More from ex-Georgia Bulldogs on Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine

INDIANAPOLIS — A.D. Mitchell exemplifies the “Big Game” receiver tag as much as any wideout in recent history, and he has the numbers to prove it.

Mitchell finished his collegiate career at Texas in 2023 after catching touchdown passes in all four of Georgia’s College Football Playoff games as the Bulldogs won the 2021 and 2022 national championships.

A projected late first-round NFL draft pick, Mitchell shared the value of playing for Kirby Smart during his podium interview Friday at the Indiana Convention Center during the NFL Scouting Combine.

“Them couple years, I grew a lot there,” said Mitchell, who transferred to the Austin school to be closer to his 2-year-old daughter, Lcylinn, in Texas.

“Georgia isn’t for the weak, I’ll definitely say that. You go there, you’re expected to work, you’re expected to grind, and most importantly, you’re expected to grow on the field as a player and off the field as a person.”

Mitchell certainly took care of business on the field for the Longhorns, winning Big 12 Newcomer of the Year honors with a 55-catch, 845-yard, 11-TD season.

Mitchell explained how his success came from the hard lessons he learned in the blue-collar Bulldogs program.

“You’re going to go through a lot over there, a lot of hard times,” Mitchell said. “You’re going to reach the highs when you are winning, and you’re going to reach the lows when you’re getting into the workouts.

“But it definitely meant a lot. I learned a lot just being under coach Kirby and during my time with (offensive coordinator Todd) Monken over there, I learned a lot from those guys.”

And, as noted, Mitchell got things done in the clutch, scoring four of his seven touchdowns at Georgia in the Bulldogs’ CFP games.

Mitchell scored what proved to be the game-winning touchdown in the Bulldogs’ 33-18 win over Alabama following the 2021 regular season here in Indianapolis.

One year later, Mitchell emerged from an injured-filled season to pull down a 10-yard TD pass with 54 seconds left in the CFP Peach Bowl semifinal that lifted that lifted Georgia to a 42-41 win over Ohio State.

Mitchell finished his career with the Bulldogs in Georgia’s 65-7 CFP Championship game win over TCU, reeling in a 22-yard touchdown pass with 26 seconds left in the first half that gave UGA a 38-7 halftime lead.

For all the on-field success, Mitchell said he also learned at Georgia how team chemistry is key to championship seasons.

“Winning starts in the locker room, it starts with the connection with your teammates, it doesn’t just start on the field,” Mitchell said.

“Before we even get to the games, I can connect with the guys, because that was all it was about, connection was the main thing.”

First-round Ladd?

Ladd McConkey has been a fast riser in the NFL draft evaluation process after an impressive performance at the Senior Bowl, seemingly uncoverable in the drill work at the annual all-star game in Mobile, Alabama, in January.

“I feel like I’m a guy that can play everywhere,” McConkey said, asked about the value he will bring to an NFL team.

“I think I had double the snaps outside as I did inside in college, but I feel comfortable at both positions.”

The ex-Bulldog McConkey originally was pegged as a slot receiver, but his ability to get off press coverage at the line of scrimmage, and the raw speed he displayed in drills, has teams rethinking his potential as a feature receiver who can line up outside.

As much as anyone, McConkey’s time in the 40-yard dash in the combine workouts Saturday will be scrutinized.

Burton clears air

Former Georgia receiver Jermaine Burton, who won a national title with the Bulldogs before playing his final two seasons at Alabama, said his playful interactions with UGA students after the SEC Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in December was “really just having fun with the fans.”

Burton expressed his gratitude for his time at Georgia, praising Smart for the lessons he learned in Athens in 2020 and 2021.

“Really structure and discipline are two of the great things I got from Georgia, and (I) really appreciate it,” Burton said, “because it carries on with you into the future as you transition and mature into the player you really want to be.”

Burton said there wasn’t much difference between Georgia and the Alabama program he played in, formerly coached by Nick Saban.

“Really, just two great programs,” Burton said. “Kirby Smart is really a leader, and it was the same thing with Saban.”

Bowers digging combine

Ex-UGA tight end Brock Bowers said he’s living out visions at the combine that started in his childhood.

“Being here, you think about when you’re growing up and watching it on TV,” Bowers said Thursday. “It’s just kind of cool being here. Just being here is cool.”

Bowers is projected to be drafted in the first round of the draft, which is set for April 25-27.

“I’d just say versatility,” Bowers said about what he’ll bring to the NFL. “I feel like I can kind of do it all and be a mismatch for defenses. Just my overall football knowledge and trying to see what defense are going to try to do. Just knowing what I should do when I see stuff.”