At 6-foot-7 and 345 pounds, Isaiah Wilson is the biggest cheerleader in Georgia football history.
The redshirt sophomore is preparing for his second season as the starting right tackle for the Bulldogs, having led the team in the number of offensive plays last year. Georgia is seeking a third consecutive trip to the Southeastern Conference championship game, which would be a program first, and Wilson wasn't in much of a mood to temper any of his excitement for the months ahead during a recent news conference.
Asked who is creating a stir on Georgia's defensive front, Wilson's eyes lit up as he said, "Travon Walker. He is very athletic."
When the topic turned to the performances of redshirt freshman running back Zamir White in practices, Wilson exclaimed, "That man hits the hole, and he hits it really hard. I feel bad for the safety who has to fill it and try to tackle No. 3."
Wilson also didn't hesitate when discussing an offensive line that was among the three finalists for the Joe Moore Award last season and returns four starters.
"We have a very high ceiling here," he said, "and we have tons and tons of talent."
Wilson fits into the talent category, having earned five-star status in the 2017 signing class out of Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, New York. He was not only a consensus top-five national tackle prospect at Poly Prep but also scored three touchdowns out of the wildcat formation.
He redshirted the 2017 season and certainly could have benefited from the redshirt guidelines the NCAA implemented a year ago.
Last season, Wilson played in 95% of Georgia's offensive snaps during its eight league games. The marketing major was also the only offensive lineman for the Bulldogs who managed to finish every game that he started.
"It's extremely important to take care of your body and put the right things in your body," Wilson said, "but I'm also really lucky. You can easily get rolled up on at my position. I've just been at the right place at the right time."
Wilson has a new offensive coordinator this year, with James Coley having replaced Jim Chaney, but the stability of offensive line coach Sam Pittman remains. That along with the returning talent has Wilson thinking this could be the best line he has been a part of.
"The 'Great Wall' sounds great and all, but we have to work," Wilson said. "I know I've become more of a student of the game. I like to see what's happening before it happens, like seeing the blitzes before they come.
"I like to know what to do before the ball is even snapped."
Mason staying mum
Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason has no plans to announce the starting quarterback for the Commodores before their Aug. 31 opener against Georgia. Fifth-year senior Deuce Wallace and Ball State transfer Riley Neal have been vying for the role.
"We're going to take it up to kickoff," Mason said Tuesday in a news conference. "Both of these guys have done a great job, and we're getting closer to understanding where we need to go. We'll make a decision in the next couple of days, but I don't think we need to declare who the quarterback is until we get ready to play."
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.