Georgia junior Brock Bowers, the first two-time winner of the Mackey Award as the top tight end in college football, announced Tuesday that he’s entering the NFL draft.

Bowers, a native of Napa, California, is ranked as the No. 5 prospect available for the 2024 NFL draft by ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr.; ESPN analyst Jordan Reid ranks him as the No. 8 available prospect.

“Dawg Nation, words cannot describe how thankful I am for what these last 3 years [have] brought,” Bowers wrote on Instagram. “It has been an unbelievable honor and privilege to play for this university. It has given me memories that will last a lifetime. First, I’d like to thank my family for always being there to support me through my journey. Especially my mom and dad for making countless trips across the country.”

Bowers was a three-time All-SEC and All-American selection after making an immediate impact with the Bulldogs as a freshman in 2021. He had 56 receptions for 882 yards and 13 touchdowns, helping the Bulldogs win their first national championship in 41 years.

As a sophomore, Bowers had 63 catches for 942 yards with 7 touchdowns, as the Bulldogs went 15-0 and won their second consecutive CFP national championship.

This past season, Bowers had TightRope surgery on his left ankle on Oct. 15 and missed three games and parts of others. He still managed to haul in 56 catches for 714 yards with 6 scores. His 494 receiving yards after contact led all FBS tight ends this past season.

Bowers, 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, was limited in Georgia’s 27-24 loss to Alabama in the SEC championship game and didn’t play in its 63-3 rout of Florida State in the Capital One Orange Bowl on Saturday because of lingering effects of the ankle injury.

“His legacy is he’s a tremendous athlete, great toughness,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said of Bowers last week. “I’ve never seen a kid come back from that injury like that. He kind of changed the culture and the work ethic around our offense. The way he has practiced is incredible, he’s been a machine. The standard he set there will impact our roster for a long time.”

Because of Bowers’ versatility, blocking and ability to run after the catch, he is expected to be among the highest-selected tight ends in NFL draft history. The Atlanta Falcons took Florida’s Kyle Pitts with the fourth overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, making him the highest-drafted tight end in NFL history.

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