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University of Georgia photo / Georgia senior defensive tackle Jordan Davis would love to cap his Bulldogs career with a SEC championship, but first up is a season opener against Clemson in his hometown of Charlotte, N.C.

Senior nose tackle Jordan Davis, all 6-foot-6 and a fluctuating 340 pounds of him, is a religion major at the University of Georgia.

Davis has no plans, however, to follow the theological seminary route.

"Honestly, I just didn't want to take any math classes," a smiling Davis said last week at SEC Media Days when asked about his choice of majors. "I didn't want to take any calculus and stuff, but I also grew up loving mythology and the stories of mythology and how the world came to be through religion's eyes. Different parts of the world had different aspects, but they all kind of have similar stories."

One of the best stories unfolding in Southeastern Conference football is Davis, who envisions himself in the National Football League and in World Wrestling Entertainment after that.

"I always said that if I wasn't going to be a football player that I would be in the WWE as a wrestler, and that dream is still alive," he said. "I was a (World Wrestling Federation) New Generation fan, and Jeff Hardy is my favorite wrestler, and back in the old days it was 'Stone Cold' (Steve Austin). Once I'm done with football, the WWE may be calling."

Davis has a lot he'd like to achieve before those plans, beginning with a productive preseason camp leading up to the anticipated Sept. 4 opener against Clemson in Charlotte, North Carolina. It will be the first time Davis will have played in his home city since his days at Mallard Creek High School, which produced former Florida and current Arizona Cardinals offensive tackle D.J. Humphries as well as former LSU and current Cincinnati Bengals tight end Thaddeus Moss.

When asked about the opener, Davis quickly exclaimed: "I just want to be able to show the city what I can do. I want to be somebody they can brag about."

Georgia sixth-year coach Kirby Smart isn't about to bestow too much hype on the opening showdown, but he isn't hesitant when it comes to praising his veteran in the defensive interior.

"Jordan Davis is a big man," Smart said. "He's been upwards of 370 before. He's been down around 330. We encourage him to be closer to 330, but he has been a big part of our defense. One of the number one reasons we've been able to stop the run and be one of the top defenses in the country at stopping the run is because of Jordan Davis, and he's a lot better person than he is a player."

GEORGIA

Last year: 8-2 (7-2 SEC)

Season opener: Sept. 4 vs. Clemson in Charlotte, N.C. (7:30 p.m. on ABC)

Fun fact: Georgia has a streak of 24 consecutive years with a postseason appearance. Among SEC schools, Alabama is next with 17.

Up next: Kentucky

About that weight.

Davis admits to engulfing the scales at 382 during his Mallard Creek days — "I was like, 'All right, this is enough.' I had to start moving," he recalled — and among the culprits through the years has been the Swedish Fish chewy candy.

"I'm a snacker, so I'll always go in the kitchen and grab some Swedish Fish or some Nerds Ropes," Davis said. "I have to switch that. They have organic Swedish Fish that I'm really starting to like, and that definitely helps out. I don't feel guilty when I eat those as when I eat the regular ones."

When Georgia signed the nation's No. 1 recruiting class in 2018, it included seven of the country's top 25 prospects — quarterback Justin Fields, running back Zamir White, offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer, cornerback Tyson Campbell, outside linebacker Adam Anderson, offensive lineman Cade Mays and outside linebacker Brenton Cox. Near the bottom of that class was Davis, who was a three-star signee.

Yet Davis landed Freshman All-America honors after earning four starts and recording 25 tackles, and he followed that up during the 2019 season with sacks in the closing run against Florida, Texas A&M and LSU in the SEC title game. He ended last season by collecting a sack and deflecting a field-goal attempt in the 24-21 win over Cincinnati in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

Davis has watched his tackle totals dwindle slightly during his time with the Bulldogs, but recording stops can be tough in the interior, especially when facing spread offenses.

"The fact that they're not running the ball up the middle is kind of hard," Davis said. "You're kind of like, 'Where is the love?' The game is changing, and it's more of a passing league with quick perimeter plays, so my biggest thing is just getting out to the exterior and running from sideline to sideline and just trying to make sure that I'm good on my lateral movement.

"If they're not running the ball my way, they're obviously fearful of something, and having that under your belt is pretty cool."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524. Follow him on Twitter @DavidSPaschall.

 

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