Perhaps the biggest story so far of the Orange Bowl has been the number of Georgia Bulldogs opting out of the Orange Bowl vs. the number of Florida State Seminoles. Javon Bullard says he’s in for Saturday’s game.
That’s pretty big news. Bullard obviously has a major decision to make about the NFL, but his presence in this one means the Bulldog secondary should be pretty close to full strength.
Brock Bowers however, appears to be sitting, as does Amarius Mims. Neither was seen with the team when it arrived in Miami yesterday.
While that’s also largish news, it’s probably not surprising. Both Bowers and Mims have received first round grades from NFL Draft watchers and both struggled with high ankle sprains requiring tightrope surgery this season. There’s some sound wisdom to not risking a recurrence heading into the scouting combine and Georgia’s pro day. Additionally, both of those young men have given a great deal to the cause of Georgia Bulldog football.
Edge rusher Damon Wilson was not spotted with the team either, but that could be because he had a recent knee surgery according to friend of the site Graham Coffey over at The Players Lounge.
UGA’s Damon Wilson will miss Orange Bowl due to knee injury— Graham Coffey (@GrahamCoffeyDC) December 26, 2023
Sources have told @DawgsCentral_ and @TPLGeorgia that the former five-star had a recent surgery to repair a meniscal tear
Wilson had 9 pressures on 44 pass rush snaps in 2023
More info here: https://t.co/rny7ChoW4g
Florida State was already without a host of starters, but we learned on Christmas that the Noles will be without quarterback Tate Rodemaker, and will instead be starting true freshman Brock Glenn against the Bulldogs.
Obviously this is a Georgia conspiracy.
Rodemaker is entering the transfer portal, which makes some sense given that Coach Mike Norvell has played host to a handful of transfer portal quarterbacks already this cycle. It’s pretty clear that he’s not sold on Rodemaker as the Seminoles’ starter in 2024. While Rodemaker certainly might have still won the job, I don’t blame him for pulling a Darth Vader and finding Norvell’s lack of faith disturbing.
Elsewhere in transfer portal news the Bulldogs lost their 19th and 20th players to the portal in cornerback Daniel Harris and receiver DeNylon Morrissette.
Morrisette came to Athens as a four star recruit and showed flashes in clean up duty in 2022. But he dealt with some nagging injuries and couldn’t quite crack the regular rotation in 2023, playing in only three games and making no catches before ultimately redshirting.
Harris came to Georgia as a member of the 2023 class and played in five games as a true freshman, recording no tackles or pass defense stats. The Bulldogs are of course bringing in a new position coach in Donte Williams and signed four more highly-touted defensive back recruits in the 2024 class. So Harris’s decision to seek a fresh start makes some sense as well.
For those scoring at home 20 is the highest number of transfer portal entrants the Red and Black have had. I don’t take that as a sign that there’s anything wrong in terms of player retention in Athens. Rather it’s more emblematic of players understanding the opportunities available out in the world of NIL. On the flip side, Georgia has already been more active in acquiring players through the portal, and doesn’t appear to be finished.
We’ll be back with more bowl week coverage shortly. Until then…