Georgia, which has had one of the most potent offenses in the county, was devastated to learn that leading wide receiver Michael Bennett has been shelved for the season after tearing the ACL in his right knee during Tuesday’s practice.
Bennett leads the No. 5 Bulldogs with 24 catches for 345 yards and four touchdowns. The sophomore from Alpharetta, Ga., just north of Atlanta, will undergo reconstructive knee surgery at an undetermined date, Georgia director of sports medicine Ron Courson said Wednesday in a university news release.
This injury came a short time after Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said this about his team’s lack of major injuries to this point in the season:
“We have been very healthy. We have been blessed without question. Going into the season, we were pretty healthy. Now we are probably healthier at game six than we were when we started the season. So that is a good thing.”
Not so anymore. Losing Bennett is a blow that could significantly impact Georgia. He was a reliable receiver that quarterback Aaron Murray relied on it tight situations. Bennett played in the slot and out wide and was able to find the seems in the defense with relative ease.
Bennett — seventh in the SEC with 69 receiving yards per game — plays one of the Bulldogs’ deeper positions, though. Marlon Brwon and Tavarres King also are also having strong seasons. Brown (17 catches, 272 yards) is eighth in the SEC with an average of 68 receiving yards per game and King (16-307, 61.4 ypg) is 10th.
Malcolm Mitchell, a two-way standout, will play solely on offenses in Saturday’s big game against South Carolina, Richt said.
“He’s primarily an offensive player, and he’s in a state of readiness on defense,” Richt said.
Without Bennett out, Mitchell’s role likely will increase.