Davis: Juniors on Defense coming back

ATHENS - Three days after Georgia's national championship hopes were ended by a loss to Auburn, safety Thomas Davis said he and the rest of the juniors on the Bulldog defense are coming back next year to try it again.

"We got together, and that's our goal," he said after Georgia (8-2, 6-2 SEC) finished practice Tuesday evening. "We're going to come back, and we're going to try to make a run at it. Defensively, that's what we want to do. We feel like we've underachieved as a defense this year. We feel like we could come out and do a lot more than we've accomplished this year. We just want to give it another shot."

Thomas Davis, who leads the Bulldogs with 68 tackles this year, has been considered an almost sure thing to skip his senior season and enter the NFL Draft this offseason. He was quoted last week as saying he was leaning toward leaving Georgia early, but, Tuesday, he said, "I'm going to clear it up, I didn't say that."

"Right now, I'm feeling like there's a lot of unfinished business we have here at the University of Georgia, man," he said. "Right now, it's a definite come back thing for me right now. I still want to win the national championship."

Linebacker Odell Thurman and defensive tackle Gerald Anderson, two other Bulldogs who were considered possibilities for early entry, backed up Davis' claim. Both said Tuesday they plan to be back in Athens next season.

"A lot of people assumed I'm guaranteed to leave this year, but it's not there," said Thurman, who is third on the team with 54 tackles and also has 8.5 tackles for loss. "Coach (Mark) Richt said they would love for me to come back and that's mainly my plan now."

Anderson said he thought at the beginning of the season that he might leave but has changed his mind.

"As it looks now, I'm having fun, I'm enjoying it," said Anderson, who has 27 tackles this year. "There's nothing like coming back for your senior year and enjoying your senior year, and that's what I think I'm going to do right now is go ahead of come back."

Offensive lineman Max Jean-Gilles Davis wasn't part of the defensive meeting, but he joined the chorus, as well.

"There's probably a good chance I'll be back, really," he said. "I don't know where I'm at right now in the draft so I'm probably going to say I'll come back."

Jean-Gilles did say he would think more about his options after the Nov. 27 Georgia Tech game.

Coach Mark Richt said this would be the week he talked to his NFL-caliber juniors to see what they were thinking about the draft. "I'll talk to these guys and sort of see what's on their mind," he said. "It's a good time to do it."

Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder avoided the subject all together.

"I'm not going to talk about that," he said, "and I don't want them talking about it."

Davis was asked Tuesday if he thought his stance might change once he was further removed from Saturday's disappointing loss.

"I feel like we're pretty far removed from the Tennessee loss, and I haven't changed my mind," he said.

Even if he was guaranteed a spot in the first round of the draft? "I still don't have a national championship ring," he said, "and I feel like we can get that here."

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