Eleven days remain until Georgia kicks off its season opener against Buffalo on Sept. 1. In the days counting down to the opener, DawgNation will profile, with our “Around the Hedges in 80 Days” series, a Bulldogs player we expect to make an impact. We will review each player’s career thus far and project his long-term potential as we progress through our alphabetical list, from center David Andrews to receiver Rantavious Wooten.
11. Jonathan Taylor
Freshman, Defensive line
6-foot-4, 335 pounds
Fall forecast: While it is clear that many of Taylor’s signing classmates will play this fall, it is more difficult to decipher whether the Bulldogs will need the big defensive lineman’s services in 2012. He has the ability to play either nose guard or defensive end, but the Bulldogs have veteran depth at both positions. Coaches have said that Taylor is capable of contributing this fall, but if he won’t play a regular role, it might make more sense to redshirt him. Keep an eye out for Taylor in the opener against Buffalo. If he doesn’t hit the field in that game, a redshirt season will be probable.
Possible career impact: Even if he doesn’t play this season, Taylor is a promising prospect for the future. He’s big enough to play in the middle at nose and quick enough to play on the edge at end. In practice, he seems to be experiencing the same issues that freshman defensive linemen typically encounter in their first season under defensive line coach Rodney Garner -- needing work on his technique and pad level. But he should work his way through those issues and become an effective defensive lineman in time.