ATHENS, Ga. — Kirby Smart described Davin Bellamy last November as a player who “is not afraid to speak.”
That includes more than just on the field or in the locker room.
The senior outside linebacker didn’t just let his absence from the preseason All-SEC team, as voted on by those who attended SEC Media Days, as something to shrug off.
“I mean, I thought I should have been on it, but you don’t do it for the fame, you know?” Bellamy said. “That just gave me more motivation to go out there and prove people wrong. We don’t do this game for the accolades, but it definitely gave me a lot of motivation.”
The media members who cover the SEC didn’t have Bellamy, who shared Georgia’s sack lead last season with five, among the options to vote on at the linebacker selections.
There were 11 Georgia players listed, but Bellamy wasn’t one of them. Neither was quarterback Jacob Eason.
Nominees for the media’s All-SEC team and team voted on by coaches later this month are made by the schools and there are no limits in the number of submissions, SEC spokesman Chuck Dunlap said.
Teammate and fellow outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter was listed and was voted third-team preseason All-SEC.
Carter had 44 tackles, six tackles for loss, five sacks, 13 quarterback pressures and two forced fumbles.
Bellamy had 51 tackles, nine tackles for loss, five sacks and a team-high 17 quarterback pressures without a forced fumble.
The fifth-year senior is in his second season as a starter for the Bulldogs and is listed as the No. 5 outside linebacker prospect and No. 56 overall for the 2018 NFL draft by CBSSports.com.
Smart is looking for more consistency in performance from the 6-foot-5, 245-pounder.
“Davin is a kid who has been in the program a long time. He understands the defense; he knows it inside and out,” said Smart, the second-year Georgia coach who knew Bellamy through recruiting when he was Alabama defensive coordinator. “Does he compete at the right level?”
Georgia had a speaker talk to the team about competiveness and toughness, and the coaching staff asks players now to gauge their “CT score,” said Smart.
“We try to challenge these guys each day with their CT and this is something we do with Davin because he can be here, here, here, here and if he dips one time, it’s not playing to his standard,” Smart said. “Davin is a tough guy, he is not afraid of contact. We want to develop more pass rush out of those guys. He knows that. He wants to be better at that.”
Georgia called on Bellamy last year to play inside some when Jonathan Ledbetter was out.
He may be more equipped for that role now after he said he added “seven pounds of muscle, to be exact,” this offseason.
“Just worked on my speed and athleticism, and just trusted in the strength and conditioning,” he said.
He already leads all returning SEC edge defenders with 21 run defense stops last season, according to Pro Football Focus.
The communications studies major has two more classes to go before earning his undergraduate degree in December.
“I had to double up in the summer because I did want to get out of here with a degree,” he said. “I stayed here in May and took some classes.”
That lighter class load will allow Bellamy to make the most of his last college season and focus even more on football.
He wants to be more of a “technician,” as a pass rusher and trust in his teammates in the front four for seams to open up.
“I came back for a reason,” Bellamy said. “I’m a fifth-year senior, so I have to start carrying myself like that and playing like that.”