Kirby Smart holds off discussing NFL with Georgia juniors
ATHENS — There were no surprises on the list of players who will be recognized by Georgia this Saturday for Senior Day. That doesn’t mean the attrition won’t happen after that.
Twenty players, including scholarships and walk-ons, will be honored before the Georgia Tech game. It could also be the final home game for some high-profile other players, should they elect to enter the NFL draft.
But head coach Kirby Smart said his discussion with those players won’t happen until next week at the earliest.
“I think there’s a time and a place for that that you talk about it, and the time and the place is after this game,” Smart said. “Before the bowl game, we visit and sit down and talk to guys, and that’s not the goal or the important thing to those players, either. I think the most important thing to them is doing it right for the seniors, and then there will be a time and a place to visit that and gather information and educate them on the process, but also help them with information that they are not privy to right now so that they can make the best decision moving forward.”
Star tailback Nick Chubb has said he is uncertain if he will turn pro after this season. Fellow tailback Sony Michel, also a junior, is another candidate to enter the NFL draft.
There are no surefire first-round picks on the roster – Chubb and Michel included – though a number of players are likely to at least seek feedback from the NFL on where they might be picked. Outside linebackers Lorenzo Carter and Davin Bellamy, safety Dominick Sanders and offensive guard Isaiah Wynn are draft-eligible.
Georgia has had non-seniors participate on Senior Day each of the past two years: Last year tailback Keith Marshall, who was a fourth-year junior, decided before the season ended that he would turn pro, and ended up being a seventh-round pick of the Washington Redskins. (Marshall has spent the entire season on injured reserve.) Two years ago offensive lineman Kolton Houston, who was unsure whether he would get a sixth year of eligibility, decided to be honored on Senior Day just in case. He ended up getting the sixth year, so he had the unusual distinction of being honored twice.
That could happen again this year: Receiver Kenneth Towns was honored last year, as he was graduating and leaning against not returning. But Towns ended up changing his mind, and although he hasn’t played this year because of injury, he is in line to be honored again.
There are often other lesser-profile players with eligibility remaining who are honored on Senior Day, as they elect to discontinue their football careers, or go somewhere else.
Here are the players and support staffers who will be honored by Georgia Saturday:
Players LB Chukwuma (Chuks) Amaechi, Avondale, Ariz.; OT Tyler Catalina, Worcester, Mass.; FLK Reggie Davis, Tallahassee, Fla.; TB Brendan Douglas, Augusta, Ga.; FS Jonah Guinn, Walnut Grove, Ga.; WR Charles Hegedus, Marietta, Ga.; C Brandon Kublanow, Marietta, Ga.; QB Greyson Lambert, Jesup, Ga.; FB Kyle LeStrange, Milton, Ga.; OLB Tommy Long, Marietta, Ga.; FS Quincy Mauger, Marietta, Ga.; OLB Johnny O’Neal, Dublin, Ga.; PK Thomas Pritchard, Louisville, Ga.; OG Greg Pyke, Baltimore, Md.; ILB Ryne Rankin, Orlando, Fla.; C Billy Seward, Watkinsville, Ga.; DB Maurice Smith, Sugar Land, Texas; SE Kenneth Towns, Albany, Ga.; ILB Ridge Underwood, Moultrie, Ga. and FB Glenn Welch, Jesup, Ga.
Video assistants Palmer Daws, Macon, Ga.; Joshua James, Elberton, Ga. and Frank Martin, Tucker, Ga.
Equipment managers Austin Bentley, Ellaville, Ga.; Silas Ledford, Dalton, Ga.; B.J. Rowland, Dalton, Ga.; Taylor Teague, Carrollton, Ga. and Jake Tench, Habersham County, Ga.
Senior student assistants Brett Jeffares, Peachtree City, Ga., and Adam Ray, Ringgold, Ga.