NCAA Football

Georgia senior football day shows how much rosters will change in coming weeks: ‘It’s a puzzle’

Georgia senior football day shows how much rosters will change in coming weeks: ‘It’s a puzzle’

Georgia senior football day shows how much rosters will change in coming weeks: ‘It’s a puzzle’

If he decided to come back next year, he could go higher.

“It’s not decided yet if this will be my last home game,” Podlesny said. “That will be decided at the end of the season.”

The Georgia football player is far from the only player with a decision to make in the coming weeks. Only for Stetson Bennett, Chris Smith and Robert Beal, Saturday will finally be their last home game. Georgia has plenty of seniors that will be honored Saturday, though some have already gone through the pregame ceremonies that accompany Senior Day.

“It’s like a puzzle,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “I think we have seven or eight that will repeat. That is, they went last year and they are going this year. And then we’ll probably have the same thing because the decision graph and things like that. That’s out of the question in college football.”

Smart is extremely proud of what this “senior” class was able to accomplish. Among the 2019 signees, players like Kenny McIntosh, Nolan Smith and Warren McClendon have already won national championships and become key leaders for the program.

“It’s not a big star cast,” Smart said. “There won’t be 15 picks in the draft. But there are some guys who really care about UGA and have sacrificed a lot for this program.”

However, Saturday will not only be the final game for the seniors. There will be draft-eligible juniors like Jalen Carter or Kelly Ringo who may hear their names called early on draft night.

On the topic: Georgia football excited to bring back Jalen Carter from Tennessee: ‘He impacts games in different ways’

Given the transfer window, a number of lesser-known names are also likely to play their final home game at Sanford Stadium. The Bulldogs had 13 players out after last season.

Expect something similar in the offseason.

“You know, we’re going to know a lot more about all of that in the coming weeks,” Smart said of the state of his roster. “Because no one really passed through this window. It’s very similar to last year.

“But the window — the portal window opens and closes and doesn’t allow coaches to go on the road during SEC Championship week so they can get their rosters right, it’s all new and different.”

Georgia’s roster could be more cohesive than others if it can make the College Football Playoff. The Bulldogs didn’t make the playoffs entering the transfer window until the season ended in the College Football Playoff.

Due to changes in the NCAA calendar, players must log in between December 5th and January 18th. Also, in the spring, from May 1 to 15, the opening of the second portal will take place.

The Bulldogs will have a game the week before the transfer window opens when Georgia plays LSU on Dec. 3. Smart understands the demands on his players to put the team before themselves.

“So we can’t go and have those conversations and do those things,” Smart said. “So every player has to have the ability to put the team first while also realizing that, hey, their individuality is greater now in college football than it’s ever been in terms of the decisions you make.”

Smart knows that not every player he signs as a rookie will make it to the senior day. That’s part of what makes Georgia the program it is.

And that’s what makes days like Saturday so special for those who are able to persevere and make it to the end of their careers at Georgia.

“You know, if you’re not good enough to play here, you probably won’t be able to play in the NFL,” Smart said. “So what do you want to be a part of? Do you want to be part of something winning, something special? And that’s what we sell. And it’s not for everybody, but that’s what we’re selling.”

Kirby Smart shares his thoughts on Georgia senior football

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