Geathers third UGA junior to enter draft

ATHENS, Ga. -- In a family known for football standouts leaving school early, Kwame Geathers actually lasted four years at Georgia. But the redshirt junior nose guard will not be back for a fifth season.

UGA sports information director Claude Felton confirmed on Wednesday that Geathers will forgo his final season of eligibility to enter the NFL draft. ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper said last month that Geathers, who split time at nose guard over the last two seasons with John Jenkins, could go as high as the second or third round in the upcoming NFL draft.

At 6-foot-6 and 355 pounds, Geathers has size that will certainly intrigue NFL talent evaluators. He also has a genetic makeup that might indicate pro football success.

Brothers Robert and Clifton are active defensive linemen in the NFL -- Robert with the Cincinnati Bengals and Clifton with the Indianapolis Colts -- after leaving Georgia and South Carolina, respectively, a season early. Cousin Jeremy Geathers also left UNLV after his junior season and has played arena football and in Canada.

Additionally, father Robert Sr. played six seasons in the NFL and uncle Jumpy was in the league for 13 years as a standout defensive lineman.

That wealth of family NFL experience provided a highly sufficient sounding board for Kwame Geathers as he mulled his decision, he said.

“Having my brothers and my family members to go to and ask for advice about it, it’s given me a lot of comfort,” Geathers said during bowl practice. “I’m not worrying about it, stressing about it at all because I feel like I’ve got all the resources I need.”

This season, Geathers ranked third among Georgia’s defensive linemen with 40 tackles. He added five tackles for a loss and the only sack of his career, as well.

That lack of pass-rushing production will be one hurdle Geathers must clear in the eyes of NFL scouts as he tries to prove he can be more than a two-down player. Players with his rare size and skills are almost sure to find spots on NFL rosters, but he can improve his draft stock by proving that he can do more than occupy blockers at the point of attack.

He is the third UGA defensive underclassman to declare for the draft, joining junior linebackers Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree. Kiper ranks Jones first overall and Ogletree seventh on his newest Big Board released on Wednesday.