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College football: Georgia defensive stars Dean, Walker, Cine to enter NFL Draft

College football: Georgia defensive stars Dean, Walker, Cine to enter NFL Draft
Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Nakobe Dean celebrates after his team’s 33-18 win over Alabama in the 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship Game on Monday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 14 (UPI) — Just a few days removed from their national title win over the Alabama Crimson Tide, Georgia Bulldogs defensive stars Nakobe Dean, Travon Walker and Lewis Cine all declared for the 2022 NFL Draft on Friday.

In addition, Bulldogs junior running back Zamir White, senior offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer and junior wide receiver George Pickens announced their intentions to enter this year’s draft. Earlier this week, senior tailback James Cook said he was leaving with one year of eligibility left.

Dean, a junior linebacker, finished second on the Bulldogs in tackles (72) and sacks (six) this past season and also notched two interceptions. He is widely considered the best linebacker prospect in the 2022 draft class.

Walker, a projected first-round draft pick, tied Dean for second on the Bulldogs with six sacks. The junior defensive lineman also compiled a career-best 37 total tackles and two pass breakups for Georgia in 2021.

Cine led the Bulldogs with 73 total tackles and posted a team-best nine passes defensed this past season. The junior safety was named defensive MVP of Georgia’s 33-18 victory over the Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game on Monday after recording seven tackles and one pass breakup.

ESPN lists Cine as the No. 4 safety available in the 2022 draft.

Meanwhile, starting safety Christopher Smith announced he is returning to the Bulldogs next year. He tallied 34 tackles, three interceptions and four pass breakups this past season.

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