ATHENS – Three of Georgia's underclassmen – fullback Brannan Southerland, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and defensive tackle Jeff Owens – asked the NFL to advise them on their potential status in this year's draft.
The deadline for underclassmen to make a final decision is Tuesday, and none of those three are expected to leave, head coach Mark Richt said. The Bulldogs already have had their first official meeting of the 2008 season, Richt said.
The first order of business in that meeting is to change the seating chart in the team meeting room. Every class moves up, with the seniors taking their traditional spot at the front of the room. Southerland, Ellerbe and Owens, along with the rest of their teammates looked very comfortable there, Richt said.
"I think they enjoyed sitting in the front," he said. "It wasn't that long ago when they were sitting in the back of the room. It kind of is a realization that they're in that leadership role now."
Left unsaid by Richt, but not by many others, is: Why would anyone want to leave at this point? Georgia returns 17 starters from the team that just won seven straight to finish 11-2.
Already, the Bulldogs are the hot team of 2008. ESPN.com and The Mercury News of San Jose, Calif., already have proclaimed Georgia the preseason No. 1, although both outlets admitted their definition of the preseason was so broad as to be a bit ridiculous.
Las Vegas, often as good a prognosticator as any, is on the Bulldogs' bandwagon to some degree. Internet gambling site Bodog has Georgia facing just 6-to-1 odds to win the next BCS crown. Southern Cal is the national favorite at 3-to-1, with Florida and Ohio State joining the Bulldogs in the next group.