Jordan Davis best captures a ‘forever legendary’ Georgia football team, celebration

January 15, 2022 Athens - Georgia's defensive lineman Jordan Davis (99) shows his hidden Braves jersey under his shirt as he speaks on the stage during the celebration of Georgia’s College Football Playoff national championship at Sanford Stadium in Athens on Saturday, January 15, 2022. Georgia captured the national championship, its first since the 1980 season, with a 33-18 victory over Alabama at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

ATHENS — There was a lot of talk on Saturday about all it took to build Georgia’s 2021 National Championship team. Perhaps there’s no better example of that process than Jordan Davis.

Davis, the mammoth senior defensive tackle and Outland and Bednarik Award winner, was the last Georgia player to address the Sanford Stadium crowd. He spoke about his humble beginnings and all that went into becoming one of the best players on the best team in the country.

From unheralded 3-star recruit, who was admittedly nervous when he first arrived on campus in 2018, to the face of a championship team.

“It’s everything,” Davis said of his time in Athens. “A kid from Charlotte, North Carolina. Not that big of a recruit, feeling a little nervous coming in. Dawg Nation embraced me with open arms. And for that, I am forever grateful.

“This is something nobody can ever take away from us. We are forever legendary. So to all of Dawg nation, we love you.”

Statistically speaking, Davis didn’t post the kind of numbers worth remembering. Such is life when you’re a 6-foot-6, 350-pound beaver dam in the middle of the defense, clogging up opposing offenses. Davis though still created a number of special moments during his senior season.

The season-opening win in his hometown of Charlotte. His touchdown against Charleston Southern. A top-10 finish in Heisman Trophy voting. Directing the band after a Senior Day victory.

And for good measure, Davis created one more great moment on Saturday. As he made his closing remarks, Davis lifted his College Football Playoff hoodie to reveal a Braves jersey underneath. He might be from North Carolina, but he’s clearly adapted to Georgia’s culture.

“It’s special. this moment, sitting in this stadium, I look back and wind the clock to 11, 12 months ago. Scaling the stadium stairs,” offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer said. “That dirty, hard work in the dark that coach Smart knows what I’m talking about. It’s real. It gave us these results.”

Davis admitted often he needed those runs. In a press conference just two days before Georgia’s 33-18 win over Alabama, Davis told reporters he was going to go for a run after wrapping up his obligations. The senior defensive tackle constantly battled his weight and conditioning levels while in college. Monday’s victory seemed to show he won that battle as a member of the Bulldogs.

Georgia will now have to do the impossible in trying to replace Davis. In some ways that can’t be done, as there just aren’t many humans like Davis readily available. Both from a football standpoint but also on a personal one as well.

Davis was the face and voice of the 2021 Georgia football team. It’s a fitting finale for someone who smiled so often and brought joy to so many others, got to do so one last time.

Every ending is someone else’s beginning. Because of all that Davis did for Georgia, the Bulldogs will be in a better place moving forward. One where they probably won’t be waiting 41 years for their next championship.

“A new standard of excellence has been set,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “We expect to hold that same standard for a long time to come at UGA. That brings me to this point, and this is how it ended: We’re burnin’ the boats baby, we’re coming back.”

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