Athens - J.J. Green, Georgia second-leading rusher last season as a freshman tailback, has been moved to cornerback for spring practice.
That was one among an avalanche of news nuggets to tumble out of the Bulldogs’ first media opportunity in advance of spring practice, which begins March 18. Head coach Mark Richt said the rising sophomore from Camden County would be moving to defense to help shore up depth and increase competition in Georgia’s beleaguered secondary.
“J.J’s going to start out at cornerback,” Richt said Wednesday afternoon. “He’s beginning to learn those types of things. He played a lot of defense in high school and even when we signed him. We didn’t say for sure where he was going to play. But we needed him at the tailback position last year. Coach (Jeremy) Pruitt, looking over the situation and remembering J.J. through the recruiting process, he wanted to move him over there to see what he could do.”
Green (5-foot-9, 183-pounds) was a big help on offense last season. With Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall both sidelined with injuries, Green ended up starting two games and played in 10 at tailback. He averaged 5.6 yards per carry and finished second on the team with 384 yards and three touchdowns.
Green is the second player offensive player that has moved to defense. Tramel Terry, who will be a redshirt freshman this next season, moved from wide receiver to safety during bowl practice.
“Well the big thing is just the lack of numbers,” Pruitt said. “You can never have too many corners. Obviously I was familiar with J.J. and it’s pretty crowded back there at the running back spot. He wants the opportunity to play.”
Senior Damian Swann and sophomore Shaq Wiggins were Georgia’s primary cornerbacks last season, with junior Sheldon Dawson also getting some of the starters. The Bulldogs had only seven interceptions for the season and were victimized in several games.
“He can’t be the nice guy anymore,” Swann said of Green coming to his side of the ball. “He has to turn into a dog and be ready to tackle instead of being tackled.”