Georgia’s lack luster passing game was one of the most disappointing parts of their 2019 season. Unfortunately the combination of QB Jake Fromm and coordinator Jame Coley just didn’t get it done most of the time. The silver lining of 2019 was true freshman George Pickens. Pickens managed to net 727 yards and 8TDs. He was often a reliable target for Fromm, and was heavily relied on in Georgia’s Sugar Bowl win over Baylor where Pickens had 12 receptions for 175 yards and 1 TD. Still, it felt like we didn’t get to see what he was really capable of.
Fortunately for Pickens, Georgia brings in a new grad transfer QB in Jamie Newman and new offensive coordinator in Todd Monken.
Jamie Newman is on my radar as one of the most important transfers in 2020. Newman displays the ability to keep plays alive with his feet but most importantly, impressive arm strength. In 2019, Newman completed 61% of his passes for 2,868 yards and ran for just under 600 with 26 and 6 TDs respectively. He has already been listed as a way too early Heisman favorite by Sports Illustrated.
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Before coming to Georgia, Monken struggled with the Browns. Don’t let that fool you, Monken is regarded as one of the best offensive minds in the league right now. Monken has been coaching at a high level since the 1980’s. He has spent with Lou Holtz, Mike Gundy and Les Miles.
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What It Means For Pickens
Monken runs a spread offense and leans on the RPO game. I’m pretty confident Georgia will be able to fill the RB hole left by swift with Zamir White, Kenny McIntosh, or Freshman Kendall Milton. I’m not expecting any of those backs to jump in and produce like Swift, but I have no doubt Georgia will have a reliable RB corps with these guys. That takes some pressure off of Newman and allows Monken to get creative with Newman and there’s no doubt Pickens will be his favorite Target. It will not take long for Newman and Pickens to become a potent tandem.
Expect George Pickens to significantly improve his production next year. While the over 700 yards and 8 TDs from 2019 isn’t bad, Pickens is looking at at least 1,000 yards and 12 TDs next year.
George Pickens success in 2020 rides on a new coordinator and transfer quarterback immediately being effective with their new team. 5 years ago I would be skeptical this was possible. In today’s climate, coaches and players are flipping all the time so this isn’t really an issue. Just think about the impact QBs like Joe Burrow and Jalen Hurts had. 2020 will be a great year for Pickens.