Senior center David Andrews was the big winner this weekend at Georgia's annual football team gala at the Classic Center in Athens, but sophomore outside linebacker Leonard Floyd became an immediate fan favorite for 2015.
Bulldogs coach Mark Richt announced at the event that Floyd would be returning for his junior season and that left tackle John Theus and receiver Malcolm Mitchell would be back for their senior seasons. Floyd is a true sophomore but is three seasons removed from high school, having played at Hargrave Military (Va.) Academy in 2012.
Floyd posted "committed to the G baby" on his Twitter account Saturday night.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder from Eastman, Ga., has 55 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and a team-high six sacks for the No. 13 Bulldogs, who are 9-3 and will begin on-campus Belk Bowl practices Wednesday. Floyd has been rated as a top-20 prospect for the 2015 NFL draft by longtime ESPN analyst Mel Kiper, and one NFL director of scouting recently projected him going within the first round's 32 picks.
"Floyd is an outside linebacker in the NFL," the scouting director said. "He's a pass-rusher, which is a premium, and he's very athletic. He's long, and he's not fully developed. He can run extremely well, and he had really good production last year as a freshman.
"He got a little bit dinged-up this year, but his athleticism would make it hard to keep him out of the first round."
Richt announced at the gala that junior outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins likely will return. Jenkins has amassed 66 tackles, nine tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks.
"I don't think Jenkins is a special talent like a Leonard Floyd," the scout said. "He's a good, solid all-around football player who can defend the run as well as the pass, but he's not a special athlete. I think he would get taken in the fourth-round area."
Andrews received the Vince Dooley MVP Award, and he also was named the overall permanent captain of the 2014 team. Senior quarterback Hutson Mason was tabbed the offensive captain, while senior inside linebacker Amarlo Herrera, senior cornerback Damian Swann and senior tackle Mike Thornton were named defensive captains.
Senior reserve linebacker Kosta Vavlas was named special teams captain.
Winning MVP honors in addition to Andrews were junior tailback Todd Gurley on offense, Floyd on defense and Vavlas on special teams. Most Improved recognition went to Jenkins, sophomore guard Greg Pyke, sophomore receiver Kenneth Towns, senior defensive end Ray Drew, sophomore inside linebackers Tim Kimbrough and Ryne Rankin, and senior free safety Lucas Redd.
Newcomer award winners were tailback Nick Chubb, tight end Jeb Blazevich, receiver and return specialist Isaiah McKenzie, outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter and defensive back Dominick Sanders.
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.