Home Miami jersey Georgia WR Pickens ready for Orange Bowl after knee injury

Georgia WR Pickens ready for Orange Bowl after knee injury

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FILE - Mississippi State cornerback Martin Emerson, left, tackles Georgia wide receiver George Pickens during the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, November 21, 2020 in Athens , Georgia.  a major contributor for the Bulldogs this season.  The junior who was slated to be Georgia's third receiver before tearing his ACL in his right knee during spring training will be available on Friday, Dec.31, 2021 for the college football playoff semifinals at the Orange Bowl against the No. 2 Michigan.  (AP Photo / Brynn Anderson, file)

FILE – Mississippi State cornerback Martin Emerson, left, tackles Georgia wide receiver George Pickens during the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, November 21, 2020 in Athens , Georgia. a major contributor for the Bulldogs this season. The junior who was slated to be Georgia’s third receiver before tearing his ACL in his right knee during spring training will be available on Friday, Dec.31, 2021 for the college football playoff semifinals at the Orange Bowl against the No. 2 Michigan. (AP Photo / Brynn Anderson, file)

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Georgia wide receiver George Pickens still has a chance to be a major contributor for the Bulldogs this season.

The junior who was slated to be Georgia’s third receiver before tearing his ACL in his right knee during spring training will be available for the college football playoff semifinals at the Orange Bowl on Friday against the No.2 in the Michigan.

Pickens did not travel with the team to Miami on Sunday, but arrived on Monday. Georgia wouldn’t say why Pickens and quarterback JT Daniels showed up a day late, but both should be ready to play.

“Looking back on the spring he injured his knee and thinking, wow, what a disappointment for him and his development and for us,” Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken said Tuesday. “But he did a fantastic job trying to come back.

Pickens was finally able to play against Georgia Tech in the regular season and against Alabama in the Southeastern Conference Championship game. He had three catches, two against Tide.

The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder from Hoover, Ala. Has perhaps the highest cap of any spreader in Georgia and he’s been especially good in bowl games.

Last year, he had seven catches for 135 yards and one touchdown against Cincinnati in the Peach Bowl. He ended his first season with a career-high 12 catches for 175 yards in Georgia’s Sugar Bowl victory over Baylor.

It might be an overstatement to think that Pickens can be that type of impact player against Michigan, but for a team that has relied heavily on inexperienced receivers all season, any input would be welcome.

“He’s been a great addition to this team, being able to come back from that injury has been great not only for himself but also for the team, and just being there brings a different atmosphere. on the game, ”said fellow wide receiver Kearis Jackson.

INCREASING STOCK

Michigan linebacker David Ojabo has had one of the best seasons in college football.

The junior had played 20 snaps for the Wolverines at the start of the season, but flourished as an outside linebacker in defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald’s new plan in 2021. Ojabo has 11 sacks, is a second All-American team and a legitimate NFL Perspective now.

“When it comes to the draft, watch out for the draft, I’m going to focus on that, but you can see us, we’re in the playoffs. I can’t talk about the draft or focus on the draft, ”Ojabo said.

The 6-5, 250-pound Ojabo is a late-comer in football. Born in Nigeria, he grew up in Scotland, where his parents still live. He moved to New Jersey and started playing football as a teenager.

Victor and Ngor Ojabo got to see their son play in person for the first time in November when Michigan defeated Ohio State in Ann Arbor.

Ojabo said his parents were not making the trip to South Florida, but his brother would be in town.

Ojabo has a great role model as fellow Michigan Aidan Hutchinson who was the Heisman Trophy finalist. Ojabo said he has tried to be in Hutchinson’s “hip pocket” this year, trying to approach the game with the same work ethic and commitment.

His rise surprised observers, but not him.

“No, that didn’t surprise me because at the end of the day I know the work I did,” Ojabo said.

BEARCAT BROTHERS

Darrian Beavers has a Cincinnati skyline tattoo on his left bicep and was happy to come home to play after his last three college seasons after starting at UConn.

Beavers, a graduate linebacker, is one of 27 players on the Bearcats list listed as being from Cincinnati. He is in the top five of the Colerain High School team.

“Give Colerain a lot of credit. I feel like they’re preparing their players well for the next level, ”Beavers said Wednesday after showing off the muscular illustration. “The workouts, the intensity of the training, the competition that we play in Cincinnati, I feel like all of these factors influence how we perform at the senior level in college.”

Three of Colerain’s alumni play key roles in defending the undefeated Bearcats: Beavers has 91 tackles, second-year linebacker DeShawn Pace has 85 with four interceptions, a team-high, while starting just four games, and starting defenseman Ja’Vone Hicks has 48 tackles.

Beavers is one of five current Cincinnati High School Bearcat players who started their varsity careers at other schools.

“It was a blessing. I grew up here, ”Beavers said. “Cincinnati is in my blood so I feel like the recognition this city has received from this football team has been amazing. It put the program on the map, it put the players on the map… J I feel like that put this whole town on the map.

BACK TO SCHOOL

Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien was sidelined for a few days while preparing for the Crimson Tide for the Cotton Bowl against No.4 Cincinnati by COVID-19.

The 52-year-old former Houston Texans and Penn State coach arrived in Miami on Tuesday, returning days earlier than initially expected after the CDC reduced the recommended isolation time for those infected with COVID- 19 from 10 to five days.

O’Brien said after working remotely for much of 2020, doing it again for a few days wasn’t that difficult.

“Every meeting, every practice I’ve been to,” said O’Brien. “So it was really great coming back to Tuscaloosa for me, but obviously I’m delighted to be here right now. “

O’Brien took over from Joe Paterno at Penn State in 2012 and spent two seasons there before becoming NFL head coach. He previously worked with the New England Patriots for five years (2007-11), the last three as quarterbacks coach Tom Brady.

The question O’Brien said he gets a lot of – but not in interview sessions because neither Alabama’s Nick Saban nor New England’s Bill Belichik allows assistant coaches to meet with regulars. reporters – is how the two great coaches and their programs stack up against each other?

“I am very proud to work for two of the greatest coaches of all time in any sport,” said O’Brien. “Coach Belichick, Coach Saban, I learned so much from both of them. And there are fundamental principles they both believe in: hard work, trust, loyalty. You know, smart football teams, teams that play altruistic and complementary football.

O’Brien said that after being sacked by the Texans last year, ending a seven-year run in Houston, the call he received from Saban to come to Alabama was the only offer from job he received.

“And I’m grateful for the opportunity I got,” said O’Brien. “I think you can count on one hand how many people can say they worked for both guys, and I’m just extremely proud of that.”

The biggest challenge for O’Brien coming to Alabama was learning offense.

“When you come here you know you’re leading the attack on Alabama, you don’t bring your attack here, and it’s a great attack, with a great story and it was really great to hear that. , but it was very difficult, “he said.

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AP Sports writer Stephen Hawkins in Forth Worth, Texas, contributed.

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