MOBILE, Ala. — Georgia football captain Jonathan Ledbetter was leading the way at the Senior Bowl South team’s opening practice on Tuesday afternoon.
Ledbetter, who officially measured in at 6-foot-3 and 271 pounds earlier in the day, left the Ladd-Peebles Stadium practice field with his jersey ripped as a result of the fierce action.
The intensity will pick up even more when the South plays the North in the annual Reese’s Senior Bowl all-star game at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday (TV: NFL Network).
“It felt great just getting back out here competing, honestly that’s what I’ve been wanting, that’s why I came here to showcase my talent against the best of the best,” Ledbetter told DawgNation.
“Obviously, you can see we’ve been going to work, the jersey is a little ripped up, but first-day jitters are out of the body, man, and I’m ready to watch the tape and get back to work again.”
Ledbetter performed as Senior Bowl executive director and former Seattle Seahawks scout Jim Nagy suggested he would on Monday, based off the Georgia practice Nagy attended last fall.
“He’s so combative, he plays hard, he jumped out on the practice field at Georgia — and Kirby and those guys really coach those guys hard,” Nagy said, “so it’s not like he’s at a place where there’s not good effort — and he still stood out.”
Ledbetter is getting coached up at the Senior Bowl by San Francisco 49ers pass rush specialist Chris Kiffin, the younger bother of Lane Kiffin.
Chris Kiffin was at Ole Miss when Ledbetter came out of Tucker High School, and actually tried to recruit him to the Rebels.
“We’re running a lot of the same stuff that Georgia ran — he’s been using me a lot for examples because I know a lot of the stuff and I’m familiar with it,” Ledbetter said. “I’m honored to be able to put my talents on display here and help the other guys learn the techniques and fundamentals.”
Ledbetter and the other Senior Bowl players are getting tested off the field — quite literally — just as much.
“It’s been busy, it’s a big job interview, I think last night I got to sleep about 12:20, I got done with the psych test close to midnight, and I started it at 8:30,” Ledbetter said. “I’m embracing it, I’m enjoying it, I’m blessed to be here. It’s a big opportunity a lot of guys wish they could have.”
Ledbetter said his mindset is the same as when he arrived in Mobile on Sunday.
“I just came here to dominate,” Ledbetter said. “I came here to compete, and just work and do my best, fly around to the ball and show these coaches what I’m about.”
The North and South teams will return to practice on Wednesday.
Georgia football captain Jonathan Ledbetter