Sixty 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.
60. James DeLoach
Freshman, Outside linebacker
6-foot-3, 260 pounds
Fall forecast: Even with Cornelius Washington and Ray Drew shifting part-time to defensive end, Georgia still has depth at outside linebacker with All-American Jarvis Jones back along with fellow regular Chase Vasser and reserves T.J. Stripling, Ramik Wilson, Reuben Faloughi and Dexter Morant.
That said, it would not be a big surprise to see some of the outside linebackers in the 2012 signing class contribute this fall. Jordan Jenkins and Josh Harvey-Clemons would be the most obvious freshman candidates for early playing time, but DeLoach could conceivably figure into the mix with a strong preseason camp.
Otherwise, a redshirt season would help him make the transition to SEC football, which is a big leap from the Class A level to which DeLoach and Jenkins County teammate and UGA signee Jonathan Taylor are accustomed.
Possible career impact: Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham by now has established a preference of recruiting "toolsy" outside linebacker types who can fill the void at either OLB or defensive end, depending on how their bodies develop. He likes the versatility with such a player and has already shown it by shuttling 2011 signees like Ray Drew and Sterling Bailey between OLB and DE.
DeLoach is another such candidate. He might start out at linebacker, but he has a frame that can hold more weight and athleticism that makes splitting time between the two positions a possibility as his career progresses.