ATHENS, Ga. — Isaiah Wynn packed on about 20 pounds between Georgia’s bowl game and the start of spring practices thanks in part, he says, to some sweet treats. Being large is part of the job description for where the offensive lineman is preparing to play this season: left tackle.
Even at 6-foot-2 and 305 pounds, Wynn is listed two inches shorter than any starting left tackle in the SEC last season.
Nine were 6-6 or taller, topped by Arkansas’ 6-10, 319-pound Dan Skipper. The average left tackle starter in the league weighed 319 pounds.
“The book says he can’t play it, but people do it all the time,” coach Kirby Smart said. “He’s a leader on our team and he’s got a chip on his shoulder that he wants to prove it, prove everybody wrong.”
The senior from St. Petersburg, Fla., has started 25 games on the Bulldogs’ offensive line – including 19 at left guard where he started 11 games last season.
“A lot of people think I’m too small to play tackle in the SEC,” Wynn said.
Wynn started at left tackle for the final five games of 2015 and in the Liberty Bowl win over TCU last year, all Georgia wins.
“Isaiah has done great at left tackle not only in games, but in practice,” Smart said. “He’s very confident. He’s very strong-handed.”
Georgia brought in Rhode Island graduate transfer Tyler Catalina (6-6, 314) and shifted Wynn back to left guard last season, but with Catalina and two other starters gone, coaches are turning to Wynn again at left tackle where he says he’s settled in this spring.
Wynn credits the off-season workouts for gaining weight and muscle mass.
“It’s a lot different,” he said. “Of course, I’m stronger. I’m more stable. Not really getting pushed around as much. It feels good.”
He said stops at Georgia’s new nutrition lounge – connected to the new indoor practice facility – where players can pick up ‘grab and go’ options throughout the day, has helped.
Then there were the calories from donuts and cookies.
Wynn pledged allegiance to Krispy Kreme, and Zombie Donuts and Coffee where his favorite order is an Oreo donut with cookie crumbles on the frosting, but he’s begged off of that.
“Now I’m just trying to get back on track just to maintain.”
His past experience at left tackle gave him an understanding about what it takes to go up against speedy edge rushers.
“I enjoy watching him compete out there because it’s not like he doesn’t have to block length on our team when it comes to Lorenzo (Carter) and Davin (Bellamy),” Smart said. “He does have to block some length. I’ve been very pleased with what he’s done so far.”
Georgia is bringing in freshmen that could man the left tackle position during their careers with the likes of Isaiah Wilson and Andrew Thomas, but Smart likes what he sees this spring from Wynn.
“He’s the one kind of guy that’s been rock solid,” Smart said. “He comes to work every day.”
As for the rest of the offensive line, both guard spots and right tackle are more unsettled.
“Day-to-day,” Smart said. “It’s just day-to-day. We’re going to try to do five weeks, look at it five times and try to make the best evaluation of each kid and give them an opportunity to grow.”
Left guard Dyshon Sims worked at right tackle earlier this past week, where Aulden Bynum and D’Marcus Hayes have also repped.
“Right now, it’s musical chairs,” Smart said. “There’s not a lot of continuity there. We’re trying to find the best mix and match.”
Wynn seems more solid in his spot.
He laughed when a reporter asked if the much-hyped, five-star Wilson from Brooklyn would have a chance to beat him out.
“It would be good competition,” he said. “I’m excited about the new guys coming in. It’s always good to have the guys behind you also pushing you to be a better offensive lineman.”