Four Leaders Helping to Shape 2022 Identity

Home >

Four Leaders Helping to Shape 2022 Identity

Sedrick Van Pran (63)

With the National Championship in the rearview, the Georgia Bulldogs move forward and prepare for the 2022 season. A large portion of that preparation will be spent addressing the inevitable losses that come with such a victory in the departure of players through the NFL Draft and the transfer portal. With so many old faces out the door, it makes way for the new faces coming in. Players who weren’t granted the opportunity before now have the chance to take on bigger and better roles in this team. These won’t be the same Dawgs we saw in 2021. 2022 will display a new identity for Kirby Smart and his Bulldogs. An identity instilled by leaders who are already standing out in the offseason.

It took a week or two, but when asked who he saw emerging as leaders during spring practice Kirby mentioned a handful of names. Four of them stood out: Sedrick Van Pran, Kearis Jackson, Kelee Ringo, and Nolan Smith.





#1 – Sedrick Van Pran

Van Pran, who plays center, is a redshirt sophomore from Louisiana. He started every game at center for the Dawgs in 2021. In just two years with the team he’s already a leader on the offensive line and should already be considered a battle-tested vet. Having spent all last season in the trenches, he’s shown that he has what it takes to consistently compete at a high level and looks to step into a larger leadership role as seniors Jamaree Salyer and Justin Shaffer move on to the NFL. In interviews, Van Pran showed that he was a high character guy deserving of the respect and praise he’s managed to earn from Coach Smart and the team. He was well spoken and was noticeably careful when choosing his words. He understands that what he says has repercussions, if not thought out correctly. He was also very humble. Van Pran said that he was over the National Championship the Wednesday morning he went back to classes. He knows 2021 is in the past, and he’s grinding to lead his team to another one in 2022.

Van Pran offers a stoic type of leadership to this team. The kind that encourages his teammates to keep their heads down and persevere. Nothing seems to get to him. He’s a zero complaints, zero excuses kind of guy.





#2 – Kearis Jackson

Kearis Jackson is a fifth year wide receiver from Fort Valley, Georgia. Jackson finds most of his contribution on special teams as a punt returner, but has found success as a patch catcher when his number is called. In his third season, he put up over 500 yards receiving, but was unable to replicate such production during this season because of injury. Regardless of whether or not he was on the field, Kearis Jackson ensured that his presence was felt.

According to his teammates, Jackson has been a leader on the team for a long time. He’s known for being a great supporter of his teammates, getting just as excited when they make plays as he would his own. He’s an uplifting spirit who seeks to maintain the morale of this group. It’s obvious Kearis Jackson wants to be there for his brothers. Jackson does this through engaging in camaraderie and showing support. He’s a lighthearted guy who keeps his head up, no matter the situation. The kind of guy you can look to for a smile when the going gets tough. His positive personality will be crucial for the Dawgs’ morale during this upcoming season.

#3 – Kelee Ringo

Hailing all the way from Tacoma, Washington is defensive back Kelee Ringo. You know the name, and you know his game. The redshirt sophomore will go down in Georgia history for his game-sealing pick-six, or what fans have begun to call his “Chip 6,” in the National Title game earlier this year. When mentioned in interviews, the memory still puts a smile on Kelee’s face, but the young corner knows that epic moment is in the past. Now, the memory adds to his confidence and inspires him to continue to improve both on and off the field.

Kelee is a humble leader who isn’t afraid to speak on his mistakes. His honesty displays a layer of vulnerability that fans don’t often get to see when he has the pads on. In his two years at the University of Georgia, he’s managed to make a large impact and has gained valuable experience in the process. As 2022 season approaches, Kelee will already be an old head in that locker room. His level headedness has further garnered him wisdom that he seeks to share through communication and teaching. With him at the helm of the defensive back room, expect nothing short of excellence from that group.

#4 – Nolan Smith

Known for being the best player in his high school recruiting class, senior outside linebacker Nolan Smith is still striving to live up to all that hype. You can’t put blame on him though. It almost feels like he’s been searching for an opportunity that this next season will provide, and with six of the front seven leaving, don’t expect him to disappoint. Nolan appears to be very vocal, and you can see it during practice too. With Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt leaving, it gives way for Nolan to display his personality, and shifts the weight of the team onto his shoulders.

Simply put, Nolan Smith has that “it” factor you want in a star. With an electric personality and a strong head on his shoulders, he’s more than ready to step up. Bulldog faithful can count on that he will be as big an impact in the locker room as he will be on the field. Nolan wants to be a leader and looks forward to the responsibility, hoping that one day he can be remembered as one of the Georgia greats.





share content