Archive for July, 2011

UGA hit with Level I secondary violation for inadvertent text messages

The SEC has determined that the text messages Georgia coach Mark Richt inadvertently sent to the father of an elite in-state recruit in May constituted a Level I secondary violation of NCAA rules.

That’s the bad news. The good news is UGA was granted relief from the standard minimum penalty associated with Level I violations “based on the fact there was no content to the text messages,” SEC Commissioner Mike Slive reported in a July 6 letter to the NCAA. The letter was obtained by the AJC through a Freedom of Information request.

Georgia has yet to hear back from the NCAA approving the SEC’s actions, but that is considered a formality.

“We have nothing to say on this subject,” Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity said.

In McGarity’s May 27 letter of explanation to Slive, he reports that Richt accidentally sent two text messages from his Blackberry to the father of Harris County defensive end Jordan Jenkins on May 26th. Jenkins is considered by many the top prospect in …

Continue reading UGA hit with Level I secondary violation for inadvertent text messages »

Loss of Brandon Burrows adds to UGA’s depth concerns at linebacker

Apologies for the brief absence. I had the matter of a 20th wedding anniversary to attend to. Thanks for your patience. Now, back to football. . . .

Georgia lost another linebacker on Thursday. The Bulldogs announced that Brandon Burrows, a 6-foot-3, 240-pound redshirt freshman from Marietta, will undergo shoulder surgery Tuesday morning at St. Mary’s. The procedure is meant to repair what they’re calling “chronic instability” in Burrows’ right shoulder. As one might expect, surgery on a linebacker’s shoulder the day players report for camp rules out any chance to play this season. It is not, however, expected to be a career-ending injury for Burrows.

Burrows

Burrows

Not to ring the panic bell or anything but the linebacker position is beginning to look perilously thin. By my count, Burrows’ loss means the Bulldogs are now down to six eligible and healthy scholarship lettermen for their four linebacker positions.

That, of course, is not counting sophomore Jarvis Jones, who is slated …

Continue reading Loss of Brandon Burrows adds to UGA’s depth concerns at linebacker »

Ten@10: McGarity says UGA hopes to wrap up Columbus investigation by end of week

THE TEN AT 10:

1. It looks like Georgia is getting close to wrapping up its investigation into the eligibility issues facing football player Jarvis Jones and basketball player Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Athletic Director Greg McGarity told reporters covering the Metro Atlanta Bulldog Club on Monday that UGA’s internal inquiry could be completed “before the end of this week.”

That’s the good news. The bad news is the Bulldogs will still have to wait for the NCAA to make a ruling. That tends to take a while. Georgia must first turn over its findings to the SEC office, which then forwards it to the NCAA, which will get back to UGA with a ruling after it has thoroughly reviewed the case.

Nevertheless, the Bulldogs remain hopeful the situation will get resolved before the season opener against Boise State on Sept. 3. Last year’s eligibility issues facing wide receiver A.J. Green did not get resolved until the second week of the season.

There is some hope that Jones can maintain his …

Continue reading Ten@10: McGarity says UGA hopes to wrap up Columbus investigation by end of week »

Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game an official sellout as UGA sells 800 tickets in 2 minutes

Not that it will come as a surprise to anyone, but the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game between Georgia and Boise State officially became a hard sellout on Monday.

The exact time was 9:02 a.m. At 9 sharp, UGA put 800-plus $55 tickets on sell and they were gone two minutes later, according to both Georgia and Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game officials.

That means all 71,228 tickets have been snapped up a month and nine days before kickoff (Sept. 3, 8 p.m.) and Chick-fil-A Bowl President and CEO Gary Stokan is a very happy man.

“One of the things that sold Georgia and [Athletic Director] Greg McGarity on this game was we could give them access to tickets,” Stokan said Monday. “As of today they sold more than 53,000 tickets. I think the majority of their season-ticket holders were able to get access to tickets. That said, I have lists longer than both my arms of people calling me. So it must be a tough ticket if people are already calling me this far out.”

It wasn’t the earliest sellout for the …

Continue reading Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game an official sellout as UGA sells 800 tickets in 2 minutes »

Georgia grad Matt Stinchcomb looking for community leaders

Georgia letterman Matt Stinchcomb poses with one of his fans at Countdown to Kickoff, a charity event he organizes in Athens every summer. (Special photo)

Georgia letterman Matt Stinchcomb poses with one of his fans at Countdown to Kickoff, a charity event he organizes in Athens every summer. (Special photo)

Matt Stinchcomb did a lot of good things on the field and off as a football player at Georgia and in the NFL. Now he’s trying to see that for similarly-engaged college football players are recognized.

Stinchcomb is a selection committee member of the Allstate/AFCA Good Works Team. It is an organization that seeks to honor college football players who are as successful in community service as they are playing the game.

“The idea behind it is to highlight everything that is good and right about college football and college football players,” said Stinchcomb, a former Academic All-American who now works as a college football analyst for ESPN. “I just think it’s important to get that message out there in light of all the negative issues and situations that are being covered in college football, especially during this …

Continue reading Georgia grad Matt Stinchcomb looking for community leaders »

Georgia picked second in East, places 9 on All-SEC teams

Hoover, Ala. — Sportswriters covering the SEC picked Georgia to finish second in the SEC’s Eastern Division and selected nine Bulldogs for the all-conference team.

Six Georgia players were named first-team All-SEC, including sophomore quaterback Aaron Murray, junior tight end Orson Charles, senior offensive tackle Cordy Glenn, senior place-kicker Blair Walsh, senior punter Drew Butler and senior kick returner Brandon Boykin. Senior center Ben Jones. senior defensive end DeAngelo Tyson and Boykin were named to the second team.

Alabama was picked to win the league, getting 98 points to finish ahead of LSU (29), Arkansas (18), South Carolina (14), Georgia (4), Florida (2) and Ole Miss (2).

The Gamecocks received 114 votes to win the East while Georgia had the second-most with 38. Florida got 12 votes.

Alabama was the West selection 111-30 over LSU. Arkansas was picked by 23 writers.

Take these results with a grain of salt. The sportswriters have picked the winner correctly just …

Continue reading Georgia picked second in East, places 9 on All-SEC teams »

Georgia QB Aaron Murray gushes about WR Malcolm Mitchell

Turns out this might have been a pretty significant day when Valdosta athlete Malcolm Mitchell chose Georgia over Alabama. (AJC photo by C. Towers)

Turns out this might have been a pretty significant day when Valdosta athlete Malcolm Mitchell chose Georgia over Alabama. (AJC photo by C. Towers)

Georgia coach Mark Richt hinted that he’d been hearing some good things about at least one of the young wide receivers from some of the veteran players but was hesitant to go into much detail. The coaches, after all, aren’t able to spend any time coaching or watching summer workouts and, in fact, aren’t even allowed to get reports from the strength and conditioning coaches.

But it didn’t take very long for quarterback Aaron Murray to reveal which player was creating all the buzz. That player is Valdosta High graduate Malcolm Mitchell, who actually was recruited to Georgia as a cornerback.

I’ll just let Murray do the talking:

“I haven’t seen speed and quickness like that for a while,” he said. “The other day he ran a post pattern and split our starting safety and one of our starting corners. Shawn Williams came up to me afterward …

Continue reading Georgia QB Aaron Murray gushes about WR Malcolm Mitchell »

Tailback talk: Thomas out 1 game, Samuel to start No. 1, Crowell to wear 1

Hoover, Ala. – Georgia coach Mark Richt and three Bulldogs players met with the local beat writers and a few national reporters Thursday morning before their main session at here at SEC Media Days. As expected, UGA’s running back situation was the issue most discussed.

To his credit, Richt was not wishy-washy about his feelings on the position or what he expects to happen. So without further ado, here’s what he had to say about the tailbacks:

  • Richt confirmed that Carlton Thomas is indeed suspended for the opener against Boise State and that it is a one-game suspension.

“All I’ll say on that is Carlton won’t play Game 1 and I’ll say ‘team rule’ and you guys can figure out whatever you want.” Asked if Thomas would be back for South Carolina, he stated flatly, “yes.”

  • On overall running back situation in light of attrition with loss of Washaun Ealey and Caleb King:

“I’m just going to reserve my decision on whether or not we’re losing anything there or not. We may be gaining, …

Continue reading Tailback talk: Thomas out 1 game, Samuel to start No. 1, Crowell to wear 1 »

Georgia will sport new look in Nike Pro Combat uniforms for Chick-fil-A Game

This is the Nike Pro Combat uniform Florida wore against Georgia last season. Imagine it in red,black and silver. (Nike photo)

This is the Nike Pro Combat uniform Florida wore against Georgia last season. Imagine it in red,black and silver. (Nike photo)

Georgia will break out new unis when it takes on Boise State in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in the Georgia Dome on Sept. 3. But this will be no motivational ploy. The Broncos also will be sporting Nike’s new-fangled line of Pro Combat football gear.

It’s a one-time-only promotion that the Bulldogs and Boise State and seven other teams are doing for Nike this year. They’ll wear them only in this one game, just as LSU will be wearing a similar version against Auburn later this season.

But you’re out of luck what the Bulldogs’ Pro-Combat get-ups will look like. UGA is guarding them like a state secret.

“I’ll just say they will be unveiled on Picture Day [on August 20],” Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity said Wednesday.

McGarity, who has seen the uniforms and “approved it months ago,” declined a request to describe the new look verbally.

But he did …

Continue reading Georgia will sport new look in Nike Pro Combat uniforms for Chick-fil-A Game »

Updated SEC notes: Spurrier defends handling of QB Stephen Garcia

South Carolina tailback Marcus Lattimore is engulfed by a media swarm at SEC Media Days on Wednesday. (AJC photo by Chip Towers)

South Carolina tailback Marcus Lattimore is engulfed by a media swarm at SEC Media Days on Wednesday. (AJC photo by Chip Towers)

SEC FOOTBALL  NOTEBOOK

Hoover, Ala. Steve Spurrier has been criticized for his handling of quarterback Stephen Garcia, who currently is “kind of on probation” after being suspended five times in his career for alcohol-related problems.

Garcia was cleared to resume team activities this summer. It’s generally thought that the senior will assume his duties as the starting quarterback when preseason camp starts next month. But Spurrier said Wednesday that’s not necessarily the case.

“People assume that be him and Connor Shaw will battle it out pretty good,” Spurrier said. “Stephen may be our best quarterback but we’ll have some good competition.”

Shaw is a sophomore from Flowery Branch who played in nine games last season and completed 70 percent of his passes for 223 yards and a touchdown and two interceptions as Garcia’s …

Continue reading Updated SEC notes: Spurrier defends handling of QB Stephen Garcia »

Coastal Carolina game set for 1 p.m. kickoff

The kickoff for the Sept. 17 Coastal Carolina-Georgia game at Sanford Stadium has been set at 1 p.m. and the game will be televised on pay-per-view in Georgia and South Carolina at a price of $34.95.

This is the fourth gametime to be confirmed for this season. Georgia’s first two matchups were previously set: Boise State at the Georgia Dome on Sept. 3 at 8 p.m. and  South Carolina on Sept. 10 in Athens at 4:30 p.m. Both will be televised by ESPN. The Oct. 29 game against Florida in Jacksonville is set for 3:30 p.m. and will be broadcast by CBS.

Continue reading Coastal Carolina game set for 1 p.m. kickoff »

UGA’s Ken ‘Boo’ Malcome ready to show what he can do at tailback

Redshirt freshman tailback Ken Malcome, a Southwest DeKalb graduate, feels he has been "slept on a little bit." (UGA photo by Steve Colquitt)

Redshirt freshman tailback Ken Malcome, a Southwest DeKalb graduate, feels he has been "slept on a little bit." (UGA photo by Steve Colquitt)

The first thing you notice about Ken Malcome is his physique. He’s not the heavyset kid known around Southwest DeKalb as “Boo” anymore. Upon initial sighting he actually looks taller. To that notion he just laughs and says his body has “been rearranged.”

“I’ve lost a lot of body fat,” Malcome said this past Friday. “I can’t remember what my percentage was  the last time they checked it but it’s a lot lower. I got a lot more muscle, a lot more tone. The coaches say I look a lot better from the time I first got here.”

Malcome came to Georgia last year at 6-foot, 215 pounds and weighed 226 when the Bulldogs entered spring practice. He now sits at 220 pounds, which he said is right about where Georgia wants him.

As for the “rearrangement,” Malcome credits that to two things: One, the daily torture chamber that is Georgia’s offseason …

Continue reading UGA’s Ken ‘Boo’ Malcome ready to show what he can do at tailback »

SEC Media Days: Issues, investigations, predictions and coaches on hot seats

On my way to Hoover. I wrote this for tomorrow’s print section, but you get to see it first! . . .

Georgia coach Mark Richt won't have to guess which question he'll be asked about most at SEC Football Media Days this week. (AJC photo)

Georgia coach Mark Richt won't have to guess which question he'll be asked about most at SEC Football Media Days this week. (AJC photo)

WHAT YOU’LL HEAR AT SEC FOOTBALL MEDIA DAYS

College football fans rejoice! As of this week, you can officially pronounce the 2011 season underway. No, the actual games don’t kickoff for another six weeks. But the intriguing ritual of preseason propaganda and prognostication begins in earnest today in Hoover, Ala., as SEC Football Media Days gets underway at the Wynfrey Hotel. The SEC will tell us why it’s the greatest conference on earth and provide statistical data to prove it and coaches will tell us why things aren’t as bad – or as good – as they seem, depending on their teams’ particular perspective this season. In anticipation of this exciting annual exchange between teams and the media, here are five things you’re likely to hear …

Continue reading SEC Media Days: Issues, investigations, predictions and coaches on hot seats »

LB Jarvis Jones remains eligible as UGA’s internal investigation continues

Georgia hopes linebacker Jarvis Jones will be able to suit up against Boise State on Sept. 3 (Photo by Chip Towers)

Georgia hopes linebacker Jarvis Jones will be able to suit up against Boise State on Sept. 3 (Photo by Chip Towers)

Athens — Georgia hasn’t ruled linebacker Jarvis Jones ineligible. Not yet, anyway.

Jones, a sophomore from Columbus who is slated to start at strongside outside linebacker this fall, continues to work out with the Bulldogs this summer as if he will be play in the season opener against Boise State on Sept. 3. But there is a good chance UGA will have to rule him ineligible and apply to the NCAA for reinstatement sometime before the start of the 2011 season.

“That has not happened and we’re really not even sure yet if that has to happen,” Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity said on Monday. “We’re still looking into it.”

Jones and UGA basketball signee Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are the subject of an ongoing UGA internal investigation into allegations of receiving improper benefits from a former Columbus parks and recreation official. That official, Tony Adams, …

Continue reading LB Jarvis Jones remains eligible as UGA’s internal investigation continues »

Another UGA tailback out; Carlton Thomas suspended at least one game

Georgia tailback Carlton Thomas, the Bulldogs leading returning rusher from last season, will miss the Boise State game due to suspension for a team rules violation. (AJC photo by Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com)

Georgia tailback Carlton Thomas, the Bulldogs leading returning rusher from last season, will miss the Boise State game due to suspension for a team rules violation. (AJC photo by Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com)

Athens — There’s another reason Georgia felt the need to move Richard Samuel to tailback. Carlton Thomas is suspended for at least the first game of the season.

The rising junior from Frostproof, Fla., violated team rules back in the spring, three persons familiar with the situation confirmed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. As per Georgia Athletic Association student-athlete policy, Thomas has to sit out 10 percent of scheduled games this season.

The Bulldogs play 12 games this season, including the season opener against Top-10-ranked Boise State in the Georgia Dome. Most recently that has resulted in one-game suspensions, though Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity declined to specify.

“If we have any announcements regarding suspensions, they’ll be made at the …

Continue reading Another UGA tailback out; Carlton Thomas suspended at least one game »

‘Dawg Night’ nets Georgia 5-star OT John Theus, 4 other commitments

Dawg Night ended up being a big night for the Georgia Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs’ annual elite prospect camp netted five commitments on Friday, including a pledge from five-star-rated offensive tackle John Theus of Jacksonville for the Class of 2012.

Theus (6-6, 292) was a huge pickup for the Bulldogs. He’s rated top among the top three tackles in the nation by both Scout and Rivals. His brother Nathan Theus is a freshman long snapper who will be starting his UGA career this fall. Theus chose the Bulldogs over Florida and Texas. He becomes the 11th committed member of the Class of 2012.

The AJC confirmed three other commitments for Class of 2013 prospects: Quarterback Brice Ramsey of Camden County (6-3, 197); running back Derrick Henry (6-3, 225) of Yulee, Fla.; and athlete Tramel Terry (5-11, 173) of Goose Creek, S.C.

Rusty Mansell, who covers recruiting for 247Sports.com and Dawgs247.com, reported that Stanley Williams, a 2014 running back from Appalachee High in Bethelem, also …

Continue reading ‘Dawg Night’ nets Georgia 5-star OT John Theus, 4 other commitments »

Q&A: Richard Samuel says UGA career ‘full of opportunities’ (UPDATED)

Q&A WITH TAILBACK RICHARD SAMUEL

Richard Samuel walked into an interview with reporters Friday morning wearing dark blue slacks, a light blue dress shirt and tie. No, he wasn’t looking to impress a bunch of sportwriters as a resurrected tailback. He’s actually working this summer as an intern in UGA’s compliance office. And, no, he said he has “no idea” what’s going happen regarding Jarvis Jones’ eligibility. As for his recent move to tailback from linebacker, Samuel seemed very positive and upbeat about the situation. While he knows the position isn’t going to be handed to him, he did seem confident about his chances of becoming the starter before the Bulldogs’ season opener against Boise State on Sept. 3. Following is the exchange of questions and answers between Samuel and reporters covering the UGA beat:

Samuel

Samuel

Q: So what’s this week been like for you?

A: “It’s been a little confusing. I had some tough decisions to make.”

Q: Ultimately was the decision left up to you or …

Continue reading Q&A: Richard Samuel says UGA career ‘full of opportunities’ (UPDATED) »

Georgia LB Richard Samuel agrees to move back to tailback (UPDATED)

Junior Richard Samuel (22), here in Georgia's G-Day Game, was actually looking pretty good as a linebacker. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Junior Richard Samuel (22), here in Georgia's G-Day Game, was actually looking pretty good as a linebacker. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

In the wake of attrition at the running back position, Georgia announced Thursday that junior Richard Samuel will move back to tailback from linebacker.

Samuel, a former five-star prospect from Cartersville who was recruited at both positions, played tailback his first two seasons with the Bulldogs. He agreed to a move to linebacker last year, then redshirted. The 6-foot-2 athlete is now up to 243 pounds. He played tailback in the 225 to 230 range.

Georgia lost its top two tailbacks of the two last seasons — Caleb King and Washaun Ealey – to academic ineligibility and transfer, respectively, since the end of spring practice. True freshman Isaiah Crowell, junior Carlton Thomas and redshirt freshman Ken “Boo” Malcome were the only remaining tailbacks on scholarship.

Following is UGA’s release:

Georgia junior linebacker Richard Samuel of …

Continue reading Georgia LB Richard Samuel agrees to move back to tailback (UPDATED) »

Georgia well-represented with 9 selections on Coaches’ All-SEC team

The inclusion of senior defensive end DeAngelo Tyson on the Coaches' All-SEC is an encouraging sign for the Bulldogs. (UGA Sports Communication)

The inclusion of senior defensive end DeAngelo Tyson on the Coaches' All-SEC is an encouraging sign for the Bulldogs. (UGA Sports Communication)

For a team coming off a 6-7 season, Georgia was very well represented on the Coaches All-SEC team released on Thursday.

The Bulldogs placed six players on the first team (the coaches picked three teams). They were quarterback Aaron Murray, tight end Orson Charles, tackle Cordy Glenn, place-kicker Blair Walsh, punter Drew Butler and kick returner Brandon Boykin.

Boykin also made the second-team as a cornerback. Otherwise, Georgia didn’t have much of a presence on that side of the ball. Defensive end DeAngelo Tyson was named to the second team and that was it (that’s kind of ironic since I believe defense will have to carry the Dogs this season, but understandable given all the changes). Senior center Ben Jones rounded out UGA’s resprentation on the second team.

Overall the Bulldogs were tied with South Carolina for third-most players …

Continue reading Georgia well-represented with 9 selections on Coaches’ All-SEC team »

Special teams: Georgia’s group looks as good as any anywhere

Ninth and final installment in a series breaking down Georgia’s 2011 football by position groups. . . .

Georgia senior punter Drew Butler, who sports a gawdy 46.1-yard career average, already has a Ray Guy Award in his trophy case. (AP photo)
Georgia senior punter Drew Butler, who sports a gawdy 46.1-yard career average, already has a Ray Guy Award in his trophy case. (AP photo)

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Returning starters: P/H Drew Butler (Sr., 6-2, 214), K Blair Walsh (Sr., 5-10, 192), KOR Brandon Boykin (5-10, 183), PR Branden Smith (Jr., 5-11, 176), SN Ty Frix (Sr., 6-0, 210).
  • Others to watch: Senior Brandon Bogotay is on scholarship and occasionally handles kickoffs (10 in last two seasons). He has made field goals in each of the last two G-Day Games. . . . Junior Carlton Thomas and some incoming freshmen will be given a look returning punts.
  • Punters: Butler won the Ray Guy Award as the nation’s best punter in 2009 and was a finalist for that award last year, when he averaged 44.5 yards punt punt — 15 were 50 yards or more — and nearly half landed inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. At 46.1 he is currently UGA’s …

Continue reading Special teams: Georgia’s group looks as good as any anywhere »

Georgia DE Derrick Lott out 4-6 weeks after injuring leg in scooter accident

Once again Georgia has suffered a scooter casualty.

Derrick Lott, a sophomore defensive end from Kennesaw, suffered a “lower leg injury” while driving his scooter Friday afternoon.

Lott

Lott

“There was an accident around 3 or 3:30 p.m. yesterday on Butts-Mehre property,” UGA Police Chief Jimmy Williamson said Wednesday. “The driver of a scooter made contact with a fixed object and suffered a non-serious injury. The accident scene was completed by police but no citations were issued.”

Lott was taken by ambulance to St. Mary’s Hospital where surgery was performed by Dr. David Sailors Tuesday night. Lott is expected to be out four to six weeks, according to Ron Courson, UGA’s director of sports medicine.

Lott is a 6-foot-4, 303-pound sophomore out of North Cobb High School who is currently listed as the backup to DeAngelo Tyson at defensive end. He was redshirted as a freshman in 2009 following ankle surgery and played in three games last season, finishing with seven tackles and a …

Continue reading Georgia DE Derrick Lott out 4-6 weeks after injuring leg in scooter accident »

Q&A: Brent Benedict confirms dispute with Georgia’s new strength coach

Q&A WITH BRENT BENEDICT

Benedict

Benedict

Brent Benedict has packed up all his things and left Athens. The big offensive lineman has taken up temporary residence at a friend’s house in Roswell. But he won’t be there long. He’ll relocate to Blacksburg, Va., the first week of August. Benedict, who was granted an unconditional release by the University of Georgia after he abruptly quit the team on June 26th, settled on the Virginia Tech Hokies as his transfer destination on Monday. He chose it over Florida, Clemson and a few others. Benedict talked with the AJC on Tuesday in his first extensive interview about the circumstances that led to his decision to leave a program to which he’d been committed since the summer of 2009. He confirmed that it stemmed mainly from a disagreement with new strength and conditioning coordinator Joe Tereshinski over training methods and philosophies. At the same time, Benedict also allowed that what the Bulldogs are doing may work. He also expressed …

Continue reading Q&A: Brent Benedict confirms dispute with Georgia’s new strength coach »

Caleb King thanks UGA, will enter NFL supplemental draft

While I was offline and getting my computer serviced, Georgia’s most-recently-departed tailback Caleb King issued a statement through UGA’s sports communication office. I would have rather had him answer the questions I’ve been calling and texting and emailing him with the last several days, but I guess this will have to do.

In case you were vacationing in Fiji or something, King, the Bulldogs’ starting tailback, lost his academic eligibility at the end of this past week and will miss his senior season. As I reported in my original story, the NFL supplemental draft, which would have normally been conducted by now, remains his best and most viable option to continuing his football career.

Here’s the statement:

“My years at the University of Georgia have afforded me a tremendous opportunity to develop my skills on the field. Coach Mark Richt and the entire UGA football team and staff have been instrumental in my growth and development both on and off the gridiron. I have learned …

Continue reading Caleb King thanks UGA, will enter NFL supplemental draft »

Secondary: Star power, depth, versatility give the Bulldogs reason to bark

Eighth in a series breaking down Georgia’s 2011 football team by position groups. . . .

The return of senior cornerback Brandon Boykin is a big reason for optimism that Georgia's improved play in the secondary will continue this season. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

The return of senior cornerback Brandon Boykin is a big reason for optimism that Georgia's improved play in the secondary will continue this season. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

THE DEFENSIVE BACKS

  • Projected starters: CB Brandon Boykin (Sr., 5-10, 183), FS Bacarri Rambo (Jr., 6-0, 218), SS Shawn Williams (Jr., 6-1, 220), CB Sanders Commings (Jr., 6-2, 217)
  • Returning starters: All of them. Rambo started all 13 games (nine at strong safety and four at free safety) while Boykin has started 24 of the last 26 and has played in every game since he’s been at Georgia. Commings started nine games at cornerback while Williams started three games at free safety.
  • Others to watch: You might as well add Branden Smith as another returning starter as the junior from Atlanta got nine starts last season as either a corner or nickelback in a five-defensive back formation. Senior Jakar Hamilton

Continue reading Secondary: Star power, depth, versatility give the Bulldogs reason to bark »

Former UGA OL Brent Benedict transferring to Virginia Tech

Brent Benedict, a redshirt freshman offensive lineman from Jacksonville who abruptly left UGA last month, plans to transfer to Virginia Tech.

That’s according to a report by the Florida Times-Union. Benedict has not returned phone calls and messages from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution since he quit the team for “personal reasons” on June 26.

Benedict told Times-Union’s Hays Carlyon he chose the Hokies over Florida, Clemson and Marshall.

“I liked Virginia Tech the first time around,” he said. “It’s a great program with a coaching staff that’s been there awhile. They win games and do well in the ACC. I’m really excited to get up there.”

Benedict (6-5, 312), a former four-star prospect and Under Armour All-American, is being hailed in Virginia as the fifth commitment of the Hokies’ 2012 recruiting class. Even though he was released from his scholarship by the Bulldogs, Benedict will have to sit out one year per NCAA transfer rules. He will be a third-year …

Continue reading Former UGA OL Brent Benedict transferring to Virginia Tech »

Linebackers: Promising group despite virtual makeover since last season

Seventh in a series breaking down Georgia’s 2011 team by position . . .

Georgia is counting on junior Christian Robinson's leadership and play-making abilities at linebacker this fall. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Georgia is counting on junior Christian Robinson's leadership and play-making abilities at linebacker this fall. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

THE LINEBACKERS

  • Projected starters: SAM Jarvis Jones (So., 6-3, 241), MIKE Christian Robinson (Jr., 6-2, 226), MO Alec Ogletree (So. 6-3, 236), WILL Cornelius Washington (So., 6-4, 260)
  • Returning starters: Robinson started 11 games at the “Mo” inside linebacker last season and Washington started eight at the “Will” outside position. Alec Ogletree was moved to the Mo in the spring after starting five games at strong safety as a true freshman last season. Robinson moved to Mike.
  • Others to watch: This is the much-anticipated debut season of Jarvis Jones, who had to sit out this past year after transferring to Georgia from Southern Cal. Jones (6-3, 241) is slated to start at “Sam,” or strongside outside linebacker, but first he has to clear some recently-raised …

Continue reading Linebackers: Promising group despite virtual makeover since last season »

It’s official: UGA confirms starting TB Caleb King is ineligible (UPDATED)

Caleb King leaves Georgia having rushed for 1,271 yards and 10 TDs in three tumultuous seasons. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Caleb King leaves Georgia having rushed for 1,271 yards and 10 TDs in three tumultuous seasons. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

The University of Georgia confirmed Friday that starting tailback Caleb King is academically ineligible to play for the Bulldogs this fall.

King, a rising senior, apparently was unable to meet the NCAA’s satisfactory progress requirement for eligibility. Summer semester just ended Friday and grades won’t be posted until next week.

“It’s unfortunate Caleb will not be with us this season,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said in a statement released by the school. “We wish him the best in whatever he decides to do; however, we have to move forward and this will provide more opportunities for others to step up.”

Coupled with the loss of fellow tailback Washaun Ealey, who transferred to Jacksonville State this past spring, the Bulldogs have now lost their two leading rushers from last season. In all, that’s 1,334 yards in offense and 13 TDs off last year’s team.

King …

Continue reading It’s official: UGA confirms starting TB Caleb King is ineligible (UPDATED) »

Defensive line: Massive changes give Bulldogs great expectations in trenches

Sixth in a series breaking down Georgia’s 2011 football team by position groups. . . .

Noseguard Kwame Geathers (99) spent a lot of time in the backfield at Georgia's G-Day Game, which earned him Defensive MVP honors. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Noseguard Kwame Geathers (99) spent a lot of time in the backfield at Georgia's G-Day Game, which earned him Defensive MVP honors. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

DEFENSIVE LINE

  • Returning starters: DE DeAngelo Tyson (Sr., 6-2, 290), DE Abry Jones (Jr., 6-3, 297)
  • Others to watch: Sophomore NG Kwame Geathers (6-6, 350) was the most improved defensive player during spring practice. He’ll be joined in the fall by junior college All-American John Jenkins (6-4, 350)  which should dramatically improve the Bulldogs’ interior presence so critical to the success of the 3-4 defense. . . . Sophomore defensive ends Garrison Smith and Derrick Lott and freshman noseguard Mike Thornton are ready to take a step up into the playing rotation.
  • Key losses: Defensive end Demarcus Dobbs started 42 games in his career and his versatility and big-play capability will be missed. Brandon Wood and Kiante …

Continue reading Defensive line: Massive changes give Bulldogs great expectations in trenches »

Quarterbacks: Offense appears to be in good hands with Aaron Murray`

Fifth in a series breaking down Georgia’s 2011 football team by position groups. . . .

In Aaron Murray the Georgia Bulldogs trust, and for good reason after a phenomenal freshman season. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin/bsanderlin@ajc.com)

In Aaron Murray the Georgia Bulldogs trust, and for good reason after a phenomenal freshman season. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin/bsanderlin@ajc.com)

THE QUARTERBACKS

  • Returning starter: Aaron Murray (So., 6-1, 211).
  • Others to watch: The competition to become Murray’s chief backup should be a good one between sophomore Hutson Mason, a lightly-recruited player who earned a scholarship offer with a record-breaking season as a high school senior, and true freshman Christian LeMay, an elite prospect of national renown who enrolled early in order to get into the mix.
  • Key fact: Rarely is it that a sophomore quarterback is so roundly regarded as is Murray, but he appears to be gaining momentum as a consensus pick for preseason first-team All-SEC. His freshman season coupled with a blue-collar work ethic have excited the masses about the possibilities for improvement. As the meticulous …

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Running backs: Competition between Caleb King, Isaiah Crowell should translate into success

UPDATE: CALEB KING LOST HIS ACADEMIC ELIGIBILITY ON JULY 8, 2011

Fourth in a series breaking down Georgia’s 2011 football team by position groups. . . .

Georgia tailback Caleb King breaks loose for a 27-yard gain against Georgia Tech last season. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Georgia tailback Caleb King, here breaking loose for a 27-yard gain against Georgia Tech last season, brings knowledge and experience to the table. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

THE RUNNING BACKS

  • Returning starters: TB Caleb King (Sr., 5-11, 224)
  • Others to watch: Isaiah Crowell (5-11, 210) is the most anticipated freshman running back Georgia has had since fellow Columbus resident Jasper Sanks showed up in Athens in the late 1990s. Crowell will be in an all-out competition with King for playing time, but Carlton Thomas, Ken “Boo” Malcome and sophomore walk-on Brandon Harton will be looking to get into the mix. . . . Meanwhile, the Bulldogs will be breaking in a new starter at fullback for the first time in four seasons in converted tight end Bruce Figgins or sophomore Zander Ogletree.
  • Key losses: Georgia lost its …

Continue reading Running backs: Competition between Caleb King, Isaiah Crowell should translate into success »