ATHENS — Chaz Chambliss knows Brock Bowers as well as anyone on the Georgia football team. In addition to facing off against each other routinely in practice, the two are also roommates.

So when asked if there was anything the outside linebacker does better than the uber-talented tight end, it took him a minute to come up with an answer.

“I’d say fishing I can beat him. He beats me in shooting,” Chambliss said. “There’s not a lot I can beat him consistently in, no.”

When speaking at SEC media days though, Bowers gave Chambliss more credit than the junior outside linebacker was willing to give himself. Bowers said Chambliss was his toughest blocking assignment.

The junior linebacker as of now is actually Georgia’s smallest outside linebacker. But he’s going to play the most out of anyone at the position for Georgia in 2023.

In part because he is the most veteran member of the room. But also because of his all-out effort level.

“I think when you talk about somebody being hard to block, a lot of that is relative to strain,” defensive coordinator Glenn Schumann said. “Chaz strains both in terms of his competitive nature and, like, his physical willingness to battle with people. So that makes him a hard guy to block by nature.”

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart praised Chambliss for setting the tone of the outside linebacker room everyday.

Chambliss attributes his work ethic, toughness and tenacity to his father, who served in the military as a drill sergeant for over 25 years. Working hard is second nature for Chambliss and that’s allowed him to find early success at Georgia.

Chambliss had 15 tackles and 2.0 sacks a season ago, with most of his production increasing after Nolan Smith suffered a season-ending injury. That gave Chambliss a taste of what replacing Smith will be like, as the latter is now with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Beyond just the on-field production though, Chambliss also has to fill Smith’s leadership role. Traditionally, he’s been a lead by example. In 2023, Chambliss will have to be more vocal for Georgia.

“Obviously didn’t have to talk because there was Nolan,” Chambliss said. “But going into summer and coming out of spring I realized I had to be more of a vocal leader. I’ve got to be more of a leader with the young guys and teach them how it’s done.”

Chambliss has been impressed with how second-year players such as Marvin Jones Jr. and Darris Smith have progressed to this point. The Bulldogs also signed three talented outside linebackers in the 2023 recruiting cycle as well.

While those players may all have greater physical gifts than Chambliss, there’s a reason the junior will start for Georgia and be a mainstay on this 2023 defense.

“The guy works extremely hard in all areas, whether it’s walk-throughs, meetings, on the field, individual drills,” Schumann said. “He’s one of the most common people to stay after practice to work on his own, and so naturally when you work like that and you focus on your process, you grow. I think he buys into that and does it every day. He has continued to progress, and we’re really pleased with him.”

Chaz Chambliss ready to step up at outside linebacker