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Jordan Davis leads parade for Georgia awards trio, named finalist for Outland Trophy

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Georgia defensive lineman Jordan Davis (99) after the Bulldogs’ game against Charleston Southern on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. Davis was made an honorary red coat member. (Photo by Mackenzie Miles)
Mackenzie Miles

ATHENS — Jordan Davis emerged as one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy on Tuesday, more evidence the face of the Georgia football program is quickly becoming a household name.

Davis was the only UGA position player named to the Associated Press preseason All-SEC first team, and he’s backing it up.

RELATED: Jordan Davis anchors ‘No-Name Defense’ for Georgia

The Outland Trophy recognizes the best lineman — offense or defense — in college football.

The 6-foot-6, 345-pound Davis, who anchors the defensive front for the No. 1-ranked Bulldogs, is also one of three finalists for the Nagurski Award that goes to the nation’s best defensive player.

Indeed, many refer to it as the “Defensive Heisman,” as the real Heisman Trophy is commonly dominated by offensive players, this year proving no exception.

Heisman Hype

Georgia quarterback JT Daniels was the Heisman Trophy favorite at the start of the season but an upper-body injury sidelined him after the Vanderbilt contest for three games. Daniels has appeared in two of four games since being cleared.

RELATED: JT Daniels Heisman favorite, Kirby ready for explosive offense

Indeed, Davis has just 23 tackles and 2 sacks for the 11-0 Bulldogs entering the final game of the season at noon on Saturday against Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

Nakobe Dean Butkus Finalist

Smart stumped for Nakobe Dean this week, who is a finalist for the Butkus Award.

Dean, like Davis, is part of a rotation at his position and doesn’t have the same sort of statistics as others.

RELATED: Nakobe Dean ‘everything a linebacker should be’ gets recognition

Alabama linebacker Will Anderson, the 2020 FWAA Freshman of the year, is Davis’ biggest challenge for the Nagurski Award and Dean’s biggest challenge among the finalists.

Anderson, from Hampton, Ga., leads the nation with 24 tackles for loss among his 79 tackles and has 12.5 sacks.

Dean has 50 tackles, 7 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks.

“If the award is based on statistics and number of snaps, shame on the award,” Smart said. “That’s not what it’s about. It’s supposed to go to the best linebacker in the country.

“I’ve been very fortunate to coach guys before that have won that, at multiple places. Dean’s in that same category of guys.”

Stetson Bennett rising stardom

Stetson Bennett, who has engineered the Bulldogs’ ground-and-pound, play-action attack, was featured by SEC Nation last Saturday and is line to bring home an individual trophy.

RELATED: Bennett confident, ‘I just believe I’m the best guy out there’

Smart took a rare moment last week to champion the Burlsworth Trophy, which goes to the best player in college football that began their career as a walk-on. Bennett is the clear-cut favorite to win the award among the three finalists.

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