True freshman Dominick Blaylock leads Georgia in receiving

Georgia photo by Tony Walsh / Georgia true freshman Dominick Blaylock leads the Bulldogs in receiving yards and yards per catch entering Saturday night's game at Tennessee.

ATHENS, Ga. - The Georgia Bulldogs' leading receiver in early October had to be somebody unique given the personnel losses the program sustained at that position from a season ago.

That somebody is true freshman Dominick Blaylock.

"Dom doesn't flash you with anything, but he's just really sneaky good at everything," junior quarterback Jake Fromm said this week. "He's a guy who's really polished in what he does. He came in as a really smart, intelligent kid, and he just does a really good job of catching the football and getting open.

"Hopefully he continues to do that."

The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder from Marietta traveled to Georgia's season opener at Vanderbilt but never played in the 30-6 victory. In the three games since, Blaylock has tallied nine receptions for a team-high 179 yards with two touchdowns.

His 59.7 receiving yards per game and 19.9 yards per catch also lead the third-ranked Bulldogs (4-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) entering Saturday's 7 p.m. game at Tennessee (1-3, 0-1), which will be televised by ESPN.

"First of all, Dom has put himself in a situation to be successful because of how hard he works," Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. "His level of practice standard is the same as his game standard. He plays so hard in practice, and he does everything you ask. He's a very assignment-oriented guy. He has a knack for getting open. He understands coverages and route structure. He understands our offense, so he can play multiple positions.

"He's even become better as a blocker and more physical, because he will get in the weightroom and continue to lift. I love the way he works. He never complains. He just goes out there and puts his best forward each and every day."

Blaylock is the stepson of Chattanooga Lookouts co-owner John Woods, who has helped raise him from the toddler stage and provided a lending ear throughout a recruiting process that ignited in March 2015, when Blaylock was an eighth-grader and received a scholarship offer from Steve Spurrier, South Carolina's coach at the time. Blaylock became a top-five nationally rated receiver in the 2019 signing class and took all the drama out of his recruitment by committing to Georgia in July 2017.

As a Walton High School senior, Blaylock amassed 60 receptions for 1,052 yards and eight touchdowns for the Raiders, who play in the state's highest classification, and he also rushed for 216 yards and 10 scores on his way to receiving all-state recognition.

"He went on some of the biggest stages that there were on Friday nights and played against the best teams in the state, and he performed well," Smart said. "He was usually the best player on the field. They put him at wildcat quarterback. He returned kicks. He got the ball in the slot. You knew he was a playmaker by the way his coaches used him.

"He took on all those roles in high school, so you felt like he would be able to do the same thing in college. He went to an all-star game and scored two touchdowns. Anywhere he's gone, he's been one of the most competitive people on the field, and he's continued that trend at our place by outworking people and just busting his tail."

Blaylock's playing debut for the Bulldogs resulted in a three-catch, 48-yard performance against Murray State that included a 25-yard score early in the fourth quarter of the 63-17 shellacking. The following week, which was the 55-0 lambasting of Arkansas State, he racked up 112 yards on four receptions, including a 60-yard scoring strike that was aided by a stellar perimeter block from fellow receiver Lawrence Cager, a graduate transfer who played at Miami.

In Georgia's most recent outing, the 23-17 topping of Notre Dame on Sept. 21, Blaylock showed no stage was too big by snagging two catches for 19 yards.

Sophomore center Trey Hill said the first couple of summer workouts revealed Blaylock was "ready and locked in," but it's Woods who can provide more background detail than any of Blaylock's teammates or coaches.

"When he was 3 years old, he would make me go out in the yard and throw the football with him for hours," Woods said Wednesday. "The funny thing is that my two Labs would run the routes right behind him, and all three of them would end up fighting over the ball. I would get worn out, but they could go on forever.

"Dominick is a very humble kid off the field, but on the field, he has that competitive switch."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524. Follow him on Twitter @DavidSPaschall.