Editor’s note: Each day between now and Georgia’s Capital One Bowl date with Nebraska, we will review the season for a key Bulldogs player and attempt to project what’s next. Today we’ll look at linebacker Alec Ogletree.
No. 9 Alec Ogletree
98 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss
Role in 2012: Once Ogletree returned from suspension, he lived up to all of the hype about his NFL potential, leading the team with 98 tackles in just nine games.
The good: The junior’s athleticism and sideline-to-sideline speed helped him win All-SEC recognition despite missing the first four games. Ogletree posted double-digit tackles in seven of nine games and has led Georgia in tackles in 12 of the last 14 games in which he appeared. He’s also second on the team behind Jarvis Jones with 8.5 tackles for a loss. Ogletree’s play in the second half was a key factor in the Bulldogs’ defensive improvement.
The bad: Ogletree has been a Bulldog for three years and still has not played a full season because of either injuries or disciplinary issues. Should he leave school for the NFL after the bowl game, there will always be questions about how much he could have accomplished had he been available for a full season -- particularly this fall, when he quite possibly might have joined Jones on All-America lists if he stretched his tackling tear over an entire season.
Crystal ball: There’s a reason why ESPN’s Mel Kiper ranks Ogletree as a top-10 overall NFL prospect and the No. 2 inside linebacker behind only Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o. He has off-the-charts physical ability that will make him a wealthy man whenever he decides to enter the draft. Pro teams will doubtlessly look deep into his disciplinary issues at Georgia, but Ogletree is still going to wow them with his athleticism at the scouting combine.