About eight months ago, Ramik Wilson was considering whether he was ready for an early jump to the NFL. On Wednesday, Georgia coach Mark Richt said he was reconsidering Wilson's readiness to even play for the Georgia Bulldogs.
That's a long, downward trip for a senior linebacker who led the entire SEC in tackles last year with 133. But Richt's exasperation with Wilson's play, a week after he returned to practice from a concussion, is obvious.
"It's hard to get better when you're not there," Richt said, according to savannahnow.com. "It's hard to get game ready when you're not practicing. Unfortunately, he was not able to practice and now he's playing catch-up quite frankly, and, hopefully, he can get to the point where the defensive staff feels like he ought to be in there doing it."
According to the report, Wilson was not a fixture on the first-team defense when the Bulldogs held an open practice on Tuesday. Georgia opens the season in nine days against the toughest non-conference opponent on its schedule in Clemson. Backup inside linebackers Reggie Carter and Tim Kimbrough combined for just 13 stops last year, so the experience level in the Georgia defense would absorb a major blow if Wilson isn't ready to start against the Tigers.
Richt said the inside linebacker positions remain an open competition. The question is whether Wilson is dealing with significant physical rust from his layoff, or if Richt is simply trying to light a fire under a senior in need of some pre-season motivation.
Either way, Wilson's performance against a tougher opponent like Clemson -- or the absence of one -- will be among the games NFL scouts will consider most closely in evaluating his pro potential.