(Second update at 10:45 a.m. with third player being kicked off team and Mark Richt’s statement.)
So much for the feel good atmosphere in Athens.
After a bounce-back season and another strong recruiting class, the relative serenity of the football program has been blown up.
Three freshmen players, defensive back Nick Marshall, wide receiver Sanford Seay and defensive back Chris Sanders, have been kicked off the team. Marshall and Seay reportedly stole money, possible from teammates. It wasn’t immediately known if Sanders was linked to the same incident.
Our Chip Towers confirmed Marshall was dismissed after speaking with the player’s former Wilcox County High School coach, Mark Ledford. Seay’s exit was first reported by Seth Emerson of the Macon Telegraph.
All of this comes only two weeks after the arrest of starting cornerback Sanders Commings, who was booked by campus police on charges of domestic violence/simple battery for an incident with his girlfriend. (The subsequent release of documents left the door open that it might not have been the first domestic violence complaint against Commings.)
Georgia coach Mark Richt did not give a reason for any of the dismissals. His statement said only, “It’s a privilege to play college football and to be a part of this team and University. Along with that privilege comes certain responsibilities. Mistakes were made, and part of our job is helping them learn from mistakes. Going forward, we are committed to assisting them find opportunities where they can continue their education.”
This much is certain: Georgia, after a welcome and relatively quiet offseason last year in terms of off-the-field incidents, is setting a bad pace already this year. That’s three dismissals and one arrest (nothing has been stated about Commings’ future).
The momentum the Bulldogs built up during last year’s 10-4 season — notwithstanding the two finishing losses to LSU (SEC championship game, expected) and Michigan State (Outback Bowl, not expected) — is threatening to be derailed by more dumb player decisions that plagued the program in previous years.
Richt did the right thing by acting swiftly in dismissing Marshall, Seay and Sanders. But having four players involved in incidents in the last two weeks isn’t a good sign — and we’re barely into February.
(MORE UPDATES TO COME)
By Jeff Schultz