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Around the Hedges in 80 Days: K. Geathers

Fifty-four 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.

54. Kwame Geathers

Junior, Nose guard

6-foot-6, 350 pounds

Fall forecast: Although he is listed as John Jenkins’ backup at nose guard, Geathers should see substantial playing time as he shares time with Jenkins in the middle. Jenkins took the lead role at nose last season, but Geathers still played a complementary role in transforming the center of Georgia’s defensive line. The Bulldogs were much more difficult to run up the middle against largely because of Jenkins’ and Geathers’ presence. Expect that trend to continue in 2012.

Career highlight: Trailing 14-7 in the second quarter, Auburn was in prime possession to even the score when the Tigers recovered an Isaiah Crowell fumble at their 45-yard line last season. But Geathers recovered a fumble by Auburn back Michael Dyer on the very next play, setting up a quick touchdown drive that helped Georgia take command with a 21-7 lead.

Experience thus far: Geathers had a fairly average freshman season in 2010, but garnered praise from all corners -- including hard-to-please defensive line coach Rodney Garner -- for his defensive MVP performance in spring practice 2011. He started three games and made 14 tackles last fall.

Possible career impact: Jenkins and Geathers played a major role in Georgia’s defense becoming one of the nation’s best units last season by solidifying the center of the line. It’s not unreasonable to expect them to perform with even more consistency in their second season as a tandem. Both players could earn NFL attention with strong seasons. Jenkins, a senior, will be out of the picture either way in 2013, which would leave Geathers as the veteran anchor for the line that year if he opts to return.