UPDATED: UGA awards scholarships to 8 walkons, Kent Turene out

ATHENS – For decades, coaches have enjoyed awarding what they call the “battlefield scholarship.” It’s that special moment  enjoyed at least once a year when they get to call up a walkon before the team and deliver some good news.

“Son, you’ve really showed us something the last few weeks and we want to show our appreciation by putting you on scholarship,” or so it goes.

Thanks to some drastic attrition since last season, Georgia coach Mark Richt got to do that eight times on Thursday. During a team meeting at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall late in the evening, Richt awarded one-year renewable scholarships to eight different players: junior guard John Bodin of Covington; junior wide receiver Taylor Bradberry of Winder; senior outside linebacker Matthew DeGenova of Kenner, La.; senior cornerback Eric Elliot of Kennesaw; sophomore tailback Brandon Harton of Reidsville; sophomore cornerback Blake Sailors of Athens; junior tailback Wes Van Dyk of Highland Park, Texas; and senior linebacker Jason Veal of Lilburn.

It’s not known if that’s some kind of record but it has to be for Georgia, at least in the modern era.

The Bulldogs were able to award eight grants because, with classes set to start Monday, it was down to 77 players on scholarship. The NCAA-allotted maximum has been 85 since the late 1980s. Eight below is a rarely-heard number for a team that is not under some type of NCAA restriction, and Georgia is not.

Awarding eight also means the door is effectively closed on linebacker Kent Turene of Lauderdale Lakes, Fla. Turene, whose high school transcript has been tied up at the NCAA Eligibility Center all summer, told the AJC he intends to attend Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia if he can’t get his freshman eligibility resolved but, as of Friday morning, he hadn’t given up on being able to attend UGA this fall.

“I haven’t made a decision yet but that’s what I’m thinking right now,” Turene said Friday morning. “[Georgia] just told me I needed to make a decision, but that’s what I’ll probably do.”

Fork Union is a prep school. Turene said he should be able to go there, take over the classes currently in question by the NCAA and enroll in Georgia in January.

“That’s the plan,” he said.

Of course, the Bulldogs had so many opportunities available only because so many players had squandered theirs in the last nine months or so. For one reason or another,  Georgia has lost 14 players who would have otherwise been eligible to play this season.

Some of those players are not around for good reasons, such as NFL lottery pick A.J. Green and fellow early-entry draftee Justin Houston. Others just couldn’t hack it one way or another, such as Caleb King, who lost his academic eligibility, and Washaun Ealey, who never bought into Richt’s team concept of “the Georgia Way.

In any case, the news of the eight awards was distributed via a brief news release from UGA late Thursdsay night. So Richt was not immediately available. Hopefully we’ll be able to hear from him about it later this morning after the Bulldogs wrap up their 10th practice of the preseason. I’ll let you know what Richt says if and when he does comment.

You’ll note that five of the eight scholarship recipients are underclassmen. That means Georgia will have to make a decision after the season who to keep on aid or who to not. As UGA spokesman Claude Felton pointed out Thursday, “even Isaiah Crowell’s scholarship is a one-year renewable” (though there is a national movement to make them multiyear deals). So these new Dogs won’t be renewed at the expense of a prospect with an offer come February.

In the meantime, here’s a rundown of the players who otherwise could have been a part of Georgia’s 2011 team:

LOST DOGS

  1. OL Brent Benedict, RFr. — Transferred to Virginia Tech
  2. LB Marcus Dowtin, Jr. — Transferred to North Alabama
  3. TB Washaun Ealey, Jr. –  Transferred to Jacksonville State
  4. TB Caleb King, Jr. — Academically ineligible, will enter NFL supplemental draft
  5. WR Logan Gray, Jr. — Graduated with eligibility, transferred to Colorado
  6. WR A.J. Green, Jr. — Early entry into NFL draft
  7. OL A.J. Harmon, Jr. — Transferred to Alabama State
  8. LB Justin Houston, Jr. — Early entry into NFL draft
  9. DE Jeremy Longo, Jr. — Medically disqualified
  10. DT Chris Mayes, Fr. — Did not qualify, attending junior college
  11. OL Tanner Strickland, Sr. — graduated with eligibility remaining
  12. OL Trinton Sturdivant, Sr. — knee injury, career over
  13. LB Kent Turene, Fr. — Has not qualified
  14. DB Nick Williams, Jr. — Transferred to North Alabama


126 comments Add your comment

up early

August 12th, 2011
5:51 am

Booyah

August 12th, 2011
6:01 am

Carrollton DAWG

August 12th, 2011
6:13 am

Snellville Dawg

August 12th, 2011
6:17 am

dd

August 12th, 2011
6:21 am

Thanks to all 14 for your contributions.

Sorry that it didn’t work out or hasn’t worked out yet.

My family will keep you in our prayers.

Thought I would say something decent before the trolls wake and come with the cheap shots.

Funny, how most never let anyone know which school they are a fan of.

John

August 12th, 2011
6:23 am

dawgfan

August 12th, 2011
6:37 am

I am a huge fan of being able to award deserving walk-ons scholarships. Shows them, and any future prospect that would walk on, that coaches like Mark Richt do value their contributions and consider them part of the team. So often the walk-ons are simply viewed as tackling dummies then to get out of the way when a “star” comes through … now they’re on level playing field. Good for them.

Paddy

August 12th, 2011
6:38 am

Did Nick Williams transfer because of lack of playing time?

Destin Dawg

August 12th, 2011
6:39 am

dd.. these trolls .. techies… gators.. S.C. etc… could you imagine how depressed you would have to be to get on their blogs… spew hate.. negative ??? munt be vampires.. no job… no life !!! Go dawgs… Richt’s a great guy…. this will be our year… Project ” Dome to Dome “..

Wrecker

August 12th, 2011
6:41 am

From a Tech fan: It is good to see these guys’ hard work rewarded. See you in November.

yea

August 12th, 2011
6:44 am

I started for 3 years on a college football team, scored many touchdowns at wide receiver, made player of the week several times and honorable mention in our conference one year. But, the best moment in my college sports career was when I was told I had earned a walk on scholarship. Calling my mother and telling her was fantastic and hearing her tell me how proud she was …. well….the very best. These young men accomplished something they will always remember. Congratulations to them!

KornDawg

August 12th, 2011
6:51 am

I could be mistaken, but I believe Mark Richt has stated in the past that when he gives a scholarship to a player, as far as he is concerned, it’s a four year deal. I know technically they’re one-year renewables.

slydog

August 12th, 2011
6:52 am

My only issue with this is I hope CMR is committed to renewing the scholly’s for these “non-stars”, as long as they stay consistent. They didn’t come to UGA in order to go to the NFL. They came because they genuinely wanted to be Dawgs, both on and off the field. I believe it would be torture if these young men are on scholarship one minute and back at financial aid the next because of some unproven noob. The other thing is, why not leave maybe 5 slots open? Attrition and available scholarships are the #1 reason Auburn is kicking our tails for some of the best in state talent. “Look, we have many spots and scholly’s open and we just won the NC” is one hell of a slogan to sell to kids. Alabama faces alot of attrition too, especially on the defensive side of the ball, not to mention those players cut by design…lol Just sayin

Big Ol Stinger

August 12th, 2011
6:58 am

That’s pretty cool, good for those kids!

You’re right Destin, you’d have to be a depressed, low life, POS to go on another teams blog and spew hate and negativity.

Don’t you agree dawgfan/headley lamar?

JB

August 12th, 2011
7:06 am

I don’t think you would ever see Saban do this. Maybe a kid or two, but 8. Alabama , according to Rivals, currently has 47 offers out for next year. They aren’t finished. What kind of message does that send? Maybe they just think “we’re Bama” and we’ll get back to you. I don’t know. I’m glad this article made clear the ONE year at a time deal. You can bet Saban is not for changing that. He cuts kids every year.. As of now, it’s legal. Right, maybe not, but legal. Go Dawgs

mgdawg

August 12th, 2011
7:08 am

That is really great, but one thing I wonder about is how many could uga have signed next year if they wouldn’t have done this? From what I understand 25 is the limit even if you have 30 available, so if they were going to have over 25 available then it really makes a whole lot of sense. However, if they aren’t going to be able to sign a whole 25 next year because of this, it kind of makes you wonder how smart of an idea it was to give this many to walkons.

AltamahaDawg

August 12th, 2011
7:10 am

Why would they leave 5 scholarships unused this year? If I were a walk on I’d be more than willing to take the free money with the expectation of maybe not having it next year (which I was already expecting not to) rather than not having it at all.

AltamahaDawg

August 12th, 2011
7:13 am

They gave them to walk on becasue they were laying around, and some of these guys are seniors. Why not? It would be a waste not to. Next year is next year, and this doesnt change anything. Unless they end up keeping one of them with a player that deserves to keep it, in which case..isnt that the goal?

Russ the spotted bulldog

August 12th, 2011
7:20 am

You work your tail off, let Adams paint your backside, and they dump you for a pretty face. That’s how these one-year things work.

Uncle Dawg

August 12th, 2011
7:22 am

Great for these kids. Hard work and playing for a guy like Richt means many good things come to you. But funny, seems Tech has a “starting” right tackle who is a walk on and has yet to earn a scholarship. Gotta wonder why no scholarship yet. He is the Starting Tackle! And with the current state of the line at Tech you would think the starting tackle would be on scholarship. Difference in coaching philosophies I guess.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

August 12th, 2011
7:33 am

AltamahaDawg,

Thank you for the voice of reason. These young men where prepared to pay for all four years. They will more than gladly take one year as a free ride. The poster you are responding to I am sure is in favor of the, “Every kid gets a trophy” program also. Gotta love those “participation” awards.

JB

August 12th, 2011
7:39 am

Well, I’m shocked, but not surprised. The entire Auburn Mafia got off scott free in Alabama yesterday. Found not guilty and some charges with a miss trial…. With wire taps…LOL… stuff movies are made of. The prosecution shocked. I guess some of that same money got to the jury.
Only in Bama….LOL

Billdawg

August 12th, 2011
7:40 am

Altamaha Dawg – These aren’t kids “laying aound”. A few will get some playing time. The rest spend their time on the practice team sacrificing their limited time and bodies to get the starters ready for the “prime time” games. These aren’t the “stars”, but their effort is as good or greater that those who do get to play in front of the 95,000 plus dawg fans. I celebrate their accomplishment as DGDs!!!

Frank Lane

August 12th, 2011
7:46 am

I was hoping that Connor Norman would be awarded a scholarship.

#1bamafan

August 12th, 2011
7:46 am

JB…You are correct in saying that you will not see Saban give eight walk-on scholarships. If that was the case it would be bad planning as far as recruitment goes. I know Coach Saban is a target for all other teams and coaches but most of the information is not correct. Bama fans are proud of the job that the coaching staff does and we look foward to another good year. I am also a fan of SEC football and wish the DAWGS and all SEC teams a good year. RTR

Trojan

August 12th, 2011
7:54 am

Why don’t the AJC write an article about CMR actually giving the attrition scholarships to walk ons instead as opposed to Saban giving attrition scholarships to the many that he oversigned. There is a stark contrast in the integrities of CMR and the Sabans and Chizics of the world.

Carl Spackler

August 12th, 2011
7:56 am

How great is that for these guys…congrats on “earning” the ships
My favorite though is “sophomore cornerback Blake Sailors of Athens”…tough kid, really is a Rudy type, love the way he doesn’t back down

Go Jackets!!!

August 12th, 2011
7:57 am

Proud of those 8 guys for showing that with hard work and dedication you can do great things. I hope a walk-on of our own, Tyler Kidney, gets the same treatment.

JB

August 12th, 2011
7:57 am

#1bamafan. I agree, when you look at Saban, and just want to look at results, there is no argument from most fans. The guy wins. All the other stuff is to fill sports pages and talk radio. Kudos. I’m hopeful with the talent the state of Georgia has and the second most profitable program in the NCAA, we’ll be there one day.

Fridawg

August 12th, 2011
8:01 am

Who wants to bet that all those transfers were major energy vampires?

by the numbers

August 12th, 2011
8:03 am

Satan

August 12th, 2011
8:07 am

I appreciate walk-ons, but rewarding them is out of the question. Son I have a enough trouble freeing up scholarships given to a blue-chipper who didn’t pass last year’s tryout.

I’m all about winning championships here. Never what the cost.

LOL

drive by dawg

August 12th, 2011
8:09 am

We shouldn’t have eight scholarships available for walk-ons in the first place. Can you imagine a championship-caliber program doing something like this? No, you can’t. Richt’s stubborn refusal to recruit for need and sign an adequate number of players has put is in a very difficult situation from a depth standpoint. This is unacceptable and anyone who thinks this news story is a good thing is a fool. It’s not a good thing. It is evidence of serious recruiting blunders and missteps and it represents mismanagement of the program. Period.

drive by dawg

August 12th, 2011
8:10 am

Saban and Richt are both paid millions of dollars each year to win, not to run a charity. Saban has his priorities in order. Does Richt? We will see soon enough.

bardawg

August 12th, 2011
8:11 am

Judging from the way Blake Sailors played in the Vanderbilt game last year , I’m surprised to find out that was’nt already on scholarship. The young man definitely displayed an GATA attitude.Congratulations to all the young men!

Destin Dawg

August 12th, 2011
8:14 am

hey this is college football… we all want to win… student/athletes ??? you only get a signing bonus in pro sports… oops I forgot Awlbarn

Toccoa Dawg

August 12th, 2011
8:19 am

This is one of those stories that makes you proud to be a dawg fan. Thanks Coach Richt

For want of a troll

August 12th, 2011
8:33 am

Walk-ons play a vital role in Mark Richt’s plans. Since walk-ons had to meet the academic entrance requirements, they’re a lot smarter than Richt’s recruits. The walk-ons won’t play very much, but their grades are much higher, so they pull up the team’s overall grades considerably.

Why does it take a troll to figure that out?

RedandBlackDAWG

August 12th, 2011
8:37 am

MGDAWG,

I don’t think it matters as far as next year. These were 8 spots open from this year, 2011, so it is either use them or lose them. I think it is great he did this. He couldn’t have used them for 2012 anyway, so they were like open spots that could be filled this year, but not carried over into next year. It shows that CMR is a classy kind of guy, to do this. Those 8 kids were probably, mostly practice squad guys but now they have less financial burden on their lives and their parents. Good move CMR.

DawgInaTruck

August 12th, 2011
8:37 am

As you get older and have children of your own, you learn that you take much more pride in your kids’ accomplishments than your own. As a parent of a college age kid myself I am thrilled for these eight student-athletes and for their parents. That is a day they will never forget.

I am much more optimistic about this football season than I have been the last two but, off the field, a story like this reminds this super-loyal UGA grad why we are lucky to have a guy like CMR in charge.

Go Dawgs! GATA!!

RedandBlackDAWG

August 12th, 2011
8:40 am

For want of a troll,

This is not about academics. Who cares if you somehow think that is somehow important when it comes to athletic scholarships? Do you think that any NCAA team, awards athletic scholarships based on how smart the kid is, other than sports smart?

Dawglasville

August 12th, 2011
8:41 am

Very proud of these young men. These are the guys you go to battle with. The guys who make you better Monday – Friday. They are every bit as vital to this program as the 5 star guy. This has been a great off season. Hopefully it will translate in to some big wins.

Luke

August 12th, 2011
8:42 am

@drivebydawg: Between the number of people transferring, the guys graduating, and the number of guys recruited, is why you have 8 unused scholarships. Its hard to say who will be transferring and who won’t. You have 8 guys who are transferring undergrads or never became eligible alone. You can’t predict that number when you’re recruiting kids because most of that happens after the signing period.

That being said, congratulations to the boys who worked hard and got some free money out of it. Enjoy it, coming from a Tech fan. Good luck, keep up the hard work, and we’ll see you in November.

It Will All Work Out

August 12th, 2011
8:42 am

@billdawg…I don’t think he was refering to the kids laying around but the scholarships.

J-School

August 12th, 2011
8:47 am

Billdawg: I think Altamaha was talking about the scholarships ‘laying around’ – not the athletes.

J-School

August 12th, 2011
8:48 am

Missed it by that much.

CTown Dawg

August 12th, 2011
8:53 am

These 8 kids are basically the white boys whose parents could afford to pay for college. The coaches know this when recruiting them. They know better than to waste a scholarship on a kid from the ‘burbs. They get “preferred” walk-on status knowing they will never play a down, but can tell their kids and grandkids that they were a Dawg!

Pup Fan

August 12th, 2011
8:53 am

Not much discussion about the Turene situation huh?

Dawgs Beast

August 12th, 2011
8:55 am

It seems like something is wrong at UGA for Logan Gray to transfer as a senior. Why would he leave UGA after 3 years ? There’s a lot more to that than has been said.

Dawgs Beast

August 12th, 2011
8:57 am

How can Harmon,Dowtin,N.Williams,L.Gray,Benedict,& Ealey all be problems that need to tranfer to other schools ? I think the problem is the UGA coaching staff.