Five days remain until Georgia kicks off its season opener against Buffalo on Saturday. 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.
5. Xzavier Ward
Redshirt freshman, Offensive tackle
6-foot-7, 293 pounds
Fall forecast: While it is apparent that Ward has not completely recovered from a knee surgery that caused him to sit out last season, he is practicing with Georgia’s offensive line and has earned regular praise from coaches Mark Richt and Mike Bobo. We’re not sure whether he will play much of a role this fall, but keep an eye on him once he returns to full strength.
Possible career impact: Georgia’s coaches clearly love Ward’s potential, so it is entirely possible that he will play an active -- and possibly starting -- role in the Bulldogs’ line rotation in the future. He has added 30 pounds to his previously wiry 6-foot-7 frame and now weighs in at close to 300 pounds. Once he is physically able to compete the way the coaches expect, Ward should get a long look at offensive tackle.