Georgia at bottom of tight end barrel

ATHENS, Ga. --- Aron White's rise to the top of the depth chart at tight end for Georgia is partially about being at the right place at the wrong time for the Bulldogs.

Sophomore Bruce Figgins missed the Alabama game because of a separated shoulder that will require surgery, and starter Tripp Chandler suffered a separated right shoulder against the Crimson Tide.

The position's depth already was depleted after NaDerris Ward decided to transfer before spring practice, weeks after top tight end target Dwayne Allen from North Carolina made a signing-day switch from Georgia to Clemson.

"It definitely rushed up on me, but I'm trying to keep a level head," White said of his new role.

White was ready to go when he saw it was Chandler who was hurt.

"Once I realized it was Tripp, of course my heart went out to him," White said. "I had to focus. I went straight to coach (John) Lilly, and he told me I would have to be the guy for the rest of the game."

Georgia's likely top two tight ends give the Bulldogs players on opposite ends of the spectrum. White is undersized at 6-foot-4 and 229 pounds, with the skills to play receiver, but he's less equipped to blow anyone off the ball.

Backup Kiante Tripp is supersized at 6-6, 290 after moving from offensive tackle last week because of the injury to Figgins, who will try to play in Georgia's next game, Oct. 11 against Tennessee, before possibly taking a medical redshirt.

White, a redshirt freshman, is still looking for his first collegiate catch. Tripp had one catch for minus-6 yards after snagging a batted ball against South Carolina.

White was rated as the nation's top tight end prospect two years ago and the No. 38 overall prospect by Rivals.com, higher than any other player Georgia signed in that class.

He had 59 catches and 17 touchdowns combined during his junior and senior seasons at Rock Bridge High School in Columbia, Mo.

Reach Marc Weiszer at marc.weiszer@morris.com.

SATURDAY'S GAMES

- Duke at Georgia Tech, noon (ESPNU)

- South Carolina at Mississippi, 2 p.m. (pay-per-view)

- Georgia Southern at Chattanooga, 6 p.m.

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