ATHENS – Yes, Davin Bellamy heard what Leonard Floyd said at Pro Day. Couldn’t help but hear. Floyd’s pronouncement that Bellamy “might be better than me” was blasted out into the DawgNation universe like streaking comet.
And while Bellamy appreciated that statement, he doesn’t necessarily buy into it entirely.
“I think he said that to kind of get me going a little bit,” said Bellamy, a rising junior from Chamblee. “It’s kind of some reverse psychology going on.”
Floyd, of course, projects as a first-round pick in next month’s NFL Draft. And fellow outside linebacker prospect Jordan Jenkins also is expected to be an early-round pick.
And if all goes to plan, Bellamy and Lorenzo Carter eventually will be, too. They’re not thinking about that now. At the moment they’re just thinking about trying to carry on the legacy of their position, which is considerable.
“We’ve just got to prepare hard,” Bellamy said following the Bulldogs’ late-ending practice Thursday night. “Like I say, those guys are one-in-a-million guys. So it’s not so much trying to go out there and replace what they did. We’re going to go out there and work as hard and kind of let everything else take care of itself. I don’t think it will be a big dr0p-off. The guys that are here now have been waiting and learning and working hard for this moment.”
Bellamy certainly looks the part of his predecessors. He’s 6 feet 5 inches and a solid 241 pounds, if not more. He’s not certain he can clock a 4.5, like Floyd can do. But he does believe he has the knowledge and the measurables to not only get the job done, but truly excel.
The same goes for Lorenzo Carter, a fellow junior who at 6 feet 6 inches, 242, at least physically looks to be Floyd’s equal. And those two aren’t alone in bringing promise to the position. Senior Chuks Amaechi and sophomore D’Andre Walker are both seasoned players as well.
The fact that their position coach, Kevin Sherrer, is back and the Bulldogs’ defense has hardly changed at all only bolsters the OLB’s confidence that they can carry on a tradition that has been consistently outstanding since Justin Houston was manning the position in 2009.
“That group of guys in that room right now has been together for a long time, including Coach Sherrer,” Bellamy said. “Things we do on the field haven’t changed that much. So right now we’re just trying to really perfect our position. Me and Zo are kind of older guys that have been around the block now. It’s crazy that we’re saying that now, but we’re just trying to perfect our position.”
Bellamy, a former 4-star recruit, has been biding his time to stand permanently in the limelight. Slowed by injuries early in his career, Bellamy started to show flashes last season as he came on the field with the No. 1 unit in run-defense situations. It was his strip of Jalen Hurd last season that led to Floyd’s 96-yard fumble-return touchdown. He’d finish the season with 33 tackles, three sacks and nine quarterback pressures.
Now, after biding his time, Bellamy is expected to be on the field in every situation. And he’s ready for it.
“Oh, definitely, definitely,” Bellamy said. “I definitely feel prepared, definitely feel ready. Sometimes you’ve got to humble yourself. You can’t look at where you’re at right there; you’ve got to look down the line to the future. I knew if I learned from these guys for two or three years my sky would be the limit.”
Floyd definitely thinks so.