Loss could motivate Moses to stay

ATHENS – If there's a bright side to the defeat Georgia suffered Monday night in the Sugar Bowl, it's that it may convince junior defensive end Quentin Moses to remain a Bulldog.

"It's a decision where I have to sit down with my family and get their input and try to figure out what's best for me because that's most important," said Quentin Moses, who is considering skipping his senior season to enter the NFL Draft. "It's a decision you have to live with the rest of your life, but it's hard to go out on a sour note like this when you have an opportunity to come back and try to correct it."

Tight end Leonard Pope, the only other Georgia player believed to be considering an early departure, said Monday night that he will leave school this offseason.

"I'm gone, man," he said. "I've thought about it a lot and talked with my coaches and prayed about it a lot and pretty much come to the decision that I'm going to probably leave."

That leaves Moses as the only question mark. He had two tackles and one sack against the Mountaineers and finished the season with 44 tackles and 11.5 sacks. He was voted first-team All-SEC by the league's coaches and media members.

"Obviously, we want him to come back, but we'll help him with that decision if he asks our opinion," defensive coordinator Willie Martinez said. "We know that whatever his decision, we'll support it."

Moses is the fifth-best junior defensive lineman in the country, according to Mel Kiper of ESPN. Pope is the No. 2 junior tight end in the country, according to Kiper, but this also is a strong year for elite senior tight ends. Coach Mark Richt said Tuesday that he hasn't given up hope on Pope returning to Athens next season.

"I think Leonard is still thinking it through," he said. "I don't think he's 100 percent sure."

The Bulldogs are better prepared to withstand the loss of Pope than Moses. At tight end, Georgia has an heir apparent in Martrez Milner and three scholarship tight ends behind him, not to mention highly recruited Na Derris Ward expected to come into the program.

If Moses leaves, Georgia will be without both starting ends from 2005 as Will Thompson has exhausted his eligibility. Charles Johnson is ready to step in at one end, but the other spot would be a question mark.

Juniors have until Jan. 15 to officially enter the NFL Draft.


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