Asher Allen's departure for the NFL obviously left a hole at the short corner position for Georgia that rising sophomore Brandon Boykin would love to fill.
As strange as it may sound, experience may actually be on his side.
Although he played sparingly his freshman yeah, Boykin did get in all 13 games last for Georgia and from an experience standpoint would seem to give him the edge over fellow competitors Sanders Commings and Makiri Pugh.
But Boykin is not taking anything for granted.
"I don't look at it that way, that the spot is mine to lose," Boykin said. "You look at the depth chart on UGASports and it might say my name, but I know but I know I'm going to have to go out and work hard every day because there's some other people that's right behind me wanting to play the same position and they're going to work just as hard. I'm definitely would not say that that it's mine to lose. I'm going to continue to work hard."
Boykin confirmed that he, Commings and Pugh will begin the spring as the three candidates which defensive coordinator Willie Martinez will look to fill the void at short corner left by Allen's departure. Prince Miller returns as the starter at wide corner, with Vance Cuffticketed for a backup role.
"It's going to be me, Sanders and Makiri might play a little corner, but he (Pugh) might play a little safety, too," Boykin said. "The freshmen coming in I'm not really sure what Coach Martinez wants to do but right now it's two or three of us trying to get that position."
At 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, Boykin that Commings can become the kind of tall, physical cornerback that will remind Georgia fans of another "big" corner - former Bulldog Paul Oliver.
Although Commings is actually two inches taller that the 6-foot Oliver, approaching his third year with the San Diego Chargers, Boykin doesn't believe that added height will be a detriment in the least.
"Sanders is pretty fast for his size, but he's also really strong, probably just as strong as the safeties we've got. Him at corner will be a real advantage in the running game and be able to get off blocks," Boykin said. "Whatever Coach Martinez decides to do he's going to be pretty good, nickel or corner, he could play either one."
Boykin, who made seven tackles as a backup last year, said he's looking forward to the competition with Commings, who also just happens to be his best friend on the team.
"It's going to be pretty intense but it's going to be in fun," Boykin said. "When we went out there for pass skel on Thursday he played a lot of safety and I'm telling him what to do a lot of the time but we know that we're going to compete against each other and whatever the outcome, we'll still be friends. We're both going to be on the field regardless and I am, too. That's pretty much how it's going to be."
Boykin said he was unsure how incoming freshmen like the highly-touted Branden Smith and Jordan Love will figure into the equation, but he recalls what it was like his trying to earn playing time as a freshman.
It wasn't easy.
"With any freshman they've got to learn the system. It takes a while to do that," Boykin said. "But when the new guys come in I'm going to try and teach them everything they need to know because they can help us out early."
Boykin remembers what it was like for him.
"Starting off it was kind of tough adjusting school and football, but Asher and Remarcus (Brown) really helped me out a lot," Boykin said. "I was actually playing more nickel than corner last year. I'm actually a lot more comfortable with corner but playing nickel really helped a lot with corner because now I now all the different positions."
Boykin said he's ready for spring practice to get underway.
Since the season concluded with Georgia's win over Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl, he's continued to work hard in the weight room and is currently up to 185 pounds over the 167 he came in when he arrived on campus last June.
"I was hoping to get up to 185, I just didn't know that I'd do it this quick," Boykin said. "If I can get bigger and keep my speed I might get a little bigger. At the rate I'm going I probably will."
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