ATHENS - Apparently the suspense on Georgia's underclassmen is ending early: Other than Todd Gurley, they're all set to stay rather than enter the NFL draft.
Leonard Floyd, Malcolm Mitchell and John Theus are all returning for another season, head coach Mark Richt announced at the football team's annual gala on Saturday night. And Jordan Jenkins is "most likely" returning for his senior season.
Richt's announcement was initially reported by Logan Booker of Bulldawg Illustrated, then confirmed by team spokesman Claude Felton.
Richt's announcement apparently did not include Gurley, the tailback who is widely expected to declare for the draft despite an ACL injury suffered in November. Richt said during his radio show recently that he expected Gurley to be a top pick "in this draft."
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The deadline to declare for the draft is still a month away, so it's always possible the players could change their mind. It's not clear whether any of them sought or have received an evaluation from the NFL draft advisory committee.
But assuming that Richt's announcement holds, Georgia just got a huge lift to its 2015 hopes. If Jenkins doesn't turn pro, it means the return of its two sack leaders this year, its top returning receiver and one of its top blockers.
The offensive line will now return four starters, thanks to Theus' decision and the news Friday that Kolton Houston has received a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA.
Floyd's decision is the biggest surprise. The sophomore outside linebacker, was considered the team's top eligible underclassmen other than Gurley. Floyd is eligible for the draft because he spent one year in prep school, and the NFL rule is you must be three years removed from high school.
Floyd tweeted after the gala: "Committed to the G baby."
Jenkins, a junior outside linebacker, has been leaning towards returning for some time. He was accepted into the UGA Terry School of Business this fall.
Floyd and Jenkins are Georgia's sack leaders this year, Floyd with six and Jenkins with 4.5. Jenkins is third on the team with 66 tackles, and is second with nine tackles-for-loss. Floyd is fifth with 55 tackles and third with 8.5 tackles-for-loss.
Mitchell, a junior receiver, returned this year from ACL surgery. Mitchell is the team's third-leading receiver this year, hauling in 28 passes for 229 yards and three touchdowns, playing in eight games. Assuming he follows through on staying, he will be in his fifth season at Georgia next year.
Theus, a junior, started every game at left tackle this past season. He had also been leaning towards staying for some time, and now apparently it's official.