It’s a good thing that receiver is probably Georgia’s deepest position. Junior receiver Malcolm Mitchell tore his ACL on an awkward landing while celebrating Todd Gurley’s early touchdown run at Clemson. Mitchell will need surgery and will miss the rest of the 2013 season. He’ll almost surely qualify for a medical redshirt and still have two years’ of eligibility remaining. Mitchell will also be qualified to enter the NFL draft following this season, so it’s also a (small) possibility that we’ve seen the last of this talented athlete at Georgia.
The Dawgs had to adjust to the loss of two receivers to knee injuries in 2012, and they’re right back in a similar situation. Mitchell brought both the deep threat and the explosiveness to turn nearly any catch into a score. Georgia must piece together those attributes from the depth of the position. The emergence of Justin Scott-Wesley on Saturday is much more important now – his speed can be useful to stretch the field. True freshman Reggie Davis was a borderline redshirt candidate, but he’s also likely to get a chance to use his speed on deep routes.
Mitchell was also a dependable target that Murray looked to when trying to sustain drives. Michael Bennett displayed sure hands on some errant passes at Clemson, and he’ll likely be a favored target now. Georgia will also add JUCO receiver Jonathan Rumph to the mix, and Rumph’s size will make him a tough matchup for most secondaries.
Mitchell started Saturday’s game as the kick returner, and Scott-Wesley stepped into that role once Mitchell left the game. He didn’t get a chance to return any kicks, and we appreciated his restraint to stay in the end zone and take the field position rather than risk a short return. We’ll have to see if Richt will stick with Scott-Wesley back there or if Gurley or another player will be the permanent replacement for Mitchell.
We wish Malcolm Mitchell the best in his recovery, and we hope to see him back on the field for the 2014 opener.