ORLANDO, Fla. — Georgia junior linebacker Alec Ogletree wasted no time revealing his NFL decision.
The Bulldogs’ leading tackler said after Georgia’s 45-31 Capital One Bowl win that he’s giving up his final season of eligibility to enter the draft.
“This is my last game,” Ogletree said. “It’s a tough decision, but I felt like it was the right one for me to do based on just where I may go and the amount of risk it is to come back. I talked to my parents and let God lead me in the right way.”
Ogletree said he knew Georgia’s bowl game would be his last before the Bulldogs kicked off against Nebraska on Tuesday.
“I knew after talking over the (holiday) break and talking to everybody I needed to talk to get the right decision,” Ogletree said.
Olgetree (6-foot-3 and 232 pounds) is projected as the No. 18 overall prospect by ESPN’s Todd McShay and No. 16 by Mel Kiper.
He had 13 tackles, three tackles for loss, forced and recovered a fumble and made a sack on his final play as a Bulldog.
“It was very important for us to come out today and get the win and send the seniors out the right way,” said Ogletree, who finished the season with 111 tackles in 10 games. “With this being my last game, I wanted to go out with a win, too.”
Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham had high praise for his departing middle linebacker.
“He’s a pretty dynamic inside linebacker,” Grantham said. “He’s a guy that can go sideline to sideline.
“I love the guy. He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. I’d do anything in the world for him because he’s really laid it on the line for us.”
Unlike Ogletree, junior nose guard Kwame Geathers wasn’t ready to make any declarations.
“I’ve given it a lot of thought, but I still haven’t come to a conclusion yet,” Geathers said. “I’m just going to go home, talk to my family, talk to my brothers, talk to the coaches, and I’ll make the decision then.”
Geathers, who started in place of academically ineligible senior John Jenkins, figures to start at the nose guard position if he remains in school.
“I’d be a senior, and I would be a leader of this team,” Geathers said. “I feel like I’d have to come out there and be the guy to try and help this team win a national championship next year, so that’s a big concern, too.”
JONES BREAKS SACK RECORD: Outside linebacker Jarvis Jones set a new single-season school record for sacks with 14.5 after a two-sack performance against Nebraska.
The junior said he didn’t know about his accomplishment until the postgame news conference.
“Did I break it?” Jones asked a reporter. “I didn’t even know.”
To which, Georgia coach Mark Richt interjected with “that’s awesome.”
Jones broke the record after pressuring Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez into throwing the ball out of bounds in the first quarter. Martinez was penalized for intentional grounding, and Jones was credited with his second sack of the game.
“I think it’s great,” Jones said of breaking the record set by David Pollack in 2002.
Working as an ESPN broadcaster, Pollack was in attendance to see his record broken. The former Georgia great praised Jones’ performance, even if it came after a non-traditional sack.
“It’s not like I didn’t get any cheap sacks in my day,” said Pollack, whose single-season record for tackles for loss was also broken by Jones (24.5) on Tuesday.
After the game, Pollack tweeted: “I’m proud 2 have my sack record broken by @sacmanjones_29. He is a 1st class young man & plays the game the right way.”
100 AGAIN: Quarterback Aaron Murray was named MVP with a 427-yard passing performance against the Cornhuskers, but tailback Todd Gurley still managed another big game in the rushing department.
The freshman ran 23 times for 125 yards and a touchdown. Tuesday’s win marked the ninth time this season Gurley rushed for 100 or more yards.
“We knew they were going to try and stop the run,” Gurley said. “But we’ve got a great passing game and a great running game, and we proved that again today.”
Tailback Keith Marshall earned his first start and finished with 36 yards on eight carries.
QUICK HITS: Senior safety Shawn Williams blocked a punt on Nebraska’s first possession. The ball rolled out of the back of the end zone for a safety. For the second year in a row, the Bulldogs’ first points in a bowl game derive from a safety. … Georgia had trouble getting out of its own way Tuesday, racking up seven penalties for 76 yards. The Bulldogs were flagged five times for personal foul penalties. … Wide receiver Rhett McGowan received the first start of his career and finished with three catches for 40 yards. … Defensive end Abry Jones did not dress out for the bowl game. Jones’ status was doubtful heading into the game. … Wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell suffered a concussion on a safety punt return in the first quarter. The sophomore did not return.