There are some very apparent reasons why the Texas defensive coordinator opening would appeal to Dan Lanning.
For starters, he’d get more autonomy running the defense, as Georgia head coach Kirby Smart will always have his fingerprints on Georgia’s defense. There’s also the fact that Texas was very likely able to give him a raise from the $1.25 million he’s set to earn as Georgia’s defensive coordinator.
The Longhorns are reportedly set to pay new special teams coordinator and tight ends coach Jeff Banks $1.0 million a year. That is more than Georgia tight ends coach Todd Hartley and special teams coordinator Scott Cochran make combined.
But Lanning passed on the millions to remain at Georgia. Despite Texas’ deep pockets and best efforts, Lanning announced on Friday evening that he’d remain at Georgia.
— Dan Lanning (@CoachDanLanning) January 16, 2021
While he didn’t use the Unfinished Business tagline that JT Daniels and others have this offseason, Lanning wants to accomplish more at Georgia. That should speak volumes, given he was already a Broyles Award finalist for the nation’s top assistant in 2019 and had the SEC’s top defense in 2020 based on yards per play allowed.
When speaking before the Peach Bowl, Lanning explained Georgia’s defense had to get better in catching up with the modern offenses, as both Florida and Alabama hung 40-points and 500-yards on Georgia’s defense this season.
“I think the offensive game, it’s changed a lot,” Lanning said prior to the Peach Bowl. “I think every season we go through and we say, What can we do better? What can we do different? This off-season, I don’t see that being any different.
“We’re going to reassess, evaluate. You have to adapt and change as the offenses adapt and change.”
With Lanning coming back, Georgia figures to have an even better team in 2021. He’ll have his hands full as he must retool Georgia’s secondary, but keeping Lanning in the fold is a win for the Georgia program.
Georgia should have one of the best defensive fronts in the country next season. And after Texas’ failed attempt to grab Lanning, it should have one of the most promising defensive coaches drawing up plays to slow opposing offenses.
Who’s back of the week for Georgia football
As of Monday morning, there were still a few Bulldogs who had not yet made their decisions public as for the 2021 season. Zamir White, Adam Anderson and Jamaree Salyer have NFL level skills, but they had still yet to announce their official intentions.
By Wednesday, all three had made it clear they would be back for Georgia in 2021. Salyer started things off on Monday afternoon. Anderson then followed Monday evening.
White waited until Wednesday to make it official, but Georgia will also have its leading rusher back for the 2021 season.
A simple question: Does UGA have a great running back on its 2021 roster at this point? pic.twitter.com/f17nEXm8nG
— DawgNation (@DawgNation) January 15, 2021
All three players figure to play huge roles at their respective positions groups. White led Georgia in rushing with 779 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. Salyer will shift to guard but still figures to be Georgia’s top offensive lineman next season.
Anderson picked up 6.5 sacks last season for Georgia, impressing in limited snaps. With Jermaine Johnson off to Florida State and Azeez Ojulari in the NFL, Anderson will have even more pass-rushing opportunities for Georgia in 2021.
The official deadline to enter the 2021 NFL Draft is Jan. 18. Even though we’re still a few days from that deadline, Georgia is a winner of this process, as the trio mentioned above joins Daniels, James Cook, Jordan Davis and others returning for Georgia in 2021.
Transfer Portal Talk for Georgia football
It was not all good news for Georgia this week though, as defensive back Tyrique Stevenson entered the transfer portal.
Stevenson is a Miami native, and the Miami Hurricanes are widely expected to ultimately land Stevenson. This is a significant blow for Georgia, as Stevenson was going to be a starter for Georgia’s secondary in 2021. He showed his potential in the win over Cincinnati in the Peach Bowl.
This is the second-straight offseason the Bulldogs have seen a potential starter transfer back home, as Cade Mays did so following the 2019 season. As the transfer portal becomes a bigger and bigger part of college football, it looks like it will be a deterrent to the Georgia program.
Smart spoke about the transfer portal prior to the Peach Bowl and did not hide his feelings about it.
“It’s a need base for us,” Smart said. “If I had my preference, I would rather not use the portal because schools like Cincinnati and Georgia shouldn’t have to, you should be able to go out and recruit the right kind of guys.”
Elsewhere, former Georgia offensive lineman Netori Johnson announced that he would be transferring to Middle Tennessee State.
As for any Arik Gilbert news, there was no movement on this front. The University of Georgia started classes on Wednesday and the drop/add period ends on Jan. 20.
Recruiting updates for Georgia football
DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell got an update from top 2021 prospect Terrion Arnold regarding his new top three of Alabama, Georgia and Florida this week. The talented defensive back is considered the final piece to Georgia’s talented 2021 recruiting class.
In the 2022 class, there was some major news this week as Gunner Stockton officially decommitted from South Carolina. The 5-star quarterback made it official on Wednesday. He is the top-rated dual-threat quarterback in the cycle.
Georgia finished as the runner-up for Stockton when he first committed to South Carolina in August. With Mike Bobo now at Auburn though, the Bulldogs have emerged as a serious contender for Stockton’s services.
Sentell also dropped some news and nuggets on 5-star running back Emmanuel Henderson. He is the top-rated running back for the 2022 recruiting cycle.
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