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College Football

    Former Gainesville Red Elephant football and Clemson Tiger quarterback Deshaun Watson had his name called on the biggest of football stages last night in Philadelphia. With the 12th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Houston Texans selected the once local high school legend and College Football Playoff champion. Watson was an AJC Super 11 selection in 2013 and left the Red Elephants as the Georgia record-holder for career passing yards in high school. In three seasons at Clemson, Watson  led the Tigers to two College Football Playoff appearances, winning a National Championship in 2017 when he beat the Alabama Crimson Tide,  and has twice been named a Heisman Trophy finalist. Earlier this year, the road that runs by the Gainesville High football stadium was named ‘Deshaun Watson Way’ in his honor. 
  • The University of Georgia has released incoming freshman D’Antne Demery from his national letter of intent following his arrest in Downtown Athens Saturday night. Demery was booked into the Clarke County jail 10:52pm Saturday night on a domestic violence charge. He was released after posting bond on Sunday afternoon.  Demery, a 6-foot-5 319 lb offensive lineman is a four star recruit from Brunswick, Ga, and was part of the Bulldogs’ No. 3 rated class nationally for 2017. He was set to arrive on campus this summer, and was in Athens this weekend as part of G-Day festivities.  The release from UGA:   “University of Georgia football signee D’Antne Demery has been released from his National Letter of Intent according to an announcement by UGA head coach Kirby Smart. The release follows Demery’s arrest Saturday night on charges of simple battery, criminal trespass-damaged property in downtown Athens. “The Brunswick, Ga., native signed with UGA in February and was scheduled to report to the University in June to begin classes.” Details of the arrest can be found in the following police report:  “On 04/22/17 at approximately 2115 hours, Downtown officers were dispatched to the area of the Waffle House, in reference to a black male choking (strangling) a female. Upon arrival, both individuals had left the area. Moments later, the victim called 911; advising that she wished to press charges against D’Antne Demery for hitting her. Contact was made with the victim in front of Boars Head. “She stated that she and Demery got into an argument; he began to get loud, she started to walk off, he told her ‘walk off again, and Imma show you.’ She began to walk away again, at which point, Demery came from behind her; grabbing her on the back of her neck; pushing her against the wall, and also grabbing her by the hair. They were eventually separated by friends. Demery was eventually able to reconnect with the victim, in which he threw her; causing her glasses to fall off, and her phone fell out of her hand; causing it to hit the ground which resulted in a crack to the screen. “The victim and Demery are dating and have a one month old child together. They came to Athens to attend the G-Day game. Contact was eventually made with Demery who admitted to having physical contact with the victim. There was also an independent witness who saw the incident take place. The victim advised that Demery has been physically violent with her in the past. They are from Brunswick, Georgia. Demery was placed under arrest for the above charges; placed inside the Transport Van, and transported to the Clarke County Jail without incident.”
  • From UGA Sports Communications ATHENS ----- University of Georgia football fans will get their first glimpse of the 2017 edition of the Bulldogs this Saturday, when the Red team faces the Black team at the annual G-Day intrasquad game in Sanford Stadium. Kickoff is set for 2:00 p.m. and admission to the game is free. Stadium gates will open at 11:00 a.m. and festivities will begin at 11:30, when more than 60 Bulldog lettermen convene on the field for their annual alumni flag football game. At 1:00 the 2017 Bulldogs will continue the Dawg Walk tradition when they enter Sanford Stadium from outside the Tate Student Center. G-Day has traditionally included a canned food drive in behalf of the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia. This year, in lieu of bringing canned goods to the game, fans are asked to consider making monetary donations to the Food Bank at the United Healthcare display from 11:00 a.m. until kickoff. Donations will be accepted at Gates 6 and 7 and outside at Gate 10 underneath the bridge.  Additionally, fans will also be encouraged to help continue UGA’s drive to build a handicapped-accessible home for former Southern University football player Devon Gales, who suffered a career-ending spinal injury at Sanford Stadium in 2015. Donations can be made by texting “Devon” to the following number – (706) 204-1707 – or by writing a personal check, made payable to the Devon Gales House Construction Fund, and mailing to the following address: UGAAA 1 Selig Circle Butts-Mehre Hall, Room 402 Athens, GA 30603 Attn: Bryant Gantt At halftime, fans attending G-Day can expect to be introduced to UGA’s incoming class of 2017 signees. Additional activities during a packed, 12-minute intermission include: the Region’s Bank Cash Catch, where two lucky fans will compete for cash and prizes by attempting to catch passes from Bulldog alumni QBs D.J. Shockley and David Greene; and the Academy Punt, Pass or Kick promotion, when one lucky fan will win up to a $500 gift card to Academy Sports & Outdoors, and additional fans could win $50 gift cards to Academy. For the first time ever, Georgia’s coaching staff will present the annual Spring Awards on the field immediately after the G-Day game’s conclusion. The G-Day game will be televised nationally on the SEC Network, with Dave Neal and UGA alumni Matt Stinchcomb (in the booth) and Maria Taylor (sideline) calling the action. G-Day will also be carried on much of the Georgia Bulldogs Sports Network from IMG. Scott Howard and Eric Zeier will call the action, with Chuck Dowdle providing commentary from the sideline. UGA will use G-Day to implement the SEC’s Clear Bag Policy, which will go into effect at all SEC venues beginning this fall. The policy will also be in effect, beginning in the 2017-18 competition year, at all of UGA’s ticketed sports venues: Sanford Stadium, Stegeman Coliseum (men and women’s basketball, gymnastics) and Foley Field (baseball). More information on the SEC Clear Bag Policy can be found at: http://georgiadogs.com/clear-bag-policy. A schedule of events for this Saturday follows: • 11:00 – Sanford Stadium gates open • 11:30 – Lettermen’s Flag Football Game kicks off • 1:00 – Dawg Walk commences outside Tate Student Center • 2:00 – G-Day intrasquad game kicks off • 6:00 – UGA baseball vs. Vanderbilt at Foley Field
  • ATHENS – For years, Georgia’s head football and basketball coaches used to go on an extensive spring speaking tour, answering questions and shaking hands with fans who paid a small fee at the door. Those days of extensive touring around Georgia appear to be over. At least for now. The university has planned five events this spring featuring Kirby Smart, but they will be private donor events – and for now only one will be in the state of Georgia. The school will host events in Nashville, Charlotte, Jacksonville and Houston, with the lone in-state event being in Atlanta in July. These events will be closed to the public and the media, open only to donors. But there will also be two additional in-state events featuring Smart, athletics director Greg McGarity said Monday afternoon. Those events will just be branded differently. “We’re still working through two in-state events that would be branded under the Georgia Bulldog Club, or under UGA athletics,” McGarity said. In the past, Georgia football and basketball coach did as many as 12 spring tour stops, almost all in the state, from Columbus to Macon to Augusta and even smaller stops. But those tours have gradually dissipated: In Mark Richt’s final year, he only went to seven stops. Last year Smart went to five stops, though four of the were in-state, the exception being a donor event in Dallas. This year it’s going all-private, which someone with knowledge said evolved from Smart coming in with a new approach, and UGA wanting to do fundraising. There’s a feeling they don’t need the old model, where fans get a chance to hear from coaches and ask them questions, because of social media and other factors. Crowds at these events had also been going down. “The university is trying to be strategic to generate the money that everybody needs to generate right now,” McGarity said. “The purpose of these events have changed, they’ve morphed over the years.” The athletics department did seem to anticipate some fan blowback. “As for our donors, I realize there may be some sensitivity to the majority of the events being out of state this year,” associate athletics director for development Matt Borman wrote in an internal e-mail earlier this month. “If donors bring this up to you please just say that we are excited to be in Atlanta with an event in July and we wanted to take an opportunity this year to visit some of our supporters who don’t have the opportunity to make it to Athens on a regular basis. “After this year of events we will reevaluate and definitely consider bringing some of these events back into Georgia.” There are other speaking events for Smart that aren’t directly affiliated with the school. For instance, he is speaking Monday night at the Athens Touchdown Club, and spoke last month at the Macon Touchdown Club.
  • Athens, GA - The familiar sounds of coach’s whistles and stampeding linemen can be heard around the Butts-Mehre athletic complex in Five Points this afternoon. That’s because football, the lifeblood of the University of Georgia and Athens is back for 2017 Spring Practice.  Year two of head coach Kirby Smart will officially begin today with the first of a series of practices leading up to the April 22nd G-Day game to be held in Sanford Stadium, with no shortage of storylines to watch.  The progression of sophomore quarterback Jacob Eason will likely take the forefront of attention - again - as the heralded signal caller from Washington state will look to show maturity coming on the heels of a successful but otherwise not spectacular freshman season in the Southeastern Conference. And new this year comes legit competition from another five-star quarterback recruit from Houston County, Georgia, Jake Fromm. How the two will complement and push one another through the rigors of practice this spring and into fall will clearly define the success of the 2017 version of the Georgia Bulldogs.  Not to be outdone, plenty of attention will be given to the beloved pair of senior running backs who surprised many by announcing they would indeed spend their senior seasons between the hedges. Nick Chubb and Sony Michel both could have declared for the NFL Draft, but instead decided they would rather wash the sour taste of an 8-5 season and a home loss to Georgia Teach in 2016 out their mouths the best way they know how, with the possibility of exacting revenge. Their return not only will cause headaches for opposing defensive coordinators throughout the SEC, but will provide invaluable leadership for a young corps of running backs in line behind them preparing to be the future of a program often tabbed “Running Back U.” Smart’s defense will also be under a microscope as the boys practice under the shadows of bloomed dogwood trees these next few weeks. What was considered the weakness of the program this time last year - an ultra thin and young defensive line - proved to be one of the strongest units in 2016. How they progress and grow together will be examined closely.  And the biggest mystery of them all, the offensive line, will likely not shake out until the leaves start changing this fall, rather than under the fragrance of pollen this spring. What was clearly the most-handicapping aspect of an underwhelming offense last season is now missing a few starters, but also has a lion’s share of top recruits scheduled to arrive on campus this summer. So any observations of struggles in protecting the quarterbacks or opening up holes for the running backs may require an asterisks until we make the same observations five months from now.  It’s a happy time of year for many in this part of the world. It’s often referred to as “stress-free football,” with all the nostalgia of SEC football on the practice field, without the worry of losing to a hated rival on Saturday. And when tens of thousands file into Sanford Stadium for G-Day, there’s a guaranteed Bulldog victory to be seen. And no matter how you view it, or how you want to examine and analyze it, there’s one thing everybody will agree on: football is back. And the Classic City is simply more fun with it. 
  • Brice Ramsey is leaving the Georgia Bulldog football team.  The rising senior quarterback has decided to transfer following his graduation in May to a program where he could compete for the starting quarterback job and potentially play this season. That’s according to a statement Ramsey provided to Dawgs247.com on Tuesday morning. His statement in part reads: “I have enjoyed my years at UGA, the bonds I have made with the coaching staffs as well as the numerous friendships with my teammates will last a lifetime and will continue to help guide me with decisions and future endeavors. I will never look back on my time at UGA with regrets, I have loved every minute of my time here.” That brings Georgia down to just two scholarship quarterbacks for this season: Sophomore Jacob Eason and freshman Jake Fromm.
  • ATHENS — Georgia receiver Riley Ridley was arrested Saturday night on a charge of possessing less than an ounce of marijuana, according to the Athens-Clarke County jail web site. Ridley was arrested at 10:05 p.m. on Saturday, and bailed out on $1,000 bond at 12:32 a.m. on Sunday. The Athens-Clarke County Police Department is listed as the arresting agency. A rising sophomore, Ridley had 12 catches for 238 yards and two touchdowns last season. He is expected to compete for a starting position this year. A marijuana arrest that is a misdemeanor usually brings a one-game suspension, per UGA’s student-athlete handbook. Georgia opens the season against Appalachian State.
  • According to several reports, the Los Angeles Rams are signing former University of Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray. Most notably being reported by Ian Rappaport, a national insider for the NFL Network.  Murray graduated from UGA in 2013 after starting for four seasons, setting nearly every school quarterback record along the way. He was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs, where he played a backup role until late last season when he was cut, and then signed to the Philadelphia Eagles practice team before becoming a free agent this offseason.  Sure to make every UGA fan smile, Murray will be reunited with former UGA running back Todd Gurley in L.A. Gurley was drafted in the first round by the Rams in the 2015 NFL Draft, and then promptly won league Rookie of the Year. The duo was a huge fan favorite between the hedges, and also beat Florida together in back-to-back seasons in 2012 and 2013. 
  • From UGA Sports Communications ATHENS-----Georgia’s 2017 football game against Notre Dame in South Bend on Sept. 9 will be a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff and be televised by NBC, it was announced Thursday. The Bulldogs’ trip to Notre Dame will be the first of a home-and-home series between the two teams.  They are scheduled to complete the series in Athens during the 2019 season.  The only previous meeting between UGA and the Fighting Irish came on Jan. 1, 1981, when the Bulldogs defeated Notre Dame 17-10 in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, La., to earn the consensus national championship.
  • University of Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield was taken into police custody early Saturday morning after an alleged incident in downtown Fayetteville, Arkansas. Officers say someone reported that Mayfield was intoxicated, yelling profanities and causing a scene. An arrest report states that Mayfield told officers he was trying to break up an altercation there. >> Read more trending stories  When officers talked to Mayfield, they reportedly found his speech was slurred and his clothing was covered in food. They said the OU football player even sprinted away from police at one point, prompting the officer to tackle him to the ground and handcuff him.Mayfield was booked into the Washington County Detention Facility in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He faces charges of public intoxication, disorderly conduct, fleeing and resisting arrest. 'We are aware of the matter and are learning the details. We don't have any other information at this time,' said Mike Houck, Oklahoma team spokesman.  Mayfield is a sophomore at the university. He was short-listed for the Heisman Trophy last year.