Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree leaves the field after Georgia's heartbreaking loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.
Photo: Brant Sanderlin / bsanderlin@ajc.com
Photo: Brant Sanderlin / bsanderlin@ajc.com

Ogletree will be on the hot seat at the NFL combine

He will have to explain his DUI arrest, four-game suspension at UGA

With the NFL scouting combine set to start on Wednesday, former Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree’s recent arrest for driving under the influence came at a horribly bad time and could cost him millions of dollars.

Ogletree, one of the top prospects in the NFL draft, was recently arrested in Arizona and charged with driving under the influence, according to his Atlanta-based agent Pat Dye Jr.

“My client Alec Ogletree was pulled over for speeding and a lane violation in Arizona,” Dye said in a statement released to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Saturday night. “After the officers smelled alcohol, they conducted tests and also cited him for DUI. Although Alec regrets this incident terribly, he is thankful that there was no accident and that no one was hurt. Because this matter is still pending, we cannot comment further publicly at this time.”

During the combine, players will complete drills, have medical exams and interview with the 32 NFL teams. During the interview process, Ogletree, who’s one of 29 players with Georgia connections invited to the combine, will be expected to explain his recent brush with the law along with his four-game suspension at UGA for violating the school’s marijuana-use policy this past season.

Ogletree, 21, of Newnan, is projected to be selected in the top 25 players by several draft analysts. Some have Ogletree being selected as high as eighth by Buffalo and as low as 23rd by Minnesota.

It could be costly if Ogletree slides in the draft. The monetary difference in the 8th and 23nd picks last season was roughly $4.5 million.

Some of the other top players with Georgia connections headed to the combine are defensive end Jarvis Jones (formerly Columbus Carver/Georgia), offensive guard Chance Warmack (Westlake High/Alabama), defensive tackle John Jenkins (Georgia) and linebacker Kevin Minter (Peachtree Ridge/LSU).

UGA will be represented by 11 players. Georgia Tech has two players that were invited in tackle Terence Barnes and cornerback Rod Sweeting. Georgia Southern safety J.J. Wilcox and Valdosta State offensive guard Edmund Kugbila (Central Gwinnett High) were also invited.

“They (were) just loaded with players,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said of the Bulldogs. “(Georgia) had a super amount of talent there.”

While Jones, Ogletree and Jenkins head up the Georgia contingent, Kiper also likes wide receiver Tavarres King, linebacker Cornelius Washington, cornerback Sanders Commings and safeties Bacarri Rambo and Shawn Williams.

“Georgia was so close to being the national championship team this year and the talent was there,” Kiper said. “When you talk about King, he had a good Senior Bowl week. There are going to be a ton of prospects that are going to be drafted high.”

Also, former UGA players wide receiver Marlon Brown, defensive tackle Kwame Geathers and defensive end Arby Jones, were invited.

Kiper has Jarvis Jones rated as the top player on his Big Board, which is his overview of the most talented players in the draft. NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock has Ogletree rated as the top inside linebacker in the draft.

“I’m so impressed with the talent here and the knowledge of football in the Southeast,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. “We have the opportunity to live in Georgia, which such top-notch athletes. It makes our life just a little bit easier as an evaluating group.”

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay has Alabama’s Warmack highly-rated.

“Chance Warmack, maybe the best player in this draft, forget the positions, just in terms of grades,” McShay said. “He graded out the highest of any player that I did in the preseason. He’s still right there with the highest grade, tied with some other guys right now.”

A couple of local players who have intriguing pro prospects are former Jacksonville State wide receiver Alan Bonner, who played at Newnan High and former Auburn tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen, who played at Lassiter High.

Bonner became Jacksonville State’s all-time career leader in punt return yards (972) and punt returns (87), while ranking second in pass receiving yards (1,986) and pass receiving touchdowns (20).

“I think he develops into a very good player,” Kiper said of Bonner.

Lutzenkirchen’s senior season was cut short by a hip injury.

“He can be a productive (flex) tight end,” McShay said. “He has a knack for catching the ball (and) for getting open in the red zone.”

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