The Georgia Bulldogs arrived in Orlando on Wednesday, except for the biggest one.
Senior nose guard John Jenkins will not play in Tuesday's Capital One Bowl against Nebraska due to what coach Mark Richt called an "academic-related issue." Richt said the 6-foot-3, 358-pounder did not make the trip and that there were no other academic casualties.
Jenkins has started all 13 games for the 11-2 Bulldogs, amassing 50 tackles, 15 quarterback hurries, two tackles for loss and one sack of Alabama's AJ McCarron in the SEC title game. He was a second-team All-SEC selection according to league coaches and the media.
"I think John Jenkins has been awesome for Georgia," Richt told reporters after the team arrived at the Renaissance Orlando Hotel. "I am really proud of everything he has accomplished for us. I just really want to wish him the very best. He has been a blessing for our program."
Junior Kwame Geathers is slated to start for Jenkins, and the Bulldogs may not suffer a net loss on their defensive front if senior end Abry Jones returns from an ankle injury. Jones played in Georgia's first seven games this season, making six starts.
Georgia's defensive line is being coached in the bowl by coordinator Todd Grantham following last week's departure of defensive line coach Rodney Garner.
Jenkins participated in Georgia's on-campus bowl media day on Dec. 12, but he never practiced. He was hoping to help the defense atone for allowing 350 rushing yards to the Crimson Tide.
"This gives us another opportunity to prove that we're a good defense," Jenkins said, "but after a game like that, I feel like we have a lot of believers as well. I just want us to go out with a bang in playing with each other one last time. That's the main point of this game for us."
Nebraska ranks eighth nationally in rushing yards with 254.5 a game, which is an average that would lead the SEC.
Jenkins, who is from Meriden, Conn., has played for the Bulldogs the past two years after starting his college career at Mississippi's Gulf Coast Community College. He tallied 28 tackles, six tackles for loss and three sacks for the Bulldogs last season.
"When I came here, the program was a little different," Jenkins said. "It wasn't the program that we all see today. I gave my word when I signed here that I was going to do whatever I could to help change the program around, and that was my job for two years."
Jenkins is rated by longtime NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper as the No. 19 prospect in the 2013 draft, and he will play in next month's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.
Odds and ends
The Bulldogs are scheduled to practice this morning before attending Universal Studios this afternoon. ... Each Georgia and Nebraska player will receive an $80 watch from the Capital One Bowl and a Best Buy gift card with a $470 maximum. The Bulldogs are scheduled to go on their spending spree Sunday night.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...