Coming off a dominant national championship win against Alabama a few months ago, many say the Georgia Bulldogs are poised for another impressive season, It’s time to question if they will meet the all-time high expectations, despite a record setting 15 players being drafted into the NFL
“They’re talented players and hopefully they can fill the shoes of the ones that left,” said Claude Felton, a senior associate athletic director. “There was a time when those 15 guys who got drafted weren’t known either.”
Felton provided insight into how the program is run, including the process of recruiting and rebuilding year after year. He also spoke on the funding of the program, just for being in the SEC. “We received a $50 million check from the Southeastern Conference about a month ago,” said Felton. “Other schools like Vanderbilt received the same amount.”
All teams from the SEC are equal from a funding standpoint, but where they differentiate is in what they do independently to raise funds. Students have to pay a small athletic fee per semester to contribute. For fans and alumni who want season tickets, they must donate a certain amount to be eligible for the tickets. Amazingly, standard tickets have stayed the same price for three years now, according to Felton. All this contributes to the program’s budget.
Each school is allowed 85 football scholarships, so depending on how many holes and needs there are, the signing size will vary. According to Felton, the number is usually around 25 per year.
Some important players who moved onto the NFL are Travon Walker, Jordan Davis, Devonte Wyatt, George Pickens, and James Cook.
“Consistency is the key thing to maintaining the level we have experienced this past year,” said Felton. “If you look at the last 4-5 years, we’ve been in many bowl games.”
In fact, the Bulldogs have not only gone to bowl games, but have made two national championship appearances in the last six years. They have posted a 6-1 record in bowl games, and a 1-1 in national championship games.
There are no guarantees, but Felton is confident in the coaching staff, players, and program to do well this upcoming season. Although Felton acknowledges the Bulldogs lost several cornerstones of the team, he feels the 2022 team should be successful..
“It’s all about recruiting really,” said Felton. “We lost some good players, but that doesn’t mean upcoming players won’t become as good as the guys who left.”