HOOVER, ALABAMA - It’s UGA’s day at SEC Media Days 2021. On the plane from Athens early Tuesday morning was head coach Kirby Smart, starting quarterback JT Daniels and defensive lineman Jordan Davis.
Davis was asked about his decision to come back to Georgia for another season, playing in his home town of Charlotte Week 1, and his nutrition, which includes a love for Swedish Fish and a dislike of vegetables. Below is the FULL transcript from his time on the main stage in Hoover, Alabama.
THE MODERATOR: We’re now joined by Georgia student-athlete Jordan Davis. I’ll ask him to make an opening comment about the season, and then we’ll take your questions. Jordan, just as you head towards the 2021 season, what are you most looking forward to this season?
JORDAN DAVIS: Full capacity stadium. I’m really excited going towards that. Definitely missed it in the previous season with COVID and everything. Just excited to have everybody and get things running again.
Q. Just wondering, Kirby was talking about the meeting you guys had, talking about vaccinations. What was that meeting like, and what was the discussion like in the locker room when people were deciding to get the shot?
JORDAN DAVIS: Definitely we wanted to put an emphasis on getting vaccinated. Definitely will save us in the long run, at the end of the season, but we also didn’t want it mandated. We wanted to make it a choice for others. I definitely believe that it should be a choice.
Me personally, I got vaccinated, but I know some people who are kind of shy or don’t want to get that now, and I understand that completely.
We just want everybody to be safe and make sure our team is protected during the season.
Q. Can you speak on kind of how the off-the-field stuff that you guys have done, whether it be the skill sessions or just spending time together, how do you feel like that will help you guys meet these expectations that have been set here?
JORDAN DAVIS: I definitely think the key to a successful team is a cohesive team. We need to know the brother beside us. I always say, if you can’t trust the person next to you, then you won’t be willing to play your heart out for them. I take that to full effect.
The skull sessions will be really great because, you know, we’re physically talented, but we need to make sure we’re mentally talented as well. I think these skull sessions and all this mentality will put us up to the next level.
Q. Looking back, how different do you think the outcome of that Florida game would have been if you’d been available and JT had played? And what is JT going to bring to that position this year?
JORDAN DAVIS: I can’t really say for sure. It’s what ifs, and we can’t really look back on it. I always love the opportunity to play in Jacksonville, definitely missed it, but we can only focus on what’s going on to the next season.
Definitely, if I’m able and healthy, then I will definitely play my heart out against them because, after all, it’s a game, it’s another game that we’ve got to play.
Florida is always an exciting time, especially playing in the Jacksonville stadium at neutral ground. I’m definitely ready for that part of the season.
Q. You being from Charlotte, how much did that first game of this coming season factor into your decision to come back, and how much are you sort of looking forward to playing Clemson in that first game?
JORDAN DAVIS: The game at all didn’t factor in my decision coming back. It was more so the team. But it’s definitely exciting, especially being a Charlotte native. I just want to be able to show the city what I can do. I want to be somebody they can brag about in the city: This kid’s from Charlotte. He went to Georgia. He can do it.
So I want to be an inspiration for the kids not only at my high school, but the high schools around the Charlotte area.
Q. On that Clemson game again, it’s a big-time matchup. That’s a team you all could see in the College Football Playoff if you all reach your goals again this year. Just going in the off-season, having a big game like that, does it give you extra motivation going into the season? And adding Clemson transfer Derion Kendrick, do you think that’s going to help you all in your preparation?
JORDAN DAVIS: It’s great to have D.K. here. He’s definitely well acclimated to the culture. Honestly, we treat every game the same. The same level of preparation we have for Clemson is the same level of preparation we’ll have for Georgia Tech and UAB. It doesn’t matter really who we’re playing, it just matters what we do. And at the end of the day, we want to make sure we do enough to win.
Q. I was wondering what your take is on the name, image, and likeness that the players are able to take advantage of, and do you have some stuff lined up right now?
JORDAN DAVIS: Definitely. I definitely think the NIL thing is a great addition to the NCAA. It gives us an opportunity to use our platform for profit, but in terms of me, I haven’t touched it. I’m confused by it, honestly. It’s a lot. But, yeah, I haven’t really done anything. My main focus is just playing because you can’t get an NIL deal if you’re not good at football. So the main focus is just playing football.
Definitely, if you have an opportunity, definitely go for it. I’m all for it.
Q. Jordan, of course, you decided to come back again, and Kirby talked about it earlier today about the different things that played a role outside of just going to the NFL and just getting that big contract. What were some of those things that you considered? And what were some of the advice that you got that maybe you’ll give to others when it’s their time to decide?
JORDAN DAVIS: Going through that process, I had to do a lot of thinking, but it was a relatively easy decision. I felt like I left a lot on the table. I wanted to make sure that I could improve as a player. Not only as a player, but as a person. I love Coach Scott like an uncle. Leaving him and leaving his team was going to be hard for me. I just wanted to savor the moment because I feel like I didn’t really savor my last season or past seasons because I was so rushed.
I feel like this time around I’m really taking my time this season and savoring the moment and enjoying and being grateful for the moment because not a lot of people can be in this position.
Q. To follow up on Bob’s question earlier about NIL, just how do you foresee in the locker room players balancing, trying to build their brand and their own social media presence with trying to stay on an equal footing with one another?
JORDAN DAVIS: I can only speak for myself. I can’t speak for others. Me personally, I’m not really too big on social media. Like I literally got back on just for this event. I definitely think that it does have some influence, but I feel like our culture in Georgia is we want to keep the main thing. The main thing is something that we always go back to, and it’s more than NIL. We want to play. We want to ball. We want to win.
So I definitely think that the team would lock in today, understand that there’s a time and place for everything. There’s a time to expand your business, expand your brand, and there’s a time to play football. So I definitely think that we have that decision to do that.
Q. I’m also from around the Charlotte area. I went to Olympic High School.
JORDAN DAVIS: You went where?
Q. I went to Olympic High School.
JORDAN DAVIS: Yes, sir.
Q. I know Mallard Creek is a pretty big school there football-wise. One, how did that prepare to you play in the SEC, and what are some of the linemen in the SEC that you have to be mindful of this season?
JORDAN DAVIS: Definitely Mallard Creek in high school was definitely hard, but I think it was hard for a reason because our coaches knew what would be at the next level and what it took to get there.
Honestly, the only person I’m looking forward to playing is my old high school teammate Eric Douglas. I didn’t get a chance to play against South Carolina last year, but Eric Douglas is a great player. I have tremendous respect for him. I’m really excited to play against him because we went to the same school, so I’m really excited to get back out there and just be able to go against him, see how good he got and see how well I got.
Q. Kirby said that with the name, image, and likeness stuff, he got a text from Quavo saying don’t be thirsty. What are your thoughts on the head coach kind of having that relationship with someone? And what kind of advice do you think is important to keep in mind throughout this process?
JORDAN DAVIS: I think definitely him and Quavo having a connection is cool, but I don’t think Kirby could name a song that Quavo has been on. Just having that connection is nice. The fact that Quavo was talking about NIL just shows you how tremendous this thing is and how easy it is to get deterred from the main goal.
Everybody, every fan in Dawg Nation wants us to win, but you just have to -- you know, he was right in saying that. You have to keep the main thing the main thing. You don’t want to be too thirsty for these deals where you pass up or miss out or slip up during the season.
Q. Kirby Smart talked about you’ve been up to 370 and down to 330 on weight. What’s an optimum weight you like to play at, and what are some of the personal goals you have for yourself this season?
JORDAN DAVIS: Honestly, I’ve been working with Collier, our nutritionist, and we haven’t even been talking about weight, we’ve been talking about body fat content, or BMI, BMI index. We have this little bio-pod (phonetic) thing we do every two weeks, biweekly. Definitely, the weight, I’m trying to keep control of it. I’m doing more things. I’m drinking smoothies. I’m drinking vegetables. I hate vegetables, but I put them in a smoothie and drink them.
I definitely think it’s a real big impact this off-season because I feel myself more energy, being able to sustain more. When you can sustain more, then you can play more. So hopefully, that will translate down the road in the season.
Q. I’ll follow up on the whole nutrition thing with Collier and all that. What type of dedication did it take personally, I guess, for you to say, okay, I’m going to go into the nutrition room as often as I do, I’m going to achieve all these goals I have in order to get to the condition and the body weight that you thought was optimal?
JORDAN DAVIS: I would say just being honest with myself and just be like, I don’t really need this. I’m a guy who will stay up late. I stay up, I play video games, I make beats. I’m a snacker. So I’ll go in the kitchen and grab Swedish Fish, some Nerds Ropes. I have to switch that. They have organic Swedish Fish that I’m really starting to like. That definitely helps out. I don’t feel guilty when I eat it as when I eat the regular ones.
Just doing the right things. I have people in my circle that helps me motivate myself and helps me motivate them. I want to be not only healthy for football, I want to be healthy for life. So that’s one thing that I’m keeping in mind.
Q. So with everything that went on last year -- no spring practice, no off-season practices or anything like that -- how did it feel to finally get a full off-season in and be ready to go for the upcoming year?
JORDAN DAVIS: I definitely missed spring. That was definitely a big miss, and we missed a pretty good chunk of the summer, but just getting back, that was the more important thing because my home is in Athens. I moved out of Charlotte. And just like driving around in Athens, it seemed like a ghost town. Everybody was just inside. I only saw -- I lived at the dorm at the time, and I only saw two people over the course of quarantine since everybody got back. It was just hard.
But it makes you appreciate the times that we have now and that things are getting better and that we’re even able to have this event because last year we didn’t have this. Did we have this last year? I don’t think we did. It just gives me a grateful feeling. I have to really sit back and be like, you know, I’m really grateful for this opportunity and I’m really grateful that things are getting back to normal because we’re able to have a normal season.
Q. Jordan, you seem like a funny, outgoing person, and you seem to have that chemistry along with your defensive line and teammates. My question is who or which one of your teammates pushed you a lot to not only just be yourself but also to just (indiscernible) the defensive side of the ball?
JORDAN DAVIS: I would say my right-hand man is Devonte Wyatt. Me and Vonte, we get into shenanigans together. It’s like having an older brother that I didn’t have at the time. It’s a different type of love for Vonte. I love that man like a brother. He pushes me to be the best. He pushes me to be better than who I am. He’s also a kid that I could kick back and have fun with. It helps have that balance.
Football is long. The season’s long. When you have no off-season, it really burns you out. When you can have a breath of fresh air like Vonte and the other D-line too, I can’t forget about them. All of us are funny. But just to have them together and to have them with me is really refreshing. I go into football, and I have fun every day. So that’s one thing that I really appreciate from this unit that we got.
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