ATHENS — Georgia could have the most talented defense of the Kirby Smart Era, according to former UGA quarterback Aaron Murray.

Murray, speaking with Georgia football fan favorite “Dirty” Dan Jackson during a Player’s Lounge interview, pointed to having talent coming back throughout the lineup.

“I think it’s going to be maybe the most talented defense Georgia has had in the past three years,” Murray said. “Which is kind of scary with everyone back at all three levels.”

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The Bulldogs figure to have five players off last season’s defensive selected in the NFL Draft, with Jalen Carter, Nolan Smith and Kelee Ringo potential first-round picks, and safety Chris Smith and outside linebacker Robert Beal also sure-fire selections.

Still, to Murray’s point, Jamon Dumas-Johnson and Smael Mondon give the Bulldogs arguably the best duo of inside linebackers returning in the nation.

Defensive end Mykel Williams safety Malaki Starks are expected to build off their FWAA Freshman All-American seasons as well, giving UGA star power at all three levels.

Jackson, who continues his comeback from the season-ending foot injury (stress fracture) he suffered last October, confirmed the reloaded Bulldogs are off to a good start through four spring practices.

“Saturday was our first day in full pads, and if we keep having practices like that, it’s going to be really good,” Jackson said.

“We’ve got the talent, and if we can continue to get more guys, like these younger guys bought in, the sky is the limit in my opinion.”

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The Bulldogs are losing one of the leaders of the defense in All-American Chris Smith along with All-SEC cornerback Kelee Ringo.

But Jackson sees good things happening under the direction of second-year defensive backs coach Fran Brown.

“You’re starting to feel that connection in the DB group,” Jackson said, adding that all of the returning classmen are locked in.

As for the celebrated incoming class of defensive backs, Jackson confirmed good things are happening.

“It’s still really early, but …. Justyn Rhett, Joenel (Aguero) and then o have AJ Harris, all three of those guys looked good Saturday,” Jackson said. “Then we have Deyon (Smoke Bouie), all four of those guys have been looking really good.”

Jackson hopes to get back on the field soon, himself, as he has worked his way up to running on the sideline while adding 10 pounds of muscle to his frame and providing leadership.

“I’ve been able to help walk throughs and grabbing scripts,” Jackson said. “Not actually taking the reps, but trying to get those young guys locked in.”

Georgia will hold its fifth spring practice today (Thursday) leading up to the annual G-Day Game on April 15 at Sanford Stadium.

Georgia all-time passing leaders (yards)

Aaron Murray 13,166

David Greene 11,528

Eric Zeier 11,154

Stetson Bennett, 8,428

Georgia all-time TD passes

Aaron Murray 121

Jake Fromm 78

David Greene 72

Eric Zeier 67

Georgia all-time QB wins leaders

David Greene 42

Jake Fromm 37

Aaron Murray 36

Stetson Bennett 29