Athens, Ga - The University of Georgia football team and its head coach Kirby Smart got an early Christmas present on Thursday, with the announcements that several key juniors would be returning to play their senior seasons 'between the hedges' in 2017.
Most noteably, running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, both of which were highly thought to be candidates to dart to the NFL, will return and create a world of depth at the position. Chubb returned in 2016 from a devastating knee injury suffered in 2015, and progressively got better as the season went on. Michel once again made his case in 2016 as being the best athlete on the Bulldogs' team.
Also returning will be linebackers Lorenzo Carter and Davin Bellamy. It was rumored recently that Bellamy was a lean to the NFL, but will instead stay in Athens, and along with Carter, continue to help a strong defense get stronger under defensive-minded Kirby Smart.
“It’s really special when you get around a special group that care about a place that I really care about, and regardless of their decision – which all four of them have decided to stay, and want to come back – it means a lot to me when guys do that," Smart said. “I think each one would tell you they handled it the right way. They got a lot of information, they used all the resources that our university provides, and they made the decision. I particularly tried to stay out of the decision-making, and just get these guys information, and I think they did a nice job about that.”
Chubb spoke to media after the announcements, where he declared the sour taste left after the loss to Georgia Tech played a factor in why he and his junior teammates elected to have one more round with Georgia's many rivals.
“The last game didn’t go the way any of us wanted it,” Chubb said. "So I couldn’t have that be my last memory of Georgia.”