A true senior last fall, when the NCAA elected to grant a one-time waiver due to the COVID pandemic, not many expected Devonte Wyatt to return to campus. A decision that came after he had received an invite from the Senior Bowl, Wyatt’s impact along the country’s top defensive line has been two-fold with Georgia’s No. 1 ranking and Wyatt’s continued rising draft stock.
Despite finding himself often overshadowed by teammate Jordan Davis, who’s become college football’s most dominant interior presence, the 315-pound Wyatt has made a case for himself as the Robin to Davis’ Batman during Georgia’s historic campaign. An elite athlete in comparison to his massive frame, his burst and heavy hands coupled with his eye-popping open-field ability to wrangle down ball-carriers outside the hashes has Wyatt rising on league-wide draft boards.
While he and Davis have formed a brotherhood to the point where the two future NFLers do “everything together” off the field, a tandem that almost never was this fall has taken the CFB landscape by storm as the nucleus to the country’s most dominant defensive unit.
“JD [Jordan Davis] 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.”
Their bond has been well apparent for head coach Kirby Smart, who’s seen the two trench maulers combine for 50 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, and a forced fumble so far this fall.
“They have very different personalities, almost opposite ends of the spectrum,” Smart said.
“But they both respect each other and love each other so much. They’ve grown to be very good friends, [from] very different backgrounds. But they’re great competitors, they’ve been great for Georgia. 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.”
While Wyatt’s numbers fail to jump out at you like some of CFB’s most heralded front four defenders this fall like Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson or Purdue’s George Karlaftis—nor will he showcase the pressure rate of South Carolina’s Kingsley Enagbare—but with a much larger frame then the aforementioned edge defenders, his ability to consistently push the pocket as a defensive tackle, creating chaos within opposing backfields, has remained consistent with the dominance that has been Georgia’s defense through 11 weeks. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
The anchor alongside Davis within an aggressive, sideline-to-sideline defense that has allowed a nation-low 7.60 points per game (an insanely low total), Wyatt’s decision to return to school this past summer, instead of entertaining his NFL ideals, has only heightened his professional ceiling.
While Wyatt has a ways to go in the finer details of occupying the A-gaps at the next level, as he needs work in understanding gap discipline while keeping opposing linemen off his chest, a well-experienced athlete with SEC pedigree, Wyatt will have more than an opportunity to prove himself as we project Wyatt’s potential impact on Sundays.
A defense littered with day one and day two talent that will be leaned on heavily to carry the Bulldogs to its first-ever CFP title, Wyatt has become another Georgia game-wrecker to game plan for as we inch toward the postseason. A veteran presence whose decision to return back to campus has seen him reap the benefits with his NFL draft stock, Wyatt’s impact has quickly formed a dynamic interior tandem alongside Davis currently unmatched by any program in college football.