Davin Bellamy emerging on Georgia defense

(Photo by Andy Harrison)

The prospects of redshirt sophomore outside linebacker Davin Bellamy being an impact player for Georgia's defense weren't overly bright before the start of the season.

It had nothing to do with Bellamy's promising talent. It had everything to do with him working at the same position that included Leonard Floyd, Jordan Jenkins and Lorenzo Carter.

"I've always loved the competition," Bellamy said. "Every day in that room, there is competition with everything. We learn from each other and feed off each other."

SEC players of the week

OFFENSIVE: Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly, who had 402 total yards and 381 passing yards in the 27-19 win at Auburn. It was Kelly's sixth 300-yard passing game. DEFENSIVE: Florida linebacker Antonio Morrison, who had six tackles on a defense that held Georgia to 223 yards and 2-of-14 on third- and fourth-down conversions. SPECIAL TEAMS: Tennessee return specialist Evan Berry, who went 100 yards at Kentucky for his third kickoff return for a touchdown, tying Willie Gault's school record. FRESHMAN: Texas A&M quarterback Kyler Murray, who rushed 20 times for 156 yards and completed 20 of 28 passes for 223 yards in the win over South Carolina. OFFENSIVE LINEMAN: Arkansas center Mitch Smothers, who graded out at 91 percent and had no missed assignments during the 63-28 rout of UT-Martin. DEFENSIVE LINEMAN: Ole Miss end Marquis Haynes, who had six tackles, three tackles for loss and two sacks at Auburn. He is tied for the league lead with five sacks.

With Jenkins limited by a hip flexor and Floyd playing various roles for second-year defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, the 6-foot-5, 241-pound Bellamy has capitalized on increased playing time. In Saturday's 27-3 loss to Florida in Jacksonville, he led the Bulldogs with seven tackles and two tackles for loss.

In the early stages of the third quarter, Bellamy stripped Florida quarterback Treon Harris and recovered the loose ball at the 25-yard line of the Gators. That set up Georgia's only points of the afternoon, with Marshall Morgan connecting on a 27-yard field goal.

"He plays hard, but he's got to learn what to do and why it's important to do it that way," Pruitt said. "When he does that, he'll have a chance to be a really good football player. He's just a redshirt sophomore, so he's got a lot of football ahead of him."

Georgia (5-3, 3-3 SEC) held a 90-minute practice Monday in preparation for this week's noon kickoff against visiting Kentucky (4-4, 2-4) on the SEC Network.

Bellamy signed with the Bulldogs in 2013 out of the Atlanta suburb of Chamblee as a three-star prospect according to both Rivals.com and 247Sports.com. After redshirting his first season, he made unwanted headlines with a DUI arrest in July 2014.

He served a two-game suspension for the arrest and wound up playing in 10 of Georgia's remaining 11 games last year, collecting 17 tackles and two tackles for loss. He forced a fumble against Charleston Southern and recovered a fumble against Auburn.

So far this season, Bellamy has 27 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and two forced fumbles.

"He's a guy who has really improved a lot since he's been here," Georgia head coach Mark Richt said. "He had shoulder surgery a while back, and when he finally got healthy, he got in tremendous shape and just started making plays in practice. He's definitely earned the right to play, and you certainly get more playing time at your position if someone else is out.

"He's a guy that if everybody was healthy, he would still get to play."

And playing is making Bellamy quite happy these days.

"Coming into the season, I just wanted to help this team any way I could," he said, "whether that was giving 110 percent on the field or being on the bench and getting guys water and cheering them on."

Odds and ends

Georgia's depth chart for the Kentucky game lists "Faton Bauta or Greyson Lambert" as the starting quarterback. Kentucky leading rusher Boom Williams will not play Saturday due to an elbow injury. Next week's game at Auburn will have a noon EST kickoff on CBS. Georgia announced Monday afternoon that former receiver A.J. Green has endowed two scholarships for the university, one for the football program and another for a need-based student from South Carolina.

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