Patient Demetris Robertson finally has a busy game for Georgia

Georgia redshirt junior receiver Demetris Robertson had three catches and two rushes that totaled 52 yards during Saturday night's 30-6 win at Vanderbilt. / Georgia photo by Chamberlain Smith

ATHENS, Ga. - Demetris Robertson had 50 receptions as a University of California Freshman All-American in 2016.

Robertson has caught just 10 passes since, but he's not seeking any sympathy in his second college locale. The 6-foot, 190-pound redshirt junior is too busy transforming into a versatile weapon for the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs.

"I know my role on the team," Robertson said this week. "I try to come in and play physical."

Robertson was the busiest of Georgia's receivers during Saturday night's 30-6 throttling of Vanderbilt in Nashville, collecting three receptions for 23 yards and rushing twice for 29. His 3-yard touchdown catch less than four minutes into the game capped Georgia's impressive eight-play, 75-yard opening possession.

His three catches were three more than he had all of last season, when he transferred from Cal and encountered a reserve role behind Terry Godwin, Mecole Hardman and Riley Ridley.

"D-Rob was ready to go," Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm said late Saturday night. "You've got a fast guy with good ball skills and was ready to run around and make big plays. We're excited to use him, and we're ready to see what kind of plays and packages he gets this week."

The Bulldogs are hosting Murray State on Saturday, which should provide Robertson more opportunities to shine as a receiver and on jet sweeps.

Robertson was a five-star member of the 2016 signing class out of Savannah and the No. 13 national propsect on the composite rankings, which had him nestled between Hardman at No. 12 and former Bulldogs tight end Isaac Nauta at No. 14. He set Cal freshman records with his 50 catches for 767 yards and seven touchdowns, but just two games into his sophomore year he sustained a season-ending injury and received a medical redshirt.

A shared desire among Robertson and his family members for him to be closer to home led to him transferring last summer, which resulted in an instant game of having to catch up.

"I came one day before fall camp, so I really didn't know the playbook," Robertson said. "I knew other guys had been here like three or four years, so I had to wait my turn."

While Godwin, Hardman and Riley produced 2018 seasons that landed them in this year's NFL draft, Robertson played in nine of 14 games and didn't start any. He had a 72-yard touchdown run in the opening 45-0 thrashing of Austin Peay, but that was his top highlight.

Robertson added a 23-yard carry against Middle Tennessee State and a 12-yard rush against UMass.

"I feel like the toughest part of my journey was sitting out as a competitor who was wanting to play," Robertson said. "It was super frustrating to go without a catch last year, but I knew we had guys in front of me and that I had to wait my turn. I had to learn from those guys."

Going from 50 receptions as a five-star freshman to no catches at all two years later wasn't the best experience for Robertson, but he certainly won the respect of Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart in the process.

"He was just as talented last year as he is now," Smart said, "but he doesn't have a 10.4 100-meter guy (Hardman) in front of him and a seventh-round pick (Godwin) and a fourth-round pick (Ridley), so he's able to get more opportunities. He has taken full advantage of those.

"Demetris comes to work every day, and I hate that people have had all these expectations for him, because he's such a good kid and works so hard."

Four receivers, two tight ends and two running backs caught passes from Fromm at Vanderbilt, and that type of balance was reflected last season and could be in store this year as well. Ridley led Georgia with 44 receptions a year ago, so it could be that Robertson's 50 catches in 2016 will forever stand as his single-season best.

"That's not really a big deal to me," he said. "A big deal is winning every game and trying to get better every game."

Odds and ends

Smart said freshman offensive lineman Clay Webb was too sick to practice Tuesday and that sophomore defensive lineman Tramel Walthour was too dinged-up. Freshman receiver Dominick Blaylock, stepson of Chattanooga Lookouts co-owner John Woods, traveled to Vanderbilt but did not play. ... Smart on sophomore inside linebacker Quay Walker putting on a Tennessee hat and then throwing it off during his commitment announcement: "He regretted that after the fact. It wasn't a proud moment for him. I think he was caught up in the moment, and we talked about it."

Contact David Paschall at or 423-757-6524.