Benedict a Hokie
Brent Benedict is headed to Virginia Tech. As always we wish him and any transfer well in the Corleone sense, and heading to a school we’re not likely to face is a lot better than had he decided on, say, Florida. His progress will be interesting to track if only to see just how far he can come back from his high school injury. I’ve heard outlooks on his recovery ranging from “ready to contribute” to wondering if he’ll ever see a down of live action. The accepted story is that the transfer had less to do with his recovery, but I’m not so sure. Him landing at another major program doesn’t necessarily indicate that the recovery is further along than we might have thought; a lot of programs would be willing to take a flyer on a lineman with his attributes and skill.
A couple of weeks ago Marc Weiszer noted that Georgia had 77 scholarship players following the attrition of this off-season. Of course that number was reduced by one on Friday when news broke of Caleb King’s ineligibility. UGASports.com has a breakdown by class showing the number after King’s departure to be 77. At any rate, the Dawgs are well under the 85 scholarship limit.
It’s tough to get a read on the impact of losing King. On one hand, he wasn’t a consistent producer. His averages were fine – when he was able to play – but his great and impactful moments were few and far between. His contribution to the 2009 win in Atlanta puts us squarely in his corner, but he never came close to sustaining that level of production. It’s tough for a guy who’s been suspended and in and out of academic trouble to be much of a leader or mentor, so I’m not as bothered about losing the experience of a senior as I otherwise might be.
If there’s anything close to a consensus on King, it’s that his departure just adds fuel to the preseason meme: thin, no margin for error, what have you. It’s a drum we’ve beaten here too: Georgia’s 76 or 77 scholarship players are just one or two more than what’s allowed USC, a team on major probation. (As Weiszer points out, Florida’s numbers are even lower.)
There’s hand-wringing over the fact that the guys in place now pretty much have to produce in order for Georgia to avoid disaster, but that’s really not a huge development. With the exception of Sturdivant, a lot of the guys you’d list as crucial to Georgia’s hopes for a rebound season are still with the team. What’s changed is that the safety net is gone beneath those players. But few teams are able to sustain a championship run relying on reserves at more than a couple of positions. This lack of depth might have an impact down the road, especially along the offensive line, but another solid recruiting class could mitigate some of those problems.
Speaking of Caleb King, he plans to enter the NFL’s supplemental draft. As Seth Emerson points out, someone in academic trouble probably wouldn’t make the best transfer candidate.