The NFL Draft is the one night a year where a player’s life can change by just one announcement.
Claude Felton, senior associate athletic director of The University of Georgia said, “Most players that want to go to these big schools dream of being in the NFL.”
Georgia football set a number of records in the 2022 NFL Draft. 15 players were drafted from the University, making this the highest number of players selected from a single school in the seven-round draft history. Additionally, Georgia set the record for the most defensive players drafted from a single school in the first round.
Key Georgia players such as Travon Walker, Jordan Davis, Nakobe Dean, Lewis Cine and many others were drafted by a NFL team. This worried many fans, who pondered over what the team will do next year without these Georgia stars.
“No matter how good a coach you are, if you don’t have the players, it’s going to be hard to get to where you want to go,” Felton said.
To solve this issue, Felton discussed head coach Kirby Smart’s main prioritization in the off season, recruiting. Recruiting is one of Georgia’s strengths. Smart mentioned that recruiting is 50% of his job. Especially after the 2022 National Championship game, high school boys dream of playing at a top performing university.
“Those 15 guys that got drafted, there was a time when no one had heard of them either,” Felton said while discussing accurate recruiting.
While most players’ main goal is to declare for the NFL Draft, not every player chooses that path. College football players are allowed to declare for the draft as early as their junior year of college. This has been the case for many Georgia alumni such as Herschel Walker, Sony Michel and Nick Chubb.
However, it’s still normal to see players stay for their fourth year and get a degree or have one more chance to enjoy their time in college. In this upcoming season, Nolan Smith, Willam Poole, Stetson Bennett and many others will be making their way back between the hedges one last time.
“Some guys wanted to stay their whole four years and graduate, but a lot of guys knew when it was time for them to go and chase their dream,” said Julian Rochester, former defensive lineman at the University of Georgia.
The Draft will forever remain one of the most historic nights in football. A so-called late pick in the 6th round could end up winning the Super Bowl and breaking countless records. Playing on the Georgia football team does not just mean putting on pads and running on a field. It means being a part of a family and doing whatever it takes to help your team succeed.
The 15 players that were drafted in the 2022 draft will achieve great accomplishments on their respective teams. Equally, Georgia fans will never forget the impact all of the players the team lost had on the program.
Georgia still has many young talented players on their roster as well, such as Brock Bowers and Kelee Ringo. Needless to say, the Georgia football team and staff is confident that they have everything it takes to be at the top next year.
“Kirby Smart and the entire Georgia football program will do their best to keep continuing being a championship football team”, said Rochester.