Saturday will be the final home game for Devonte Wyatt and Jordan Davis. The two standout defensive tackles perhaps epitomize what makes this Georgia team so great, as the duo set the tone for the best defensive unit in college football.
They’re clear leaders for this Georgia team and Saturday will be “very emotional” for both Wyatt and Davis.
In part, it’s because Wyatt and Davis both made sacrifices to remain at Georgia. The pair could both be off in the NFL now but they elected to come back to Georgia to build something that worth remembering.
Related: Georgia’s Jordan Davis ‘bittersweet’ approaching Senior Day, shines bright like a diamond
Wyatt and Davis both arrived at Georgia in 2018 and have since blossomed into one of the better defensive tackle combinations in Georgia history.
And based on the way things have played out, it’s not too dissimilar from what was said about Sony Michel and Nick Chubb, when the two running backs bypassed the 2017 NFL Draft to lead Georgia to an SEC championship.
“When JD and I decided to come back, we wanted to have a Sony Michel/Nick Chubb type of year,” Wyatt said. “We just weren’t finished. It’s our last year, and we just knew we couldn’t leave. With the leaders we had in the room, we knew we could make something great.”
In Wyatt’s mind, Georgia didn’t have to wait long to figure out it had something great. When asked to discuss some of his favorite memories from his time at Georgia, he recalled the first game of the 2021 season, a 10-3 victory over Clemson.
Given the struggles the Tigers have had this season, that victory may not hold as much weight nationally as some had thought at one point. The win though carries significant weight for the members of this Georgia team.
“That first game of the season. That was the first game I knew we were going to be special,” Wyatt said. “I just knew it. All was just tied in together. We were all focused. When we won the game, how everybody connected.
“I saw it on everybody’s face how serious everybody was and how important it was. It was fun after the Clemson game.”
The Georgia defense firmly established itself as one of the best in recent college football memory starting with the win. Davis has earned legitimate Heisman recognition, while Wyatt has really boosted his NFL draft stock. He’s blocked a kick, notched 4.0 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks as well.
Echoing Wyatt’s sentiment, the Clemson game showed Kirby Smart just how dominant this Georgia defense could be. He too used the word special, though he was more discussing the players on his roster.
“When I first realized, it was the Clemson game. They were really good,” Smart said of his defensive staff. “You know our coaches on staff, Will (Muschamp) included, said it was just a really good front. He thought it was going to be special and he was right. He’s been around a lot of really good ones and seen them.
“It was just a combination of Jalen (Carter) growing up, those two coming back, Travon (Walker), Nolan (Smith) there’s just a lot of good players up there. That front has really helped us.”
When comparing the two, Davis is more level-headed whereas Wyatt is the fiery competitor. Sometimes that leads to Wyatt running hot and getting frustrated, as was the case against Tennessee. That game also saw Wyatt go down multiple times as he was dealing with a rib injury that made it difficult for him to breathe.
Yet despite the differences in personality, the two clearly have a tight bond. One that will transcend their time at Georgia.
“They both respect each other and love each other so much,” Smart said. They’ve grown to be really good friends and have very different backgrounds. They’re great competitors, they’ve been great for Georgia. Their decision to come back was probably the most impactful of everybody’s, because they probably had the highest grades of those juniors that came back because it’s so hard to find defensive linemen.
“Those guys coming back kind of put everything in motion.”
Chubb and Michel saw their senior seasons end in the national championship game with a loss to Alabama. Davis and Wyatt want to work together to exceed that and bring a championship to the University of Georgia.
To do so, the two defensive linemen will continue to push their teammates to the levels they know they can reach.
“When he [Jordan Davis] told me he was coming back because I had already made my decision, he told to just keep working, pushing the team, pushing the freshmen, sophomores, juniors,” Wyatt said. “Everybody bought into the plan and look where we are at now.”
Devonte Wyatt looking forward to ‘emotional’ senior day
More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation