Georgia's Damian Swann didn't pursue early NFL departure

Georgia's Damian Swann didn't pursue early NFL departure

December 17th, 2013 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Cornerback Damian Swann (5) had thoughts of looking to the NFL as the 2013 season approached but wound up feeling he needed another year at Georgia.

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

ATHENS, Ga. - Junior cornerback Damian Swann began this season as a second-team All-SEC projection by the league's coaches and media, and he was Georgia's most likely underclassman to consider forgoing his senior season for the 2014 NFL draft.

Swann said Monday that he didn't even request information from the NFL's draft advisory board.

"I don't think I was as successful as I was last year," he said. "I don't think I put the stats together to even make that decision to come out. I want to be one of those first-two-round guys, and to do that you've got to put it on tape."

Swann has 56 tackles and eight pass breakups entering the Gator Bowl matchup against Nebraska on New Year's Day. Last season, the 5-foot-11, 178-pounder from Atlanta totaled 53 tackles, five breakups, four interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Two of Swann's four interceptions last season came against the Cornhuskers in the Capital One Bowl.

Swann's junior season got off to a bad start when he missed a tackle on Sammy Watkins, springing the Clemson receiver to a 77-yard touchdown. The Bulldogs are allowing 232.8 passing yards a game after giving up 175.6 a game last season, when Swann started along with three seniors.

"I struggled a little bit, and that's a part of the game," Swann said. "That's why they give you four years with the chance to come out in three."

Popular lineman

All five of Georgia's starting offensive linemen have more than 5,800 followers on Twitter, led by sophomore right tackle John Theus, who has more than 10,500. Right behind Theus is backup right guard Watts Dantzler, who has more than 10,400 followers.

Dantzler, a junior from Dalton, is considered quite the entertainer on Twitter and finally was healthy enough this season to play in all 12 games.

"He's a social-media guru, which I think is awesome," starting right guard Chris Burnette said. "At the end of the day, he is leveraging where he's at to bring some attention to himself. I don't think that's a bad thing at all, and I think next season that he's going to have a chance to play a lot and even start.

"I don't decide who plays, but I feel like he'll probably be a starter and do a great job and that his social-media following will just grow."

Award winners

Injured senior quarterback Aaron Murray received the Vince Dooley MVP award and was named Georgia's most valuable offensive player this past weekend at the team's annual gala. Junior inside linebacker Amarlo Herrera was the defensive MVP, with backup senior safety Connor Norman and reserve junior linebacker Kosta Vavlas earning MVP honors for special teams.

"We had a really good event," coach Mark Richt said. "I thought it was very well done."

Murray was named Georgia's overall permanent captain, with senior tight end Arthur Lynch the offensive captain, senior defensive lineman Garrison Smith the defensive captain and Norman the special teams captain.

Odds and ends

The Bulldogs practiced for two hours Monday, and freshman receiver Tramel Terry was spotted by reporters working with the safeties. ... Georgia will enter the Gator Bowl averaging 38.2 points a game, which is slightly ahead of last season's school-record clip of 37.8. ... Richt does not expect to have any academic casualties for the bowl. ... The Bulldogs are 13th in turnover ratio among SEC schools, while the Cornhuskers are last in the Big Ten.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.