ATHENS — Outgoing Georgia receiver Jayson Stanley is putting one of Kirby Smart’s catchphrases to use in his preparation for NFL workouts and UGA Pro Day.
“We focused with Coach Smart on keeping the main thing the main thing,” Stanley said, asked about how the program evolved during the final three years of his career.
“When it came to practice, it was taking it more serious every day, and making that transition to the game. Our practices got better.”
And Stanley, who developed into the ultimate team player, is applying that work ethic to his pre-draft workouts in Los Angeles.
Georgia had nine players invited to the NFL combine in Indianapolis, but Stanley and linebacker Natrez Patrick were notable exceptions.
That puts even more emphasis on their March 20 Pro Day performances in Athens.
The pro football teams already have the film.
The 6-foot-3, 207-pound Stanley played on all four special teams units for the Bulldogs, bringing the same energy to blocking and tackling as he did running routes and catching passes.
“Coach Smart installed that in my head,” Stanley said. “Why not play all four special teams? Why not knock people’s heads off blocking and being physical?”
Kickoff team, kick return, punt team and punt return, Stanley played on all of the units for the Bulldogs.
Stanley had only one catch last season — it went for a touchdown — but he showed his speed with four runs for 81 yards, including a key 34-yard burst in UGA’s pivotal win at Kentucky.
Stanley’s special teams prowess is a plus, and that along with his NFL prototype size and athleticism could earn the Fairburn, Ga., product a spot on a roster.
Stanley also offers whatever locker room he ends up in the mindset that has made Georgia’s receivers among the most respected in the SEC.
Smart makes it a point to emphasize physical play from the group, and that has led to their increased value as downfield blockers and special teams aces.
“You can’t tell us (receivers) we can’t do this or that on the football field, and we like proving people wrong,” Stanley said. “So when we do go out there on special teams, we have that pride. We like shutting people down as hold-up guys on gunners, we look at it like we’re cornerbacks.”
And every day, Stanley remembers where he came from, perhaps now more than ever with the next few months playing such a pivotal role in his professional future.
“I was raised by my parents to go hard at everything, no matter what,” Stanley said. “It doesn’t matter what you play, you have to have an impact.”