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January 10, 2022

Nakobe Dean

James Cook

Jordan Davis

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Lucas Oil Stadium

Georgia Bulldogs

Postgame Press Conference

^ Start

Georgia 33, Alabama 18

Q. Nakobe, I believe I saw you take a knee off the game was over to have a little prayer. I wonder what was going through your mind at that point.

NAKOBE DEAN: I had to thank God. Without him, none of this would have been possible. Every step of the way I thanked him for putting me in this position, putting my team in this position, and I just thank him for everything.

Q. The fumbled play, it was ruled a fumble; Stetson was going to pass. Can you guys walk us through what you were thinking as that play unfolded and as the officials reviewed it?

JAMES COOK: It's just something that you can't control really. It was in the refs' hands, and we just got all the guys together and kept chopping. And not really like just bringing down the guys because I knew we were still in the game. We just kept chopping, and the outcome was a W.

Q. Jordan and Nakobe, y'all have been such a great defense all year long. You take the field there in the fourth quarter looking to hold that lead. What did it mean to y'all to have the game on your shoulders at that moment and to come through for your team?

NAKOBE DEAN: We talked about putting it on our shoulders and it being on us. We knew when we took the lead, we knew that if they don't score no more, they don't win. That's the only thing that was going through our mind. We took the challenge, just like every time they got to the red area, we knew we was going to bow our necks, do what we had to do.

JORDAN DAVIS: Definitely. Just feeling like we had to finish it off strong, just like we started. It was a lot of adversity going through the game, but at the end of the day going into that fourth quarter we knew we had to have it, 15 minutes of hard work, because everything we worked for over this past year since the Cincinnati game last year was coming down to this moment.

So we just wanted to finish out strong, and you see the result of the game.

Q. None of you guys are from the state of Georgia, but you made the choice to come to Georgia, help build this team, and then to see it culminate like this, what does it mean to you that you were able to see this through and to know that you're now going to be a part of the lore in this state moving forward?

JORDAN DAVIS: UGA adopted me even though I'm not a hometown kid, just coming from Charlotte, but they've shown me love. That's what we owe it to. We owe it to the G, we owe it to the fans, we owe it to Dawg Nation, because we work so hard for them, they cheer so hard for us, and being adopted by this great team and this great family, it just means something special.

It doesn't matter where you're from. Football is the great equalizer. You've got different people from different backgrounds coming together in one locker room all working for a common goal, which is to win.

We're working at just winning the National Championship. That was the only thing that was on our mind. That's just how I look at it.

JAMES COOK: I mean, with me, from Miami, really it was just playing for my brothers and playing for the University of Georgia really. Just coming here, like, I mean, I always wanted to win a National Championship growing up, so, I mean, we got together as brothers and we came back for one more year. And we got the dub and we worked hard all year, I mean, just to do it for the University of Georgia and everybody in this program.

NAKOBE DEAN: For me, the whole reason why I came to Georgia, other than all the academics and the maturing and everything else, was to win a National Championship, and I knew we could build into it. That was one of the biggest reasons for us to come to this like surreal moment.

It still ain't all the way hit me yet. I'm pretty sure later on or tomorrow I'll wake up, it'll be like, did I just win the National Championship?

It's still kind of a surreal moment, and also I got the right hat on. Y'all have seen me on with the wrong hat on earlier. I got the right hat on.

Q. Thinking back to the season, dominant defense all year long, when did you all know this defense could be special?

NAKOBE DEAN: For me actually it was the off-season. It wasn't when the season hit, it was all the work we put in in the off season, getting to know each other, all the connection pieces, just everything we've done just this off-season, it's been like no other that I've had. That's kind of when I knew this team could be special and get the job done, and it had the group of guys to do it.

JORDAN DAVIS: Definitely hit me in the off-season. I seen a group of guys buy into what we were preaching in the off-season and we were just working for that, and just seeing them work and seeing them come to work every day just inspired me, inspired other teammates, pulled us all together because we worked so hard for this, and coming at the end of this game and seeing the result, it makes it all worth it.

We knew we was going to be special from the jump. We knew we were going to be special from the beginning, and just working through it and having a tremendous regular season and tremendous postseason, it just makes it all worthwhile.

Q. This one is for Jordan and James Cook. I know the two of you made the decision to come back to Georgia after last season. For this senior class, how much was this the perfect way to cap it off?

JAMES COOK: I can say just going out with a bang with the people I came in here with, it's very special. We came back for a purpose, and, I mean, we worked hard as older guys. We led the right way. Just the whole off-season was special, how we connected, like the reason why we're here today talking to you guys.

I mean, we just came together as brothers and got the job done.

JORDAN DAVIS: We had a vision of today what we wanted way back when we were making our decisions to come back. We took a gamble, and we cashed out. That's all I can say. We took a gamble and cashed out, and it was a big decision on the seniors' part.

We wanted to lead this team the right way. We knew that we had something special brewing, and to see this and to see this season come to fruition and see all of our goals and achieve everything that we wanted, it makes it super special. I wouldn't change my decision for anything.

I just hope that the younger players, when their time comes, they look up to see and see how we did it right and came back. It's different situation and different factors, but at the end of the day we wanted to make sure that we lead the right way.

Q. Jordan, did it seem like everything was going against you guys earlier in the game, and did you feel like that just sort of motivated you guys, even all the way up to the call against Stetson? It went against you but you held them to a field goal in that situation. Can you talk about the mindset when things like that were happening?

JORDAN DAVIS: Definitely our mindset was just even keel, play the next play. Everything is not going to fall our way and it's going to be a lot of adversity in the game. Bama is a talented team. They have great players and a tremendous team. We knew they were going to make plays. It was just the way things fell.

At the end of the day, we just had to keep chopping, and that's what we kept preaching on the sidelines, just keep chopping, keep going, don't stop, keep the foot on the gas. This is a four-quarter game. This is the two best teams playing against each other at the end.

You just had to carry that momentum from the fourth quarter, and we never put the blame on nobody, so we just wanted to make sure that we continued to work. When you continue to work, you can't really be bothered about this play happening or this call not going our way. You're just playing. You're just balling.

Q. Is there any added significance to this by the fact that it is Alabama, a program that so often you guys have been compared to and matched up against? Obviously you can't make a national title any sweeter, but is it any more special to do it against Alabama?

JAMES COOK: For me, just never beating them, it was just special to me. I mean, so many games we had them down to the wire and they just came clutching in every moment.

I mean, yeah, just beating Alabama is special to me because they've got a great coach, great team. I mean, it's just special. Just winning the National Championship period is special.

JORDAN DAVIS: Definitely, for me I went against Alabama three times, and winning this one, it's my final game playing against them, it's pretty sweet and pretty amazing. They've got a talented team, and that was always the team that we couldn't get over the hump for.

But making this opportunity, maximizing this opportunity, it was just amazing because you're playing for a National Championship. It doesn't matter who you play honestly. If you're in the National Championship you're one of the best teams.

It just happened to be Alabama. We planned for them. We learned our mistakes, we righted or wrongs from the last game in the SEC Championship and came back and won a National Championship.

That's what we came for, a National Championship. That signifies that you're the best team in college football. Hats off to Bama; they played an amazing game. They're a great team. But at the end of the day no matter who we played, we wanted to win the National Championship at the end of the day.

NAKOBE DEAN: Yeah, for me, it really didn't matter. We could have played anybody in the National Championship, as long as we won. My central goal, the reason I came here was to win a National Championship, not just beat Alabama.

For me it was -- for me I just love the fact that we was able to finish. I was able to finish with this group of guys that I got. I love this team. I love all the fans, and I just love everybody who's just supported us from the jump.

Q. If I could quickly ask you guys to say what moment from the postgame celebration stands out to you the most.

JAMES COOK: I would say just holding up the trophy at the end. Seeing my brothers smile knowing what we accomplished and holding up the trophy at the end. Greatest moment and you can never get it back.

JORDAN DAVIS: I would definitely say looking on the sideline and seeing everybody hug each other and celebrate with each other. It makes it really special because that's our family and they work so hard for this. And even for the people who didn't play in the game, it means so much for them, whether that's being a scout team player or fan or somebody like way across the world watching us.

And we did it for them. We did it for Dawg Nation. We did it for everything. This is for all the glory, and we took it.

NAKOBE DEAN: Yeah, for me, probably one of the things for me was a lot of sweet moments after seeing that clock hit zero. We was victorious. One of the most sweet moments was when I came across Julian, Julian Rochester, being along with any of us on this team, and I could just see the emotion in his face. Just seeing him just like was a representation of everything that I'd done it for, all the fans, all my brothers that I love, my family, everybody from back at home, all the kids looking up to us. Just seeing it -- yeah, go Dawgs.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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