ATHENS — Cornerback Branden Smith has been cleared academically and will rejoin Georgia’s football team Friday, coach Mark Richt said.
“He is academically in good standing for the 2010 season,” Richt said Thursday night. “So we are fired up.”
Richt declined to go into detail about Smith’s academic situation.
Smith, a sophomore from Atlanta, left the team last week and stayed away while awaiting word on whether he would be cleared to enroll in fall-semester classes. The issue was related not to Smith’s grade-point average but to a placement-test score.
Smith is expected to contribute to Georgia’s team in all facets of the game: defense (as a possible starter at cornerback), offense (as an occasional threat at tailback or wide receiver) and special teams (as a kick returner).
Despite missing eight practices, “I don’t think he’ll be too far behind,” Richt said.
Smith seems pleased with how the situation worked out.
“Will be back in Athens tomorrow,” he posted on Twitter late Thursday afternoon.
“Georgia is on my mind,” he tweeted an hour later.
Banks ‘retires’ as player
Backup safety Quintin Banks, whose career has been frequently derailed by knee injuries, will forgo his senior season.
Banks “has basically decided to retire from football,” Richt said Thursday. “His knees have just not allowed him to move the way he’s accustomed to moving and move well enough to compete at this level.”
Richt said Banks will have surgery “and try to get it all cleaned up” before he graduates. In the meantime, he will stay involved with the team and “help us coach,” Richt said.
“He has tremendous knowledge, tremendous love for this team and his teammates. He’s got a wonderful spirit,” Richt said. “Quintin is exactly what we’re looking for when it comes to a good Bulldog.
“As a head coach, you hope that when a young man walks out the door he’s ready for life. And Quintin is absolutely ready. He’s turned into a really fine man, and anybody looking for a tremendous employee and future leader, Quintin is that.”
Between injuries, Banks has played in only five games in the past two seasons.
And a few other things . . .