Michigan has eyes on Georgia freshman All-American tight end Bowers
The focus has been, rightfully so, on Georgia’s defense heading into this Orange Bowl national semifinal matchup against Michigan. But freshman All-American tight end Brock Bowers has the Wolverines’ attention, as well.
Bowers, who is 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, was named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year for his impressive performance this year leading the Bulldogs in receiving. He has a team-best 47 catches for 791 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also has a rushing touchdown. Bowers’ 11 touchdown receptions and total yards are program single-season records for a tight end.
He will be a major factor in the Bulldogs’ offense Friday night. Both teams are 12-1 and the winner advances to the national championship game.
"Brock is a heck of a player," Michigan defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald said Tuesday in a video conference with reporters. "He's really dynamic. The thing that they do with him is he really plays every position. He'll play the Z, the Y, the X, the move guy, the down guy. They'll give it to him on reverses, screens. It's pretty impressive. A tribute to their coaching staff for putting him in positions to affect the game."
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Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken said despite all he has accomplished this year, Bowers isn’t yet a complete player.
“He's going to continue to develop his skill set,” Monken said. “He's probably got more range than we thought. We knew he had the run-after-catch ability. We saw that on tape. They used him in the backfield out of high school, but he's got a little more range than we thought, and he's continued to develop as a route runner. But he works awfully hard at his craft. It's important to him. He doesn't say a lot, he just works.”
Michigan cornerback D.J. Turner praised Bowers.
"I'll say the run after catch he's good, and he has good speed on him and good catch radius," Turner said.
Quarterback questions at Georgia
Stetson Bennett has been the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback, while former starter J.T. Daniels currently is the backup. On Tuesday, when Georgia beat writers had a chance to speak to Monken, the offensive coordinator, they peppered him with questions about why that hasn't changed.
Bennett has helped lead Georgia to 11 victories, the only loss, 41-24, to Alabama in the SEC title game. He threw for 340 yards and had three touchdowns and two interceptions against the Tide.
Daniels was the starter when the season began, but he missed the second game while nursing an injury and Bennett took over. Daniels returned as starter for two games, but on Oct. 2, Bennett took over again when Daniels was hurt. Bennett has started the last nine games.
“The reason Stetson Bennett plays is we think he gives us the best chance to win,” Monken said. “Without getting into too much detail, we think he gives us the best chance to win, and that's really the end of that question.”
Seeing old friends
Michigan defensive tackle Christopher Hinton grew up in Georgia and attended Greater Atlanta Christian School. He knows a lot of the Georgia players from the recruiting process and also playing basketball.
“So it's going to be fun going against some familiar faces,” Hinton said. “They recruited me hard and were honestly my second school. I'm excited for the game.”