ATHENS — It’s been considered a probability, almost a foregone conclusion, that this would be Leonard Floyd’s final season at Georgia. Then again, that was the assumption last year too.
When Floyd unexpectedly decided to end his self-imposed media silence on Monday, it was worth wondering whether he had an announcement coming. The answer was no. The junior outside linebacker is still undecided, he claimed, but a decision could be coming as soon as next week.
“I’m gonna definitely talk to what I call my circle, which is my people that I trust the most,” Floyd said. “I plan on talking to them probably after the Tech game. Probably that following week we’ll start making my decision.”
That inner circle is a group of “about five or six people,” who he wouldn’t name. (“People from home, people from here, people from up north.”) Floyd indicated that defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt wasn’t part of it, though Pruitt “definitely will play a part.”
Floyd is rated the No. 17 overall prospect in the 2016 draft, per CBSsports.com, and the third-best outside linebacker. Floyd also turned 23 in September, so if he came back to Georgia for his senior year he would be potentially be an NFL rookie at the age of 25.
His age, Floyd acknowledged, is a major reason that people would be surprised if he came back for his senior season.
“Yeah, they probably would be surprised,” Floyd said. “But you never know. Some people do it for more than just going to the league. Some people just love college, love playing college football. But I don’t know, I haven’t made my decision yet.”
So what would be the reason to come back? A championship, Floyd said, something clearly out of reach this season.
“That’s the only reason that people consider coming back,” he said.
Last year a shoulder injury, which required offseason surgery, may have played a part. Floyd has been healthy this year, though hasn’t put up quite the eye-popping numbers many expected. Still, his 4.5 sacks and 11 tackles-for-loss lead the Bulldogs, while his 67 tackles stands second on the team behind inside linebacker Jake Ganus.
On Monday, Floyd was named one of five finalists for the Butkus award, given to the nation’s top linebacker. Floyd admitted he was “shocked” to hear that.
“I usually start off on the list then they take me off,” he said. “But I’m glad to be in the top five.”