UGA coach Kirby Smart issued a statement on Friday evening about the four underclassmen who announced earlier that they were leaving the Bulldogs early for the NFL. They are running back Elijah Holyfield, receiver Riley Ridley, tight end Isaac Nauta, and receiver Mecole Hardman.
“We wish the best to Mecole Hardman, Elijah Holyfield, Isaac Nauta and Riley Ridley as they pursue their careers at the next level. All four of these juniors contributed significantly to our success during the last two seasons and we look forward to them making the best out of their shot at the NFL. As with all our players, we also will encourage them to complete their degrees to get prepared for the next chapter of their lives.”
Perhaps the good news is that Smart didn’t mention any other UGA underclassmen that were reportedly considering an early jump to the NFL. Bulldog fans are still awaiting word on some other juniors, including safety J.R. Reed.
Then again, eligible players have until Jan. 14 to decide on the NFL.
Smart did not make a statement on two other UGA players who will also be leaving the program, via a transfer. Quarterback Justin Fields is headed to Ohio State, while tight end Luke Ford will be going home to Illinois.