For all intents and purposes, Denmark's 2021 football season actually began on Dec. 5, 2020.
Fewer than 24 hours after the Danes' second-round loss to Collins Hill in the Class 7A playoffs, the Denmark players who planned to return the following season took to the weight room.
Some five months later, Denmark appears poised to build on a rather successful 2020 campaign, one that saw the Danes play for a region championship and win a playoff game in their first season playing in Georgia's largest classification.
"They're a lot stronger than they were last season," Denmark coach Mike Palmieri said. "Our weight program -- we started back lifting the minute we lost to Collins Hill, the next day. They're strong."
Perhaps Denmark's strongest player can be found on offense, where Shamurad Umarov bookends the Danes' line at left tackle. Umarov, 6-foot-6, 275 pounds, started at the position last season as a sophomore and has since picked up an offer from the University of Virginia.
Umarov and rising junior Jake Seubert figure to anchor an offensive line in front of returning starter Amon Williams, who rushed for 463 yards and six touchdowns last season at running back.
A pair of rising sophomore quarterbacks in Michael McClellan and Jacob Nelson are competing for snaps, according to Palmieri.
"They're both looking great," Palmieri said. "I told them to make it hard for Coach [Chad] Pickett and the offensive staff to choose the guy, so that's what they're doing. They're showing up every day grinding."
Kyle Henley and Lake Thoman each caught a long touchdown pass during Denmark's spring game, and each player figures to be a threat this season in the Danes' passing game.
Denmark has plenty of experience on defense, particularly in the defensive secondary.
Treston Jordan led the team with four interceptions last season, adding 43 tackles and four pass breakups. In the past month alone, he's picked up offers from Furman, Tennessee Tech, Youngstown State, Lehigh, Elon, Brown and Georgia Southern.
Defensive back Kenon Dicks and linebacker Austin DeCarlo each enjoyed a solid season last year, as did hybrid linebacker/safety Dee Crayton, who owns a handful of offers, including three ACC offers from Florida State, Georgia Tech and Syracuse, and an SEC offer from Arkansas.