Sixty-five 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.
65. Watts Dantzler
Sophomore, Offensive line
6-foot-7, 310 pounds
Fall forecast: Several offensive linemen, including Dantzler, enter preseason practice in quite similar positions. Part of a big group of offensive linemen who signed last year -- Dantzler, center David Andrews and guard Hunter Long played last fall as true freshmen -- Dantzler figures to be part of Georgia’s offensive line rotation and could play either guard or tackle. He hasn’t claimed a starting spot yet, however, and will enter preseason practice as Kolton Houston’s backup at right tackle.
Career highlight: Dantzler got fairly extensive playing time in non-conference wins against Coastal Carolina and New Mexico State, but perhaps his most valuable playing time came in a blowout win against Auburn.
Experience thus far: Dantzler appeared in three games last season in a reserve role.
Possible career impact: ESPN rated Dantzler as one of the nation’s top tackle prospects when he signed with Georgia last year, so he has the potential to be a productive player. There wasn’t much opportunity available last year with seniors Cordy Glenn and Justin Anderson manning the tackles spots, but both players are now in the NFL.
Dantzler will still face stout competition for playing time from a large group of similarly inexperienced tackles -- including Houston, Kenarious Gates and star freshman signee John Theus -- so he must prove to position coach Will Friend that he can perform with enough consistency and toughness to merit playing time.