Brothers on and off the field
Brotherhood is a word one often hears in sports to describe the close-knit fabric and makeup of a team.
We heard it used to describe the chemistry of the World Series champion Atlanta Braves, and it’s certainly been used as description for the top-ranked Georgia Bulldogs.
Head coach Kirby Smart brags about his team’s leadership and chemistry every week, citing the tightness of the entire team as one of the reasons for the success it currently enjoys.
Nowhere is that bond more apparent than the one enjoyed by defensive linemen Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt, who along with Jalen Carter and defensive end Travon Walker form the nucleus for what’s arguably been the best defensive front in the country this year.
However, as both Davis and Wyatt explain, their friendship goes much deeper than one you see on the field.
"That is my brother. All I can say is that is my brother,” Davis said. “You come in here and don't expect that and obviously you would think of him as a teammate…But that relationship and building that bond with Devonte; we almost do everything together.”
“JD and I came in together, so we’ve stayed by each other’s side the whole time,” Wyatt said. “We work together. We believe in each other.”
Smart has seen their growth first-hand, specially how its translated to their work on the field.
“Yeah, Devonte’s extremely competitive. He hates losing. He probably gets angry quicker than Jordan when things aren’t going well,” Smart said. “He was frustrated the first drive against Tennessee. Sometimes you just have to support Devonte and tell him it’s going to be okay. Jordan has a cooler presentation, and level heads will prevail with Jordan.”
But just because their personalities are different, as Davis indicated, you won’t find two closer players on the team.
“I go to him whenever I have a problem. I went to him last night, I was like, 'I just need to get out of the house and talk and be with somebody.' I'm glad I have Devonte and other players to call on like that,” Davis said. “That just kind of tells you about the relationship of this team. This year has been a connection, but we don't really call it connection we call it love. That is how it is with the team in the locker room it is love."
Smart credits the duo for much of Georgia’s defensive success.
“They have very different personalities, almost opposite ends of the spectrum. But they both respect each other and love each other so much. They’ve grown to be very good friends, and very different backgrounds. But they’re great competitors, they’ve been great for Georgia,” Smart said. “Their decision to come back was probably the most impactful of everybody’s because they probably had the highest grades of those juniors who came back, because it’s so hard to find defensive linemen. And those guys coming back kind of put everything in motion.”
In a way, Bulldog fans have Wyatt to thank that Davis decided to return for his senior year.
A true senior in 2020, when the NCAA elected to grant a one-time waiver due to Covid-19, Wyatt surprised some when he jumped at the opportunity.
His decision came after he had an invite from the Senior Bowl, where he no doubt would have continued to open the eyes of NFL personnel.
However, Wyatt had other ideas, and turned the offer down when he decided to return.
He saw the talent Georgia had accrued.
“When me and JD decided to come back, we just knew we were going to have a Sony Michel, Nick Chubb type of year,” Wyatt said. “We just wanted to finish it. It’s our last year. We knew we could do something with us, because the leaders we had in this room, we knew what we could get done.”
So far, Wyatt sounds prophetic.
As the nation’s top-ranked team, Georgia (10-0) has already clinched a spot in the SEC Championship and are in a prime position to make the playoffs and perhaps make that April prediction come true.