ATHENS, Ga. --- After not playing for more than a year, Georgia's Bruce Figgins feels he has finally caught up with his teammates and said this could be the deepest corps of tight ends since he has been in Athens.
Figgins, a junior, is one of the elder statesmen in the unit.
But sitting for a year took a toll on his frame of mind.
"I feel like I'm basically caught up now," Figgins said. "Sitting out last year was hard, more mentally than physically. But I think I'm right where I need to be. I'm thriving on the excitement and adrenaline every day. It's not a dragging day. It's exciting because I was off last year."
Figgins had shoulder surgery after the 2008 season. Then he was suspended for the first six games of last season. Even after he was eligible to come back, Figgins took a redshirt and will have two more seasons of eligibility.
He returned for his first practices during spring drills.
"That was exciting, being able to get out there and practice," Figgins said.
"Whether it was blocking or running down the field as a decoy, it was fun. I was happy and I'm happy now just to be out there with the guys and contributing to the team."
Figgins is one of four tight ends who could see major playing time this season, along with fellow redshirt junior Aron White and sophomores Orson Charles and Arthur Lynch.
When Figgins last played in 2008, he caught two passes for 32 yards as the tight ends were used mainly for blocking.
That changed last season as Charles and White combined for 36 catches, 572 yards and seven touchdowns. In 2008, three tight ends combined for 10 catches for 178 yards.
"There's a lot of confidence in us," Figgins said. "A lot of people depend on us in both blocking and receiving. A couple of years ago, the tight ends weren't involved in the passing game nearly as much. But this year I think we're going to be included more in the offense and we should get the ball and get looks in the progression. It's just fun being out there."