A Georgia receiving corps already low on experience thinned even further late last month when Jeremiah Holloman was dismissed from the team.
Terry Godwin, Mecole Hardman and Riley Ridley have replaced their college days with life in the NFL, leaving a receiver overhaul entering Kirby Smart's fourth season guiding the Bulldogs. Among those in the mix for playing time is redshirt sophomore Matt Landers, whose Georgia career to this point has yielded zero receptions.
"Matt had a good spring, but Matt's level of consistency has to improve," Smart said after the G-Day game on April 20. "Matt has to play to Matt's standard all the time. We've seen some flashes of really good things from Matt, and we're seeing more of those flashes.
"He's got to do a better job of coming down with some 50-50 balls — we need Matt to step up for us."
The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Landers, who is from Pinellas, Florida, was easy to notice at G-Day, making two catches for 54 yards and throwing a 39-yard touchdown strike to quarterback D'Wan Mathis. Whether that serves as his breakthrough showing remains to be seen.
The former three-star signee redshirted in 2017 and played in four blowout wins last year — against Austin Peay, Middle Tennessee State, Vanderbilt and Massachusetts. He admits it hasn't been the smoothest ride to this point during his time in Athens.
"When I first got here I took a lot of things personally, like when the coaches would be yelling at me," Landers said. "I would get down, but I learned that if the coaches are talking to you, that means that you're important.
"When a coach stops talking to you, that's a bad thing."
Georgia returns just 13 catches for 175 yards at the receiver position, with senior Tyler Simmons accounting for most of that with nine for 138. Two of the programs the Bulldogs are chasing on the national landscape, Alabama and Clemson, each return more than 3,000 yards from their receivers.
Simmons, Demetris Robertson, Kearis Jackson, Trey Blount and Tommy Bush will join Landers in helping Georgia attempt to fill the substantial void, as will University of Miami graduate transfer Lawrence Cager and freshmen George Pickens and Dominick Blaylock. Both Pickens and Blaylock were top-50 national prospects in the 2019 signing class.
If the G-Day game was any indication, Landers could be among those making a needed impact as soon as the Aug. 31 opener at Vanderbilt.
"I feel like I'm doing well, and I bought in a lot this spring," Landers said. "I know I still have a long way to go both on and off the field in order to do more. I've got to be more consistent, and that's all on me."
Contact David Paschall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6524.