No. 2 Georgia will likely have two projected starters back when it takes the field against No. 8 Arkansas on Saturday. Tight end Darnell Washington and defensive back Tykee Smith are both expected to play after sustaining foot injuries in preseason camp.
"We're under the expectation they'll be able to go and play, and be able to help us," coach Kirby Smart said Monday, per The Athletic.
Their return comes at an ideal time with Georgia about to enter its toughest stretch of the season. The Razorbacks have been one of the most surprising teams in America after beating Texas and No. 15 Texas A&M. Additionally, No. 22 Auburn and No. 10 Florida are on the schedule between now and Oct. 30. Just two weeks ago, the Gators gave top-ranked Alabama everything it could handle in a narrow 31-29 loss.
Washington broke out late in the 2020 season with five catches for 107 yards in a pair of wins over No. 25 Missouri and No. 8 Cincinnati. He will split time with freshman tight end Brock Bowers, who leads the Bulldogs with 18 catches for 272 yards and four touchdowns.
Smith ranked as one of the top transfers in America after earning All-America honors in a breakout season as a sophomore at West Virginia. The Philadelphia native posted 61 tackles, eight tackles for loss, five pass breakups and two interceptions while playing primarily a slot corner role. He will compete for playing time at the STAR role with the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs and Razorbacks will kickoff at 12 p.m. ET on Saturday at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia.