Top 5 Georgia football players returning to lead the Dawgs’ excellent defense in 2022

Jalen Carter, Devonte Wyatt and Travon Walker tackle Anthony Richardson. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
Jalen Carter, Devonte Wyatt and Travon Walker tackle Anthony Richardson. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images) /
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Georgia football
Bryce Young is sacked by Nolan Smith. (Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /

. . . Nolan Smith. 2. player. 814

Nolan Smith is another massive name for Georgia football to see come back and will likely be the biggest leader on this defense in 2022.

When he chose to come back for one more year, it was the missing piece that Georgia needed. The Bulldogs will have a vocal leader emerging as one of the best linebackers to play the game. Smith can also put his hand in the dirt as an edge rusher so that he will be beneficial in multiple ways.

Many people figured he would leave after the 2021 season because they won the national title, and Smith did enough to earn a decent draft grade. However, Smith wasn’t ready to take on the next chapter. Instead, he wanted to keep the greatness going and attempt a repeat in 2022.

Smith was a force for Georgia last year as he finished with 56 total tackles, nine tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, one interception, one breakup, 27 quarterback hurries, one fumble recovery, three forced fumbles, and a blocked kick.

There wasn’t much he didn’t make happen in 2021, but here he made a selfless decision to return and play as a senior. The former No.1 overall recruit hasn’t quite lived up to the expectation, but this final season could elevate him to show us what happens when that potential gets reached.

Smith is so good, and it’s time for him to push aside everything and ball out for this team. He will be a vocal leader and someone to guide the younger players, so Georgia has it good with him back on the field.

This upcoming season will feature a Smith Georgia fans haven’t seen before as he will put all the pieces together.

He will prove that he is a first-round draft pick that will make a lot of NFL teams happy, but also that coming back for one more year only benefits the player in the long run.