ATHENS – Because most of his brothers, uncles and cousins left college early to play pro football, most assume Georgia’s Kwame Geathers will follow a similar path.
Not necessarily, Geathers said Friday.
“It’s not right to assume at all,” said Geathers, a 6-foot-6, 355-pound junior from Georgetown, S.C. “They let me make my own decisions, so it’s up to me. Sometimes I feel like, ‘all right, break the tradition.’ They were all in college for three years. I’ve been here for four years already, so I feel like I’m already breaking it a little bit.”
The Bulldogs would definitely appreciate Geathers sticking around. They’re already going to lose John Jenkins and Abry Jones off the line. Junior linebackers Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree are expected to turn pro and a total of nine senior starters will be graduating off Georgia’s defense.
That will certainly leave a leadership void for next season.
I’d like to have that leadership role, to be a guy for the younger guys to look up to. . . . I’d love to have that role.
Meanwhile, Geathers is an extremely productive and versatile defensive lineman. In the second half of the season, he hardly came off the field as he rotated snaps between noseguard and defensive end. He had six tackles in the SEC Championship game against Alabama and finished the regular season with 58, plus eight quarterback pressures, a sack and 15 tackles for loss.
Geathers said he has consulted with his brothers, current NFL players Clifton and Robert Geathers, who advised him to fill out the evaluation paperwork for the NFL’s draft advisory process.
“I’m not sure what’s going to be on it, really,” Geathers said. “When I get it back I’ll see what’s on it and then we’ll go from there.”
Jarvis Jones not ready to declare
Meanwhile, it’s a foregone conclusion that junior outside linebacker Jarvis Jones will be among the first few players chosen in the 2013 draft. But Jones wasn’t ready to make any declarations on Friday.
“Man, that’s a big question,” he said when asked directly if he was ready to declare. “I try not to think about it, but it’s coming. I haven’t even talked to Coach (Todd) Grantham about it or none of my people about it, so I’m not giving any answers yet.”
On Friday, Jones was named an All-American by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). That makes him a consensus first-team All-American for the second year in a row.
Meanwhile, last week he was on a whirlwind U.S. tour attending banquets for national awards for which he was a finalist, including the Lombardi, Butkus, Bednarik and Nagurski trophies. But he contends there is still much he wants to do in Athens.
“I want to graduate,” said Jones, who couldn’t do that until next summer. “I’d have to come back another year to do that. I want to continue to play football here. At the same time, I want to go to the next level. So I’m just weighing my options, you know, and see how that works out. I haven’t made a decision yet.”
Etc. . . .
Junior right guard Chris Burnette was inadvertently left off Georgia’s list of football players who walked in graduation ceremonies on Friday. . . . Georgia practiced for 90 minutes in shorts and shoulder pads Friday. It was the third of 15 practices before the Jan. 1 Capital One Bowl against Nebraska. “The guys had very good energy and got after each other a little bit,” Richt said. “It got heated up a little bit and that energized the day. Afterward, we ran them hard and they all ran their times. It was a pretty good day.”