ATHENS — Georgia football is all about finishing the 2020 season with momentum, but the Bulldogs might just be starting on the makings of a championship squad in 2021.
UGA senior defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt, perhaps the most underrated defensive tackle in the SEC, is expected to return for another season per a response to a Hula Bowl Tweet from Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy.
The Hula Bowl is excited to invite Devonte Wyatt @datboi_vontae from the University of Georgia to come and showcase his talent at the 2021 Hula Bowl in Hawaii!!#hulabowl #hawaii #CollegeFootball pic.twitter.com/RFMvfeYjCr
— Hula Bowl (@Hula_Bowl) December 23, 2020
Wyatt is an athletic 6-foot-3, 315-pound defensive tackle from Decatur who has started all nine games and is the leading tackler among the interior defensive linemen with 21 stops.
Wyatt led the interior defensive linemen with 30 tackles as a junior, and he was second on the team with 27 QB Pressures in 2019.
Georgia is expected to lose talent in the secondary with cornerbacks Eric Stokes, Tyson Campbell and DJ Daniel expected to declare for the 2021 NFL Draft, along with safety Richard LeCounte.
But hope has been building that 6-foot-6, 330-pound nose tackle Jordan Davis may return for a senior season, which paired with Wyatt would give the Bulldogs arguably the most dominant interior defensive line in the nation.
Both players would be making business decisions to return to UGA, looking to improve their NFL draft stock while competing for yet another championship.
Coach Kirby Smart has encouraged his players to get all of the information that they can about their draft stock, and worked to counsel them on the benefit of staying in school until they can attain elite NFL draft status.
“The best value they can get is to go as high as possible in the draft which ensures longevity in the NFL,” Smart said. “That’s the ultimate factor—how long can you stay up there. You can stay up there longer the higher you are picked.”
Neither Davis nor Wyatt were listed among the top 10 defensive tackles by ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr.
Bulldogs senior Julian Rochester might also be in the mix for another season after suffering a torn ACL in Georgia’s 14-3 win over Kentucky on Oct. 31.
Georgia has other key players who could enter the 2021 NFL Draft and likely be selected or return for another season to raise their stock,
Quarterback JT Daniel is expected to return for another year, while offensive linemen Jamaree Salyer and Justin Shaffer are thought to be considering it.
In addition to Davis and Rochester, Georgia defensive back Mark Webb could be reconsidering his options to return for another season and assume a leadership role in the secondary.
Smart has been high on Webb throughout his career, but Webb had a tough season with just 21 tackles and one interception, dropping a couple of other big-play opportunities, most notably late in the 44-28 loss to Florida.
Smart has yet to release which players are expected to participate in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl game leading up to the noon game on Jan. 1 in Mercedes-Benz Stadium.