NCAA Football: SEC Championship-Alabama vs Georgia

Georgia tight end Charlie Woerner runs the ball against Alabama defensive back Deionte Thompson during the SEC championship game last season at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Senior tight end Charlie Woerner will likely play a larger role in the Georgia offense this season, both as a receiver and a leader.

The team’s receiving corps is going to look different this year. Graduations and dismissals have thinned the experience at wide receiver and tight end, leaving new faces as targets for Jake Fromm’s passes.

Receivers Terry Godwin, Mecole Hardman and Jeremiah Holloman are gone, as is tight end Eric Nauta. That group combined for 110 catches and 18 touchdowns in 2018.

Their departure leaves the door open for Woerner, who has is the second-most experienced non-running back receiver. Only Riley Ridley (44 catches, nine touchdowns) and running back D’Andre Swift (32 catches, three touchdowns) had more receptions among returners than Woerner in 2018.

Woerner caught 11 balls for a 13.4 yard average, but did not score. He caught two passes against Alabama in the SEC Championship game and two against Texas in the Sugar Bowl.

Woerner, who played at Rabun County High School, has also taken on more of a leadership role on the team. He’s been particularly helpful when it comes to helping his teammates battle through the late-summer heat.

“I’ve been leading the guys and helping them do what they need to do, like learning the playbook,” Woerner said. “They’ve all done a great job. It really is a good group.”

John FitzPatrick, a redshirt freshman from Marist, and Eli Wolf, a graduate transfer from Tennessee, have seen Woerner’s leadership and felt his influence in the position room.

“Charlie is always looking after us,” said FitzPatrick, who appeared in two games last season. “And he’s always preaching to us to bring the best every single day.”

Wolf brings additional SEC experience to the position. He played in 12 games and started seven for the Vols in 2018. He caught five passes, one for a touchdown.

“Charlie and Fitz are both great tight ends and I felt like I could help the team along with those guys,” Wolf said. “The tight end room is great. Everyone is really talented here and I’m excited for the season. We all push each other. We all help each other out.”

Another player expected to contribute at wide receiver is Tyler Simmons, a junior from Powder Springs. He caught nine passes (15.3 average) and two touchdowns last season.

“I feel like the No. 1 guy,” Simmons said. “(Fromm) and I talk a lot about what we see. We watch a lot of film … find ways that we can better ourselves as a quarterback-receiver duo. I pass along what he teaches me to the younger guys so we’ll have everybody ready to play.”