Georgia won its Capital One Bowl matchup with Nebraska, but suffered a significant defensive loss in the game’s immediate aftermath.
Shortly after the Bulldogs’ first bowl win since 2009, linebacker Alec Ogletree announced that he will be foregoing his senior season and make himself available for the April NFL draft. Ogletree becomes the first player at his position and the seventh player from the SEC to officially leave early for the NFL since the 2012 regular season ended.
“This is my last game,” Ogletree told reporters. “It’s a tough decision, but I felt like it was the right one for me to do based on just where I may go and the amount of risk it is to come back. I talked to my parents and let God lead me in the right way.”
Despite playing in just 10 of 13 games this season, Ogletree led the Bulldogs in tackles and was second in tackles for loss with 11.5.
Ogletree likely won’t be the Bulldogs’ last loss to early defection. Another UGA linebacker, All-American Jarvis Jones, is expected to officially announce in the coming days that he will cannonball into the NFL draft pool. Jones is widely viewed as a top-five pick in the upcoming draft.
Aaron Murray, another UGA starter who’s considering the NFL, was non-committal following the win over the Cornhuskers.
“The future? I don’t know what’s going to happen,” the quarterback said.
Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.
Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.
“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”
Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.
You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season? Watch lists are being whittled.
The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior. The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.
The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).
The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten. The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).
Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah