August 23, 2011

Learning the ropes

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When Georgia coaches began recruiting linebacker Ramik Wilson, they did so with the belief that his versatility could pay early dividends for the Bulldogs this fall.

So far, it appears those hopes are being fulfilled.

As Georgia forges ahead with its preparation for Boise State, the 6-foot-2, 230-pound true freshman continues to get a long look from those same coaches just to get a proper sense of where he'll fit in the best.

"Right now they're just trying to see where I'm good at and where I can help the team," Wilson said. "I do think I'm pretty versatile. I feel good at both positions. I'll play wherever they tell me to play."

Inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti likes the effort he's seen from the Tampa, Fla. native, who as a high school senior recorded 18 sacks and forced six fumbles.

Wilson recorded eight sacks as a junior.

"He plays the right way. He might not necessarily do all things the right way all the time, but he plays the right way," Olivadotti said. "He's got a little pass rush in him but he's also got the ability to be a good downhill tackler on the inside, and we like that."

Christian Robinson said that Wilson has shown flashes of that ability during practice and the Bulldogs' two scrimmages thus far this spring.

Like Olivadotti, Robinson sees some definite potential.

"He's learning the playbook a little bit more. He definitely has the physical ability to play right now. He gives us a changeup to Jarvis; they're both very similar when they're out there on the field. He's just got a motor. He gets more sacks in practice than a lot of the people because he fights for it," Robinson said. "Mentally, he's got to keep working but just because he's young. Give him a few games and I think he'll be good. I think he will play and contribute."

But where will he ultimately play?

Although he continues to receive some inside looks, Robinson said Wilson of late has been seeing more time on the outside and is currently one of a number of players backing up Jarvis Jones at Sam.

"He's been mainly outside," Robinson said with a quick smile. "Coach (Todd) Grantham kind of stole him from us."

Either way, Wilson won't be complaining.

Like many freshmen, his indoctrination to college football has had its share of ups and downs while he's been force-fed Grantham's entire defensive playbook.

Although he admits his head still occasionally spins, Wilson said being able to lean on Jones and Robinson for support has helped ease much of the mental burden.

"I've learned a lot from both those guys. Christian will go over plays after practice which has really helped me out; how to do a better job reading offenses," he said. "Jarvis, he's shown me a lot about my technique, how to get a better rush and everything. Both have helped me out a lot."

Fellow freshman Amarlo Herrera continues to push Wilson as well.

Long before the two decided to attend college together, Wilson and Herrera became fast friends while attending camps together along the recruiting trail.

Herrera pulled the trigger first, becoming Georgia's second verbal commitment early in 2010, while Wilson waited until almost a year later to announce he would become a Bulldog.

"He always used to say we could do good things if we both came to Georgia," said Wilson. "I think we (the linebackers) have some good potential. We've got a lot of depth and it's been a good competition. Everybody is ready to play and contribute."

Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports
and he can be reached via email at dash@ugasports.com.