently battling to be the fifth safety in Georgia’s rotation.
“I’m not saying we’ll play five, but I have to have five ready,” Martinez said.
Atkins, a 6-foot-1, 270-pounder from Pembroke Pines, Fla., has surpassed all the Bulldogs’ other true freshmen defensive tackles, defensive line coach Rodney Garner said.
“I’m getting more confident in him,” Garner said. “There’s no question” he’ll play.
True freshman Ricardo Crawford, who has returned to practice after sitting out with a shoulder injury, also is expected to play. Crawford enrolled early and went through spring practice with the Bulldogs so he’s often not mentioned along with the true freshmen by Georgia’s coaches.