As we speculated early Thursday morning on the Daily Dawg Thread, Jordan Davis announced his decision to return to the Georgia Bulldogs for the 2021 season. This move cannot be overstated in terms of importance to the Georgia defense and team as a whole. Jordan Davis is a true 2-Gap player, athletic enough to make plays like he did in the Peach Bowl blocking a kick, and he’s a tremendous leader with an infectious smile and attitude. Davis is easily one of the biggest pieces that Georgia is getting back, both literally and figuratively, but there is a group of players on UGA’s roster that will directly benefit the most from big Jordan’s return.
Nakobe Dean, Quay Walker, Channing Tindall, Rian Davis, Trezman Marshall, and Jamon Dumas-Johnson comprise that group. Georgia’s inside linebacking core is going to have their on-field lives made a lot easier by the attention that Davis will command and the amounts of space and humanity he’ll occupy along the offensive front. O-line coaches and offensive coordinators will have to plan double teams on Davis in the run game and with his strength and athleticism, Davis is able to get penetration and prevent the natural progression of the double team to the second level of the defense. Because of the size and talent of Davis, the inside linebacking core lacking in experience will be running free to the ball, a lot.
All of the players in this group can run really well. Lacking the a plethora of experience, excluding Nakobe Dean, being able to reaction and run to the ball uninhibited is a big deal. Quay Walker and Channing Tindall in particular are also excellent interior pass rushers. There are ways that Jordan Davis can and is used by Dan Lanning and Kirby Smart to impact pass protections and allows Dean, Walker, Tindall, and even Adam Anderson or a safety lined up inside to run free to the quarterback. Sometimes this occurs on a “dog blitz”, meaning the player that the inside linebacker is responsible for in man coverage of some form or another blocks or does not go out for a pass, so the linebacker rushing the quarterback. Delayed blitzes like this are often made by the efforts up front and, to go along with his immense talent, Jordan Davis gives great effort.
All the relatively inexperienced inside linebackers will get an increased workload during the offseason and spring practice. Nakobe Dean just had a torn labrum surgically repair and will be sidelined until the late spring, early summer. The group will have time to learn and come into their own, but the learning curve will definitely be flattened with Jordan Davis keeping blockers away from the ILBs.