Georgia is losing another underclassman off its defense to the NFL draft.
Georgia defensive lineman Kwame Geathers (99) wraps up around Florida Atlantic running back Damian Fortner (22) in the Bulldogs' win on Sept. 15 in Sanford Stadium.
Nose guard Kwame Geathers has told Georgia coaches that he is turning pro, the school confirmed tonight, becoming the third Bulldogs player to declare for the draft since the end of the season.
“I’m going to go ahead and leave,” the fourth-year junior told Dawgs247.com. “I felt like I was ready to go. I think I did everything at Georgia that I wanted to do. I felt like it was time to get a jump on the next step in my career.”
Geathers told the Athens Banner-Herald late last week that he was to meet with Georgia coaches on Sunday to talk about his decision. His mother said Monday night that he had “not quite made up his mind,” and that he was going to talk it over with one of his brothers. Attempts by the Banner-Herald to reach Geathers and his family today have been unsuccessful.
Geathers, from Georgetown, S.C., is leaving college with eligibility remaining just like two older brothers.
Defensive end Robert Geathers was a fourth-round pick out of Georgia in 2004. Defensive end Clifton Geathers was a sixth-round pick out of South Carolina in 2010.
Kwame Geathers had 40 tackles, including five tackles for loss, a sack, eight quarterback pressures and a blocked kick.
He started five games this past season, but would have had an even bigger role if he returned since Georgia already lost nose guard John Jenkins, a possible first-round NFL draft pick.
Georgia’s defense already lost junior linebackers Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree-both projected first-round picks. Only three players who started on defense in the Capital One Bowl are returning.
The 6-foot-6, 346-pound Geathers is rated as the No. 13 defensive tackle prospect by ESPN’s Scouts Inc. ESPN’s Mel Kiper said last month that Geathers would be in the “second, third-round mix.” Nose guards are “valuable in the NFL for obvious reasons,” he said.
Georgia will rely on unproven but talented players on its defensive line after the departures of Jenkins and Geathers, who gave the Bulldogs a pair of mammoth players in the middle of their defense.
They include junior Mike Thornton, junior college transfer Chris Mayes and redshirt freshman Johnathan Taylor.
The 6-foot-1, 302-pound Thornton would be a departure in size at the nose.
“He’s just very strong,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said last month. “He’s stout. He’s got a low center of gravity. We have trouble blocking him when we go in our 11-on-11 stuff, inside drill stuff. I feel confident that he can play well.”