By now, you have probably heard or seen in the sporting news and on social media how Division II West Georgia had two players drafted to the University of Georgia’s one in this year’s 2017 NFL Draft which concluded on Saturday. While that is very true, let’s set the record straight on why that was.
West by God Georgia has more NFL draft picks than Georgia
— Mark Schlabach (@Mark_Schlabach) April 29, 2017
At the end of the 2016 regular college football season, there was much speculation on which underclassmen for Georgia would forgo their senior seasons and declare for the NFL Draft. The Bulldogs had quite a few candidates in running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel and linebackers Davin Bellamy, Lorenzo Carter, and Reggie Carter along with defensive back Dominick Sanders and wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie. It was expected by many fans and pundits that both Nick Chubb and Sony Michel would declare for the draft given the short life expectancy of running backs when it comes to the sport and there was a good possibility that Bellamy and Lo. Carter would follow suit.
However, Bulldawg Nation got an early Christmas present. D. Bellamy, Lo. Carter, N. Chubb and S. Michel all announced they would be returning to play for the University of Georgia between the hedges for their senior seasons in a press conference with Head Coach Kirby Smart on Wednesday, December 14th.
Just a couple of weeks later, after the Bulldogs’ defeated TCU in the Liberty Bowl 31-23 on December 30th, Dominick Sanders also announced his decision to return for his senior season. The only player out of those six potential juniors to declare early for the NFL draft was Isaiah McKenzie. The ‘Human Joystick’ was selected by the Denver Broncos in the 5th round with the 172nd overall pick.
That makes McKenzie the only player drafted from UGA out of 253 picks in this year’s 2017 NFL Draft, but what if D. Bellamy, Lo. Carter, R. Carter, N. Chubb, S. Michel, and D. Sanders had also declared for the NFL Draft? While I can only speculate on whether or not all six of those players would have also been drafted, there is a good chance that at least three to four of those six if not all of them could have been selected. So the Bulldogs potentially could have had four to as many as seven players drafted in that scenario. That would compare to the five players Georgia had selected in last year’s 2016 draft.
@ESPNStatsInfo Georgia only had 3 in the draft after many elected to return. Could have 6-8 drafted next year.
— Patrick Schmidt (@PatrickASchmidt) April 29, 2017
Of course, there is also another reason why Georgia had just the one draft pick and that would have to do with the attrition that occurred on the Bulldogs’ football team from their 2013 recruiting class. It is that 2013 group that would have made up the majority of Georgia’s 2016 senior class.
UGA FOOTBALL’S 2013 RECRUITING CLASS
John Atkins – DT | Returning to play for UGA for 2017 as a fifth-year senior.
Davin Bellamy – OLB | Returning to play for UGA for 2017 as a fifth-year senior.
Paris Bostick – S | Transferred
Aulden Bynum – OL/TE | Returning to play for UGA for 2017 as a fifth-year senior.
Reggie Carter – ILB | Returning to play for UGA for 2017 as a fifth-year senior.
Josh Cardiello – OG | Transferred
Kennar Daniels-Johnson – CB | Transferred
Reggie Davis – WR | Played in 49 games, started 9, from 2013-2016.
Brendan Douglas – RB | Played in 49 games, started 1, from 2013-2016.
Leonard Floyd – OLB | Declared for the NFL drafted at the end of the 2016 season. Picked 9th overall by Chicago.
Shaquille Fluker – S | Transferred
J.J. Green – CB/RB | Transferred
Tim Kimbrough – ILB | Transferred
Brandon Kublanow – C | Played in 48 games, started 39, from 2013-2016.
D’Andre Johnson – DT | Transferred
Rico Johnson – WR | Medically Disqualified
Toby Johnson – DT | Played in 23 games, made 4 starts as a JUCO transfer from 2013-2014.
Brendan Langley – CB | Transferred
Uriah Lemay – WR | Transferred
Tray Matthews – S | Transferred
Quincy Mauger – S | Played in 52 games, started 27, from 2013-2016.
Chris Mayes – DT | Played in 30 games, made 9 starts as a So. transfer from 2013-2015.
Shaun McGee – OLB | Transferred
Johnny O’Neal – ILB | Played in 17 games from 2013-2016.
Brice Ramsey – QB/P | Transferred
Ryne Rankin – ILB | Played in 44 games, mainly special teams, from 2013-2016.
Jonathon Rumph – WR | Played in 10 games as a JUCO transfer from 2013-2014.
Tramel Terry – WR | Transferred
A.J. Turman – RB | Transferred
Shaq Wiggins – CB | Transferred
Reggie Wilkerson – CB | Transferred
Out of the 31 players that Georgia signed for 2013, sixteen transferred. That is over half of the recruiting class. That left the Bulldogs pretty young for the 2016 college football season. Only 4 seniors out of the 23 starters on offense and defense, 25 if you include the kicker and punter. Couple that with the fact that only one underclassman declared for the draft, Georgia just didn’t have that many players from which NFL teams could pick from.
And while the fans of the rivals of Georgia may poke fun and rib the Bulldogs for having only one draft pick for 2017, I would say to you out there, pile it on while you have the chance because 21 of 25 starters for the Dogs return for 2017 led by seniors John Atkins, Davin Bellamy, Lorenzo Carter, Reggie Carter, Nick Chubb, Aaron Davis, Sony Michel, Dominick Sanders, and Isaiah Wynn. To those wagging their finger and laughing, you may have wished Georgia had more draft picks in the 2017 draft by the time it is all said and done.
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