UGA secondary huge concern as Tyrique Stevenson enters transfer portal

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Georgia got mostly great news on Monday. Jamaree Salyer, Adam Anderson and Jake Camarda all announced they would be returning for the 2021 season. The Bulldogs also became the only team to hold a lead over national champion Alabama after halftime.

But the biggest news of the day broke bad for the Bulldogs, as defensive back Tyrique Stevenson entered the transfer portal. While he has not officially left Georgia yet, the writing seems to be on the wall that he is head back home to play for the Miami Hurricanes.

Stevenson did post a thank you note on his Instagram page after the news broke.

For a Georgia secondary that is already losing Richard LeCounte, Mark Webb, Eric Stokes, Tyson Campbell and DJ Daniel, the Stevenson loss is another blow.

Related: The latest Georgia football roster movement regarding NFL draft, transfer portal and returnees

Georgia had used Stevenson in a variety of roles during the 2020 season. He backed-up Webb at Georgia's star position. They also used him at the money spot, which is a hybrid of a safety and cornerback.

Stevenson's most prominent performance came in the Peach Bowl win over Cincinnati when he filled in for Stokes at corner.

The Georgia sophomore, who is from Miami, had a huge pass breakup in the game to prevent a third-down conversion.

After the win, Kirby Smart called it "probably the play of the game."

Georgia was already working with a patchwork secondary against Cincinnati, as it was without Stokes, Webb and Daniel, while LeCounte was limited to just a single play. The Bulldogs still found a way to win that game, even with all those absences.

The secondary will not be a strength for Georgia in 2021. It can't be with all the talent the Bulldogs are losing.

Georgia will have both starting safeties back in Lewis Cine and Chris Smith. Latavious Brini will be back as well and he perhaps is the biggest beneficiary of the Stevenson news.

Brini got his first career start in the Peach Bowl at the star position. Smart was complimentary of him following the Peach Bowl win.

"They rose up today," Smart said of the secondary. "They played better as the game went on, I thought. Brini got more and more comfortable as the game went on."

The middle of Georgia's secondary has experience. It's the cornerback positions that now become perhaps the biggest concern on the Georgia team.

Stevenson was going to be the only Georgia player with a start at the cornerback position on the 2021 team. Now, you're looking at a number of inexperienced, yet promising options.

The first name to watch is that of Kelee Ringo. He was the 5-star signee in the 2020 class and the No. 1 cornerback in the 2020 signing class. The reason he didn't see the field this season is due to preseason labrum surgery.

He did get the chance to dress for the first time all season in the Peach Bowl.

There's also fellow 2020 signee Jalen Kimber. He redshirted his first year on campus, but the young cornerback was still a top recruit, finishing as the No. 107 recruit in the class. Other returning options include Daran Branch and Ameer Speed.

Georgia signed four defensive backs in the 2021 recruiting cycle. David Daniel and Javon Bullard both figure to be safeties at the next level. At corner, Georgia brought in 4-star cornerbacks Nyland Green and Kamari Lassiter.

Of those four, Green figures to have the quickest route to the field, given he is already on campus. He also has the measurables —6-foot-2, 183 pounds — to where he won't have to make a significant adjustment to the more physical nature of the college game.

With the lack of experience at the corner position, don't be surprised to see Georgia dip into the transfer portal to try and add someone, specifically at corner. Georgia has done this in the past, though in recent seasons transfer portal adds have been geared more towards the offense rather than the defense.

Georgia figures to have a stout defensive front, led by players like Jordan Davis, Jalen Carter, Adam Anderson and Nolan Smith. Those players getting pressure and racking up sacks will play a key role in helping Georgia's young secondary.

And of course, there's the question of if it all really matters. Georgia had an extremely talented secondary in 2020. Against Alabama's passing offense it did not matter. Against Florida's elite passing offense, it did not matter.

The secondary position is still one of concern for Georgia heading into 2021. But modern college offenses have evolved to the point where it doesn't matter who you have back there.

The Bulldogs should have one of those elite offenses in 2021, led by quarterback JT Daniels. Pair that with Georgia's defensive front, and they should be good enough to help overcome a young and inexperienced defensive backfield.

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