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Georgia photo by Tony Walsh / George Pickens is pictured during Tuesday afternoon's practice before the junior receiver tore an ACL during a noncontact drill.

Georgia has a lot of offensive optimism for the 2021 college football season, but the Bulldogs continue to experience setbacks at receiver.

Junior George Pickens, the former five-star signee out of Hoover, Alabama, tore his right anterior cruciate ligament during a noncontact drill Tuesday afternoon and will undergo surgery. In 22 career games with the Bulldogs, the 6-foot-3, 200-pounder has 85 receptions for 1,240 yards and 14 touchdowns.

His most memorable outing occurred against Baylor in the Sugar Bowl after the 2019 season, when he earned MVP honors with 12 catches for 175 yards and a touchdown in the 26-14 triumph.

"The good news is that the MRI showed it to be an isolated injury with no other structures involved," Georgia coach Kirby Smart said Wednesday in a release. "George is a hard worker. I know he will bring the same work ethic to rehab that he shows in practice every day."

If Pickens is unable to play this season, he could choose to return for a redshirt junior year in 2022 or make himself eligible for the 2022 NFL draft.

The Bulldogs already have been practicing this spring without receivers Dominick Blaylock and Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint. Blaylock, the stepson of Chattanooga Lookouts co-owner John Woods, suffered the second torn left ACL of his career last August, while Rosemy-Jacksaint sustained an ankle dislocation and fracture during a 32-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter of last November's loss to Florida.

Kearis Jackson, Jermaine Burton, Demetris Robertson and Arian Smith now headline Georgia's receivers.

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

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