College future up in air as Georgia’s Brock Bowers undergoes surgery

Star tight end has ‘tight-rope procedure’ on ankle

ATHENS -- UGA confirmed Monday morning that Brock Bowers suffered a high-ankle sprain on Saturday and immediately will undergo surgery. But the most difficult decision for the star tight end still lies ahead.

The tight-rope surgery to repair a high-ankle sprain requires on average a recovery time of six to eight weeks. Starting right tackle Amarius Mims underwent the same surgery on Sept. 18 and has yet to return.

Bowers, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound junior and two-time All-American, projects not only as an NFL first-round draft pick, but a potential first-five selection in April. As such, Bowers and his considerable management team could choose to shut him down for the rest of his college career and have him concentrate on recovering and preparing for the NFL combine in February.

However, Bowers could choose to come back for a College Football Playoff run if one is in the offing for the two-time defending national champion Bulldogs. Due to his on-field success and numerous Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) opportunities over the last two seasons, he is represented by a considerable management team. Along with Bowers and his parents, that group ultimately will decide whether he will continue his collegiate career.

Bowers went down with 7:24 remaining in the second quarter after he was tackled on the sideline at the end of a 14-yard run off a reverse down to the 11 by Vanderbilt defensive back Savion Riley. Bowers tried to walk back to the huddle after the play -- which was nullified due to a holding call against quarterback Carson Beck -- but stopped at the numbers on the far side of the field, fell to his knees and punched the artificial turf with his right fist.

After being helped off the field and attended to in the medical tent on Georgia’s sideline, Bowers was escorted out of the stadium and taken for a magnetic resonance imaging MRI exam. The Bulldogs knew what they were dealing with before their plane left Nashville.

“Next man up,” Beck said after the game. “That’s what we’re all about here at Georgia.”

In Bowers’ absence, sophomore Oscar Delp moved into the primary tight end role and freshman Lawson Luckie came off the bench to fill in primarily as a blocker. Delp finished with two catches for 32 yards and Luckie did not have a reception.

“I was proud of them,” Smart said. “... Those guys practice every day. They take all of the same reps. I thought our guys did a great job.”

As for Bowers, he finished the day with 43 yards all-purpose yards on two catches and two runs. For the season, Bowers leads the Bulldogs as usual with 85 all-purpose yards per game. He’s Georgia’s leading receiver with 567 yards and 4 touchdowns on 41 receptions and 28 yards rushing on seven attempts.

As it stands, Bowers would finish his Georgia career fifth in receiving with 2,395 yards, sixth in receptions with 160 and second in touchdown catches with 24. He would leave unchallenged as the greatest tight end ever to play for the Bulldogs.

Georgia tight end Oscar Delp (4) leaps over the tackle attempt of UAB safety Ike Rowell (4) during the second quarter at Sanford Stadium, Saturday, September 23, 2023, in Athens, Ga. (Jason Getz /


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