ATHENS — Several former Georgia players will hear their name called in the 2021 NFL Draft, which begins on April 29. DawgNation will profile potential UGA draftees leading up to the NFL selection process as a part of our Dawgs in the Draft series. Today’s entry will focus on Monty Rice.
Monty Rice led historic defense
Rice led a historically good Georgia defense in 2019 with 89 tackles from his middle linebacker position.
WATCH: Monty Rice opens up about UGA leadership
That UGA unit led the nation in rushing defense and scoring defense, ranked second in yards allowed per play, third in total defense and eighth in pass efficiency defense. The Bulldogs didn’t allow a rushing touchdown in 2019 until the 10th game of the season.
Monty Rice played through injury
Rice suffered a foot injury the week of practice leading up to the Bulldogs game at Alabama in Week Four. Rice received treatment twice a day and often wore a protective boot between games the remainder of the season, the training staff doing what it could to mitigate the injury.
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Rice, with his snaps somewhat limited, still finished third on the team with 49 tackles in the nine games he played. Rice opted out of the bowl and attended the Senior Bowl but did not participate, wanting his injured foot to heal so he could compete at Pro Day.
Monty Rice coach’s choice
Rice impressed at Georgia Pro Day, running a 4.57-second time in the 40-yard dash at 6-foot, 238 pounds. Coach Kirby Smart handpicked Rice for a leadership role, making him a game captain his sophomore season (2018). Said Smart, “Monty is a businessman. He’s not cutting up, messing around at practice. He’s very serious about what he does. He’s got a purpose about him.”