A look at the 38 local players invited to the NFL scouting combine

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

Thirty-eight players with Georgia connections have been invited to the NFL scouting combine, which begins Tuesday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

The number is up from 32 who were invited in 2020.

There was no combine last season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2016, 26 players with Georgia ties competed at the combine. In 2015, there were 37. In 2014, 23 players participated. In 2013, there were 29, and in 2012, there were 26.

There also were more than 30 players (31) in 2011.

The AJC at the NFL scouting combine

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Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton, a potential top-five NFL draft pick who played at Marist, heads the list of local players on the list of more than 300 players who have been invited.

The first on-field drills will start Thursday.

Here’s a look at each of the players with local ties:

Andrew Booth, 6-foot, 200 pounds, CB, Clemson (Archer HS): Considered the third-best cornerback in the draft pre-combine behind LSU’s Derek Stingley and Cincinnati’s Ahmad Gardner. He left Clemson after his junior season. He had 75 tackles, 5.5 for loss, 10 pass breakups and five interceptions. He played 981 defensive snaps over 35 career games and made 15 starts. He was a first-team All-ACC selection in 2021. He was an AJC Super 11 member in 2018 and was the first consensus five-star cornerback from Georgia since Branden Smith of Washington High School in 2009.

Jake Camarda, 6-2, 180, P, Georgia (Norcross HS): He averaged 45.7 yards per punt over his career to move past 2009 Ray Guy Award winner Drew Butler (45.4) in the UGA record book. He punted 47 times in 2021 for an average of 46.7 yards, with a long of 68 yards against Alabama. He also had a 63-yarder against Kentucky, a 62-yarder against Tennessee and a 61-yarder against Charleston Southern.

Lewis Cine, 6-1, 200, CB, Georgia: He was a third-team AP All-American last season, was All-SEC first team by the AP and second-team All-SEC by the coaches. He was a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, which goes to the nation’s top cornerback. He was highly productive during Georgia’s run to the national title last season. He was UGA’s leading tackler with 73 last season and also had a team-high nine pass breakups. He was named the defensive MVP of the College Football Playoff Championship game. He has a 6.23 rating by NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein, which denotes to be projected as a backup in the NFL with the potential to develop into a starter.

James Cook, 5-11, 190, RB, Georgia: NFL teams want to know why he pulled out of the Senior Bowl. He mostly was a backup as he played in 15 games and made only three starts in 2021. He rushed 113 times for 728 yards and seven touchdowns. He had a career-high 112 yards receiving in the Orange Bowl and had a career-long run of 67 yards in the national title game. He didn’t run with power at times but has big-play ability. He’s rated as a potential third-down back, who’ll need to get better in pass protection. A good fit for outside zone teams.

Yusuf Corker, 5-11 ½, 204, S, Kentucky (Woodland): An under-the-radar prospect. He was a three-year starter for the Wildcats and does not shy away from contact when playing against the run. He was voted a two-time captain by his teammates. He played 50 games over his career, with 37 consecutive starts. He finished with 240 tackles, 14 pass breakups and three interceptions. He was second-team All-SEC as a junior in 2020 and graduated in May 2021 with an economics degree.

Jordan Davis, 6-6, 340, DT, Georgia: The big guy won the 2021 Outland Trophy, the Chuck Bednarik Award, and was a near-consensus first-team All-American selection after helping to lead the Bulldogs to the national title. He’s the 27th-rated player overall by CBS Sports. He was one of four permanent team captains, as voted by his teammates. He played all 15 games and started in 14. He finished last season with 32 tackles, 5.5 for loss, and two quarterback sacks.

Nakobe Dean, 6-0, 225, LB, Georgia: He was the 2021 Dick Butkus Award winner, which goes to the nation’s top linebacker. He was an Associated Press first-team selection. “Explosive, three-down linebacker with the demeanor and quickness to become a volume tackler while holding down third-down duties at a high level,” according to NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein. “Dean’s play recognition is a work in progress, which limits reaction time and forces him to deal with more blockers than he’ll see as he gains more experience.”

Kingsley Enagbare, 6-4, 260, DE, South Carolina (Hapeville Charter Academy): He was a first-team All-SEC pick in 2020. He had a strong showing at the Senior Bowl, which helped to improve his draft status. He started his career inside at defensive tackle. He helped to guide the Hornets to a 14-1 record and a Georgia Class 2A state championship as a senior.

Joshua Ezeudu, 6-4, 325, OL, North Carolina (Archer HS): Played guard for the Tar Heels and started 11 of 12 games as a junior last season. The offense averaged 35.2 points per game and 468.2 total yards, including 212.5 yards rushing. He played 737 snaps last season, including a season-high 84 against Wake Forest. He played 657 snaps in 2020. Helped lead Archer to the Georgia 7A state quarterfinals as a senior and was named first-team All-Gwinnett.

Jeremiah Gemmel, 6-1, 225, LB, North Carolina (East Coweta HS): He started all 13 games at inside linebacker and was named third-team All-ACC. He finished second on the team with 75 tackles, a team- leading seven quarterback hurries, 5.5 tackles for loss, three pass breakups, an interception and a forced fumble. He was named first-team all-state in 7A and was named to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s All-Metro team as a senior.

Tyler Goodson, 5-10, 199, RB, Iowa (North Gwinnett HS): He had a productive three-year career for the Hawkeyes. He rushed 533 times for 2,551 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also caught 70 passes for 565 yards and a touchdown. “Runner with average size and athleticism, and below-average toughness to add yardage beyond what his offensive line creates for him,” NFL draft analyst Lance Zierlein said. “Goodson played in Iowa’s zone-heavy run scheme but lacks elements like vision and decisiveness, which are usually associated with successful zone runners on the pro level.”

Kyle Hamilton, 6-4, 220, DB, Notre Dame (Marist School): He’s ranked third overall in the draft by CBS Sports’ prospect listing. He has great range and shows up at the ball. He recently ran a 4.45 while training in Los Angeles. Finished his career with 136 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, eight interceptions and 24 pass breakups. He was the first AJC Super 11 from Marist since Bartley Miller in 2001. He scored a 30 on the ACT, which put him in the 93rd percentile. He has a high football IQ.

Kevin Harris, 5-10, 220, RB, South Carolina (Bradwell Institute): He rushed 358 times for 1,975 yards and 23 touchdowns over three seasons. He also caught 36 passes for 280 yards and a touchdown. Probably should have returned to school. In 2020, he had 206 carries for 1,317 yards, which ranked 31st on the school’s all-time list. He is one of only two Gamecocks, along with Falcons running back Mike Davis, to own two carries of 75 yards or longer.

Connor Heyward, 6-3, 230, TE, Michigan State (Peachtree Ridge HS): Son of the late Craig Heyward and Charlotte Heyward. Big brother Cam plays for the Steelers, and other brother Corey played basketball at Georgia Tech from 2013 to 2017. Was a four-year letter winner for the Spartans and played in 49 games, including 28 starts. Started his career as a running back. He finished his career with 211 carries for 825 yards rushing and five touchdowns. He also caught 96 passes for 711 yards and six touchdowns.

Christopher Hinton, 6-4, 310, DL, Michigan (Greater Atlanta Christian): He was named All-Big Ten honorable mention by the coaches and the media last season. He was a two-time letterman, playing in 32 games and making 19 starts. He’s the son of former Atlanta Falcons and NFL standout Chris Hinton. He was an AJC Super 11 selection in 2018.

Derion Kendrick, 5-11 ½, 202, CB, Georgia: He played at Clemson from 2018 to 2020. Last season with Georgia, he started all 15 games and finished with 41 tackles, a team-high four interceptions, three quarterback pressures and three pass breakups. He was named to the All-SEC second team by The Associated Press and the coaches. “Concerns over character and maturity appear to be a bigger issue for him,” NFL draft analyst Lance Zierlein said. “Talent and those concerns need to be weighed, but Kendrick has CB3/CB4 potential in the right scheme.”

DeAngelo Malone, 6-4, 240, DE, Western Kentucky (Cedar Grove HS): He started all 14 games and had 94 tackles, 17.5 for loss, and nine sacks. He used his super-senior season to earn his fifth letter. He was named the defensive player of the year in Conference USA by the league’s head coaches. He started 53 games over his career.

Zakoby McClain, 6-0, 219, LB, Auburn (Valdosta HS): Had a highly productive career and finished with 267 career tackles, including 96 last season. Plays well in space and will have to make it on special teams in the NFL.

Smoke Monday, 6-3, 199, S, Auburn (Carver HS): He finished his career with 171 tackles, five interceptions and five pass breakups. He had a 36-yard pick six with 31 seconds left to help avert an upset against Georgia State. He was ejected for targeting in the first half against Georgia.

Chigoziem Okonkwo, 6-2, 244, TE, Maryland (Hillgrove HS): He caught 52 passes for 447 yards and five touchdowns last season. It was the second-most receptions by a tight end in program history behind Frank Wycheck’s 58 in 1990. It was the most receiving yards by a Maryland tight end since Vernon Davis had 871 in 2005. Didn’t play in 2020 as he sat out for medical reasons. Played some tight end and wide receiver earlier in his career.

Dylan Parham, 6-3, 285, OL, Memphis (Carrollton HS): He started 11 games at right guard and did not allow a sack over 545 pass protection snaps. He helped the Tigers rank 16th nationally in passing offense (298.8) and 38th in total offense (434.9). He started 11 games at right tackle in 2020. Started at left guard as a sophomore and freshman.

George Pickens, 6-3, 200, WR, Georgia: Battled from a right knee injury suffered in March to play late in the 2021 season. Made his debut against Georgia Tech, caught two passes for 41 yards in the SEC title game and caught a key 52-yard reception in the CFP title game. He’s the 40th-ranked prospect for the draft by CBS Sports and needs a strong combine workout and successful interviews with teams to move into the first round of the draft.

Dameon Pierce, 5-9, 200, RB, Florida (Bainbridge HS): He played in 13 games and rushed 100 times for 574 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also caught 19 passes for 216 yards and three touchdowns. “It’s a fun afternoon of tape study watching Pierce play the game like a coiled spring ready to explode on each snap,” NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein said. “He’s an urgent runner with twitchy downfield burst, tackle-breaking leg drive and outstanding balance through contact.” He was an AJC Super 11 selection in 2017.

Jamaree Salyer, 6-3, 320, OL, Georgia (Pace Academy): He was one of four permanent team captains, as voted on by the players. He started at left tackle in 11 of 15 games and has played a lot at right tackle. He played 79% of Georgia’s offensive snaps. He had 10 “knockdown” blocks and gave up only two hurries and no sacks last season.

Braylon Sanders, 6-0, 190, WR, Mississippi (Callaway HS): Over his five-year career, Sanders caught 69 passes for 1,453 yards and 10 touchdowns. He has speed, averaging 21.1 yards per catch.

Myjai Sanders, 6-5, 258, DE/LB, Cincinnati (Camden County HS): He had 13.5 sacks and 24.5 tackles for loss over his career. He was one of the main forces on a defense that ranked No. 1 nationally in pass efficiency allowed (100.47), fourth in opponent completions (53.5%) and third in interceptions (18). He had a strong showing rushing off the edge at the Senior Bowl.

Justin Shaffer, 6-4, 330, OL, Georgia (Cedar Grove HS): He was named to the All-SEC second team by The Associated Press and the coaches. He started at left guard in all 15 of Georgia’s games and played 88% of the offensive snaps, including every play in five games: Clemson, Kentucky, Florida, Michigan and Alabama. Played some left guard earlier in his career.

Lecitus Smith, 6-3, 315, OL, Virginia Tech (Fitzgerald HS): He started 10 games, nine at left guard and one at left tackle, last season for the Hokies. He started 11 games at left guard in 2020 as Virginia Tech led the ACC in rushing (240.1 yards per game) and helped to open the path for 27 rushing touchdowns.

Baylon Spector, 6-2, 229, LB, Clemson (Calhoun HS): He was a two-year starter at weakside linebacker for the Tigers. He had 210 tackles over his career, 22 tackles for loss, nine sacks, four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. He played 1,456 defensive snaps over 53 games (21 starts).

Juanyeh Thomas, 6-3, 217, S, Georgia Tech: He played in 47 games and started 32 of 33 games at safety over his final three seasons. He finished with 215 tackles and four interceptions. As a freshman in 2018, he returned two kickoffs (77 and 100 yards) and an interception (95 yards) for touchdowns.

Channing Tindall, 6-2, 230, LB, Georgia: He was named to the All-SEC second team by The Associated Press after the 2021 season. He was the Bulldogs’ third-leading tackler with 67. He had a strong showing in the CFP title game against Alabama as he matched his career high of eight tackles. He also had 1.5 tackles for loss, a sack and five quarterback pressures. He’s ranked as the 75th-best prospect in this draft by CBS Sports.

Quay Walker, 6-4, 240, LB, Georgia (Crisp Co. HS): He had a career-high 13 tackles against Florida in 2021. He started all 15 games and finished with 67 tackles and 25 quarterback pressures. He is the 52nd-ranked prospect by CBS Sports. “Quay Walker can play off the ball, can cover the tight end and is real physical,” NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said. “He’s got tremendous range. I think he probably goes in the second round would be my guess in this draft.”

Travon Walker, 6-5, 275, DT, Georgia (Upson-Lee HS): He had a career-high seven quarterback pressures in the CFP title game against Alabama. He started all 15 games at defensive tackle and had 37 tackles, six sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss and a team-high 36 quarterback hurries. He played 56% of the defensive snaps. He was an AJC Super 11 selection in 2018. Walker was an all-state power forward on Upson-Lee’s basketball team, which won two state titles.

Jaylen Watson, 6-1, 188, CB, Washington State (Laney HS): Started his career at Ventura College and was named Junior College Bureau All-American first team. He signed to play at USC but didn’t enroll. He reportedly ran a 4.46 in JUCO. Has a reputation for being a hard hitter and plays receivers very physical.

Zamir White, 6-0, 215, RB, Georgia: Rushed for a career-high 136 yards against Kentucky in 2020. He played in all 15 games and started 12 last season. He was one of the four permanent captains for the Bulldogs and was the leading rusher for the second consecutive season. He finished with 856 yards rushing on 160 carries. He finished his career ranked 15th on Georgia’s all-time rushing list with 2,043 yards. He’s rated at 6.25 by NFL.com, which projects him to be a good backup and possible starter.

Malik Willis, 6-1, 215, QB, Liberty (Roswell HS, Westlake HS): Started his career at Auburn, before entering the transfer portal and ending up at Liberty. In 2020, he completed 64.2% of his passes for 2,250 yards, 20 touchdowns and six interceptions. He added 944 yards rushing and 14 more touchdowns. Last season, he completed 61.1% of his passes for 2,857 yards, 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He also rushed for 878 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Jelani Woods, 6-7, 275, TE, Virginia (Cedar Grove HS): Played the past two seasons at Virginia after starting his career at Oklahoma State. He played in 11 of 12 games and made 10 starts in 2021. He caught five passes for 122 yards and a touchdown against Illinois. The 122 yards were the most by a Virginia tight end since the 2005 season. His eight touchdown receptions were the most by an ACC tight end and the fourth most in the nation. The eight TDs were second most in a season in school history, second to Heath Miller (nine in 2002).

Devonte Wyatt, 6-3, 315, DT, Georgia (Towers HS): He was named second-team All-American by The Associated Press and CBS. He was named first-team All-SEC by the coaches and second team by The Associated Press. Played in 14 of 15 games and had 39 tackles and 27 quarterback pressures. “He’s going to go fly up the board because everyone is trying to find interior pass rushers,” NFL draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said.

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