Report: Georgia’s JT Daniels, George Pickens in COVID protocol

Georgia's quarterback JT Daniels (18) throws a football prior to their game against Tennessee at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville on Saturday, November 13, 2021. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

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Georgia's quarterback JT Daniels (18) throws a football prior to their game against Tennessee at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville on Saturday, November 13, 2021. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Georgia quarterback JT Daniels and receiver George Pickens are among players who have been placed in COVID-19 protocol, according to a report by DawgNation. Daniels is vaccinated, but Pickens’ vaccination status is unknown.

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The Georgia football medical staff will be offering its players booster shots Wednesday amid the recent surge in COVID-related cases across the sports landscape. Coach Kirby Smart is not expected to be made available to the media to update player statuses until the team arrives in Florida on Sunday.

The No. 3-ranked Bulldogs play No. 2-ranked Michigan at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 31 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., in the Orange Bowl College Football Playoff semifinal.

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Georgia and Michigan have only played each other twice in the history of both programs.The first meeting between the two teams was in Ann Arbor on Oct. 5 1957, when the Wolverines crushed the Bulldogs 26-0.Eight years passed before both teams met again in Ann Arbor on Oct. 2, 1965.The Bulldogs won the second meeting 15-7, led by QB Preston Ridlehuber.The 1965 Georgia team was coached by Vince Dooley, who was in his second season with the Bulldogs.No. 10 Georgia's win was an upset and broke an eight-game winning streak for No. 7 Michigan.The series record between the two teams has remained locked at 1-1 for more than 56 years.Now after more than five decades, Georgia and Michigan will play for only the third time in history at Capital One Orange Bowl on New Year's Eve..The winner will advance to the national title game.The winner will advance to the national title game

Georgia players are expected to take a short break after practice Wednesday for the holidays before reporting back Saturday night and traveling to Florida on Sunday.

Georgia outside linebacker Nolan Smith, a third-year sophomore believed to be angling toward returning for another season, said Tuesday that UGA has tightened its COVID protocols of late.

“Mostly wearing masks in the building, that’s a big thing we have going on, starting back and wearing masks again,” Smith said. “Everyone thought we were done with the masks, and now the masks have come back.”

Smith said the Georgia players are dedicated toward “anything to win games” as well as keeping one another and their respective families’ protected.

“A lot of guys are about to go home to their families,” Smith said. “I’m going to see my grandmom and going to go hunting with my uncle, and I don’t want to get those people sick.”

Bulldogs defensive end Travon Walker, who is among the underclassmen considering declaring himself for the NFL draft, said it has been an item of discussion.

“We don’t want to lose any players to something we can kind of prevent, by putting back on our masks, so that has been a conversation,” Walker said. “It’s by choice, but the type of team we have, the guys don’t want to risk missing the game because it’s so big to us, so we’re starting to put back our masks on our own.”