Defensive end Justin Young is happy he remained a Georgia Bulldog.
Young, a senior from Grayson High School, was planning to transfer to another school that gave him a better opportunity to play more. But he opted to stay at Georgia and is quite content with the decision.
After being redshirted as a freshman, Young played nine games as a redshirt freshman, four games as a sophomore and one game as a junior. With the needle trending in the wrong direction, Young took a look at greener pastures before deciding to stay put for his final season of eligibility.
“I love this school,” Young said. “When I first put my name in the transfer portal, I thought it was a good decision. Then I talked about my situation to my family, close friends, my teammates and coaches and I decided that sticking it out here was what was best for me.”
Young said the final factor in his choice came down to education. His late grandfather, a strong influence in his life, always stressed the value of an education and would have wanted him to stay put.
“That affected me and my decision to stay,” he said. “It came down to me wanting to put as much value out on the field as I can. So, I decided from there I’d go to every practice and give it everything I had.”
Young has played in all five games for the Bulldogs as a reserve. He has four tackles, half a sack and one quarterback pressure. He had two tackles, one for a loss, against Notre Dame.
Young and his defensive colleagues are hard at work this week on preparing for South Carolina’s fast-paced attack. The Gamecocks like to push the accelerator and the Bulldogs must be ready to react.
“At practice, our guys get periods where we were doing high tempo, right into the play, every 10 seconds – as much as possible,” Young said. “That’s definitely their go-to, trying to get defenses off-balance and stuff like that. At least that’s what we’ve seen in some team film, just them getting other teams’ defenses off balance. We’re trying to prevent that as much as possible in this week’s practices.”
Junior linebacker Walter Grant agreed with his teammate.
“They’re really fast, high-tempo,” Grant said. “They throw a lot of different looks at you to try to catch you off guard. We treat every game like it’s a rival game. You’re going to get out best every time we step out onto the field.”
Smart said the Bulldogs are focused on cutting down on penalties for Saturday’s home game against South Carolina. Georgia is averaging 69.2 yards in penalties per game. Georgia had 11 penalties for 107 yards last week against Tennessee.
“Penalties are an interesting stat, because when you look at the history of football, the teams that win the most are not the least penalized,” Smart said. “A lot of times they’re the aggressive teams. You don’t want to be last, either. It hasn’t been a trait we’ve had, is undisciplined penalties, and we’ve got to prevent those.”
The Bulldogs are off to a 5-0 start for the fifth consecutive season and have won 15 straight games against teams from the SEC Eastern Division.