Since Mark Richt became Georgia's head coach before the 2001 season, the Bulldogs have developed a reputation of not only being a contender in the SEC East more times than not, but for producing top-tier pass-catching tight ends.
Ben Watson, Leonard Pope, Martrez Milner, Orson Charles and Arthur Lynch have all made their marks in Athens. But with Lynch moving on after this season, the door is wide open for another top-tier tight end to become a weapon in the classic city.
Enter: Jeb Blazevich.
The 6'4", 230-pound, 4-star tight end from Charlotte Christian School in North Carolina signed on the dotted line with Georgia on national signing day and is ready to make an impact in a Georgia offense that depends heavily on a tight end being a safety valve for a quarterback.
"Coaches change a lot, but ever since they've been there they've had that strong tradition of tight ends," Blazevich said. "Going in, all I knew was what they did with Artie [Lynch], and what they did with Orson Charles before that. I like that they work off the play action, let you spread out a little and catch the rock."
Blazevich caught 62 passes for 892 yards and 11 touchdown over the last two seasons in high school. He credits his previous life as a wide receiver as a big reason he evolved into an SEC tight end.
"I feel like the biggest assets I have are my route running and my hands," he said. "I started out playing wide receiver, so my routes are a little more crisp than some guys and my hands are a little better than some guys."
But for Blazevich—or any Georgia tight end—to be successful in Georgia's offense, the Bulldogs will have to be able to establish the run. They have the horses at running back with Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall and have more help on the way in the form of incoming freshmen Nick Chubb and Sony Michel.
For those guys to succeed, Blazevich will have to be more than just a pass-catching tight end.
"My blocking is a little worse than some guys," he said. "That's just something I haven't done a lot of. I'm a willing blocker, but I need to get better at the technique. But really, at this point, I need to get better at pretty much everything to compete with those guys."
He'll have to compete for playing time once he gets on campus. Jay Rome is a 6'6", 254-pound rising junior who has 20 catches for 251 yards and two touchdowns during his first two seasons in Athens. Hunter Atkinson is a 6'6", 250-pound 3-star tight end who also signed with Georgia on Wednesday and will push Blazevich for once when the two get to campus.
"Both are great young men and very talented," Richt said in quotes released by Georgia. "Both have good hands, and I think they're both going to be very capable to learn what to do and earn some playing time. It'll be fun to watch it."
Whatever happens during his career, Blazevich is just excited to be a Bulldog.
"It's a great honor and it's really humbling to have the opportunity to be one of 'those guys'," he said.
He'll have an opportunity early. Based on his ability and Georgia's track record of success with players with similar skills, he'll be a star sooner rather than later.
*Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted, all recruiting and high school statistical information courtesy of 247Sports and all college statistics courtesy of CFBStats.com.
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