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Entertainment Headlines

    The New York Times is asking Fox News' morning show 'Fox & Friends' to apologize for what the newspaper calls a 'malicious and inaccurate segment' about the newspaper, intelligence leaks and the Islamic State that aired Saturday. New York Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha said Sunday that she requested an 'on-air apology and tweet.' The paper, she wrote, took issue with a Fox host on the segment saying that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi 'was able to sneak away under the cover of darkness after a New York Times story' in 2015 and a host's comment that the U.S. government 'would have had al-Baghdadi based on the intelligence that we had except someone leaked information to the failing New York Times.' The segment referred to comments by a top military official noted in a Friday Fox story . In the Fox story, Gen. Tony Thomas, the head of U.S. Special Operations Command, said his team was 'close' to al-Baghdadi after a 2015 raid but the 'lead went dead' after it 'was leaked in a prominent national newspaper.' The Fox story connected Thomas with the Times, saying that Thomas 'appeared to be referring to a New York Times report in June 2015 that detailed how American intelligence agencies had 'extracted valuable information.'' The FoxNews.com story was updated online Sunday with a Times statement. 'Fox & Friends' will 'provide an updated story to viewers tomorrow morning based on the FoxNews.com report,' the company said in a statement emailed by Fox spokeswoman Caley Cronin Sunday. The Times wrote a story Sunday saying President Donald Trump was wrong when he tweeted Saturday morning that the 'failing' New York Times 'foiled' a government attempt to kill al-Baghdadi, apparently a reaction to Fox's story. The Times also pushed back against Fox's story, noting that the Pentagon issued a news release more than three weeks before the Times article that could have tipped off al-Baghdadi. The paper also said the Pentagon 'raised no objections' with it before the 2015 article on the intelligence gleaned from the raid was published.
  • From 'Black Panther' to Batman, 'Stranger Things' to 'Blade Runner 2049,' and 'Ready Player One' to Rep. John Lewis, Comic-Con had something for almost every pop-culture appetite. As the annual fan convention in San Diego wraps Sunday after four days of panels, presentations, screenings and autograph signings, here's a look at some of the highlights. BLACK PANTHER: The film won't be out until 2019, but 'Black Panther' swiped the most attention at Marvel's presentation. Director Ryan Coogler and cast members Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong'o, Andy Serkis and Danai Gurira were on hand to debut a clip from the film. Boseman, who introduced his Black Panther character in 2016's 'Captain America: Civil War,' said the new film finds him returning to his home of Wakanda after his father dies. Nyong'o described her character as a spy who goes undercover to report back to the fictional isolated nation about what is going on in the rest of the world. Marvel's presentation also included early looks at the November release 'Thor: Ragnarok' and next year's 'Avengers: Infinity War.' And studio chief Kevin Feige announced that Michelle Pfeiffer was cast in the 'Ant-Man' sequel 'Ant-Man and the Wasp,' also due in 2018. ___ BATMAN: There was a lot of Batman at Comic-Con, from Ben Affleck's confirmation that he'll continue to play the character to a star-filled tribute to the original 'Batman' actor, Adam West. Affleck refuted rumors that he would no longer play the character after ceding direction of 'The Batman' to 'War for the Planet of the Apes' director Matt Reeves. The actor also appeared alongside some of his 'Justice League' costars, including Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Jason Momoa (Aquaman), Ezra Miller (The Flash) and Ray Fisher (Cyborg) as they showed footage from the film due in November. West was celebrated by his fans and collaborators at a heartfelt tribute that featured Kevin Smith, producer James Tucker, actor Ralph Garman and 'Catwoman' actress Lee Meriwether. Smith said he learned morality from West's portrayal of Batman in the original TV series, and Meriwether said she was so dazzled by the actor during the making of 'Batman: The Movie' that she nearly lost track of her performance — especially during a ballroom scene where they danced together. 'All I could think of was, 'I'm dancing with Adam West,' ' she said. 'I probably blew one take and then I snapped out of it.' ___ STRANGER THINGS: The popular Netflix show took over the San Diego Convention Center's largest exhibition hall to debut a new trailer for its anticipated second season. The show, set in the early 1980s, follows a group of kids trying to figure out how their friend mysteriously disappeared. Along the way, they meet an unusual girl named Eleven, who has telepathic powers. Show creators the Duffer Bros. were joined by director Shawn Levy and star Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven) and the other young actors in the ensemble: Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin and Noah Schnapp. 'Stranger Things' also had a presence in downtown San Diego with an installation that resembled the show's set and a virtual-reality experience that brought guests into the home of the missing boy and face to face with the monster that haunts him. ___ BLADE RUNNER 2049: Harrison Ford joked that he was out to reboot all of his iconic roles. The actor was on hand to present footage from 'Blade Runner 2049,' in which he reprises his role as Rick Deckard. Ford said he gained a deeper understanding of his character in the sequel, which hits theaters in October. Ford appeared alongside costar Ryan Gosling as the film's panel. 'Blade Runner 2049' also hosted a massive installation away from the San Diego Convention Center where fans could experience the Los Angeles of the future through virtual reality and replication of key sets inhabited by actors wearing actual costumes from the film. ___ READY PLAYER ONE: Steven Spielberg has spent more than two years adapting Ernest Cline's novel 'Ready Player One' for the screen, and the filmmaker said he was proud to debut a new trailer inside Comic-Con's biggest exhibition hall. Actor Tye Sheridan stars in the story about a dystopian future where humans take refuge in a virtual-reality world. For Cline, having Spielberg make a movie based on his book is a full-circle moment. 'I learned how to be a storyteller because of this man,' the author said. ___ REP. JOHN LEWIS: Civil rights icon U.S. Rep. John Lewis led about 1,000 people on a march through the crowded San Diego Convention Center following a discussion of his trilogy of graphic novels about his participation in nonviolent protests during the civil rights movement in the 1950s and '60s. Lewis urged the many students in attendance to recognize that they, too, can make a contribution toward a better world. He said the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., inspired him to 'get in trouble — what I call good trouble, necessary trouble.' 'Now more than ever before, we all need to get in trouble,' he said. 'When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation, a mission and a mandate to stand up, to speak up, to speak out and get in trouble.' ___ AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr contributed to this report. ___ Follow AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen at www.twitter.com/APSandy .
  • Wonder Woman has a few reasons to celebrate. As of Sunday, the superhero pic is now the highest-grossing film of the summer with $398 million from North American theaters, and the sequel is official. Warner Bros. is not saying much about the inevitable follow-up to the smash hit, but the studio did flash a title card with the words 'Wonder Woman II' during its Comic-Con presentation Saturday. But that was the extent of the 'Wonder Woman II' talk at the fan convention. There is no official word on whether or not Patty Jenkins will return to direct, who is penning the script or even when the film might hit theaters. Not even Gal Gadot mentioned it during the Comic-Con 'Justice League' panel.
  • A Kansas makeup artist says she won a national contest sponsored by Kat Von D Beauty but was later disqualified because of an Instagram post supporting Donald Trump's presidential candidacy. Screenshots taken by Gypsy Freeman show she was declared the winner last month of an Instagram 'Saint + Sinner Contest' sponsored by the makeup line, which was founded by tattoo artist and former reality show star Kat Von D. Freeman's entry was an Instagram image of an angelic figure beside a girl in an all-black outfit and thick mascara, the Wichita Eagle reported (http://bit.ly/2gQwtKU ). The winner and a guest were to be flown to Los Angeles to attend the launch party for a new Von D makeup line, with a $500 gift card to Sephora thrown in. But curious Instagram users found Freeman's pro-Trump post from November. Von D, who starred in the tattoo-themed TLC reality show 'LA Ink,' later messaged Freeman on Instagram to say she had 'drawn a personal line in the sand between myself and anyone who supports that man,' according to screenshots of the conversation. 'My launch party (and my brand) celebrates many things that Trump is against,' Von D added, according to the screenshots. 'And I just need you to know that I personally have a hard time with inviting anyone who would support such an anti-feminist, anti-homosexual/LGBT, anti-immigrant, and anti-climate change fascist such as Trump.' Kat Von D Beauty's parent company, Kendo Holdings, didn't reply to the newspaper's messages seeking comment. Freeman, who splits her time between Wichita and Florida, said she thinks it's unfortunate that politics was brought into the contest. 'Part of the great thing about this country is having freedom of speech,' she said. 'It's definitely bigotry — it's everything that they're calling us, they're doing,' Freeman added. 'It's a huge case of hypocrisy.' Jenn Bischof, the Florida photographer who took the photos for Freeman's entry, was invited — and attended — the launch party.
  • Four 'Star Wars' costuming clubs held a tribute to their favorite fallen princess at Comic-Con. The fan groups celebrated the life and work of Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia at the pop-culture convention in San Diego on Sunday. Several women dressed in Leia's flowing white gown and iconic twin buns spoke about how much the character inspired them. One said she walked down the aisle at her wedding to Leia's theme. Another said, 'You put on a pair of buns, and you're unstoppable.' The presentation included an exhibit of fan art created after Fisher's death last year. The fans also celebrated the life of Kenny Baker, the actor who played R2-D2, who also died last year. Members of the R2 Builders Club honored him by bringing out four replica droids they built.
  • It's victory for 'Dunkirk' and 'Girls Trip' at the box office this weekend. Both original and well-reviewed films smashed expectations and enticed diverse audiences to the theaters, even though cumulatively summer remains down from last year. Christopher Nolan's World War II epic brought in an estimated $50.5 million to easily top the charts, according to Warner Bros., while the raucous comedy 'Girls Trip' broke the R-rated comedy slump of 2017 with $30.4 million to take second place. 'Dunkirk' was far from an inevitable summer success. But stellar reviews, awards buzz and hype around the film's large-scale production helped drive people to the theater and large-format screens. 'We're beyond thrilled with this exceptional achievement for 'Dunkirk,' ' said Jeff Goldstein, who heads distribution for Warner Bros. 'The critical reception worldwide has been consistently effusive. It really propelled this movie that wasn't an obvious win.' Audiences were 60 percent male and 76 percent over the age of 25 for the PG-13 rated film, while IMAX audiences represented 23 percent of the market share (or $11.7 million of the total grosses from only 402 screens). 'It became a must-see event,' said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst for comScore. Drawing quite a different audience was the buddy comedy 'Girls Trip,' starring Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish, Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah as a group of girlfriends who head to New Orleans for a weekend of fun. The Universal film drew in an audience that was 79 percent female and 50 percent under the age of 30. Fifty-nine percent of attendees were estimated to be African-American. Notably, audiences gave the film a stellar A+ CinemaScore, suggesting the film will have long-term playability. ' 'Girls Trip' was a perfectly counter-programmed box office surprise,' Dergarabedian said. 'It broke the R-rated comedy curse that has afflicted this summer with 'Baywatch,' 'Snatched,' 'Rough Night' and 'The House.' ' For Universal, the formula is more simple: 'Girls Trip,' unlike the aforementioned comedies, is resonating with audiences. 'When the taste for entertainment and comedy has been somewhat underserved, it is not because people aren't interested in laughing, it's that they're waiting for something funny to come along,' said Nick Carpou, Universal's president of domestic distribution. 'One of the great things about this comedy is that it's really funny.' Not so successful was Luc Besson's nearly $180 million sci-fi epic 'Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,' which earned $17 million from North American theaters over the weekend for a fifth-place start. It came in behind 'Spider-Man: Homecoming,' in third in its third weekend with $22 million and 'War for the Planet of the Apes' in fourth place in its second weekend with $20.4 million. Besson's film, starring Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne and based on the French comic 'Valerian and Laureline,' was produced by EuropaCorp. STX Entertainment distributed it in North America. The film's financial exposure was limited, however. EuropaCorp says 90 percent of the budget was already covered by foreign pre-sales, equity financing and tax subsidies. Dergarabedian said it's more about the international returns for 'Valerian,' but it's hard not to see Besson's return to sci-fi as a disappointment. Not adjusted for inflation, 'Valerian' earned basically the same as 'The Fifth Element,' which came out 20 years ago. For comparison, his film 'Lucy,' starring Scarlett Johansson, opened to $43.8 million in 2014. Overall, the year remains around flat from last year, and the summer season looks unlikely to make up for its deficit through the end of July and August. Still, Dergarabedian thinks there is a silver lining in the quality of the films that have come out this summer. 'Despite the weekend being down close to 10 percent, the currency that was most valuable is the currency of goodwill,' Dergarabedian said. 'Nobody can say that Hollywood threw the same old stuff at the wall this weekend.' Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday. 1. 'Dunkirk,' $50.5 million ($55.4 million international). 2. 'Girls Trip,' $30.4 million. 3. 'Spider-Man: Homecoming,' $22 million ($33.2 million international). 4. 'War for the Planet of the Apes,' $20.4 million ($17.3 million international). 5. 'Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,' $17 million ($3.9 million international). 6. 'Despicable Me 3,' $12.7 million ($47.5 million international). 7. 'Baby Driver,' $6 million ($8.3 million international). 8. 'The Big Sick,' $5 million. 9. 'Wonder Woman,' $4.6 million ($1.8 million international). 10. 'Wish Upon,' $2.5 million ($1.1 million international). ___ Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore: 1.'Dunkirk,' $55.4 million. 2.'Despicable Me 3,' $47.5 million. 3.'Spider-Man: Homecoming,' $33.2 million. 4.'Transformers: The Last Knight,' $24.9 million. 5.'War for the Planet of the Apes,' $17.3 million. 6.'Brotherhood of the Blades II: The Infernal,' $16 million. 7.'Wukong,' $12.3 million. 8.'Cars 3,' $11.4 million. 9.'Farther And Son,' $11.1 million. 10.'Baby Driver,' $8.3 million. ___ Universal and Focus are owned by NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.; Sony, Columbia, Sony Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics are units of Sony Corp.; Paramount is owned by Viacom Inc.; Disney, Pixar and Marvel are owned by The Walt Disney Co.; Miramax is owned by Filmyard Holdings LLC; 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight are owned by 21st Century Fox; Warner Bros. and New Line are units of Time Warner Inc.; MGM is owned by a group of former creditors including Highland Capital, Anchorage Advisors and Carl Icahn; Lionsgate is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; IFC is owned by AMC Networks Inc.; Rogue is owned by Relativity Media LLC. ___ Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/ldbahr
  • On Friday, Hoda Kotb shared another adorable picture of her new daughter, Haley Joy, whom she calls her “everything” in the caption on Instagram. >> Read more trending news In the picture, Hayley smiles right at the camera with her big, brown eyes shining and sporting some thick, growing hair. Kotb has been keeping fans updated on Haley’s growth ever since announcing her adoption early this year, posting cute photos of her daughter’s sweetest moments. “Life flies by,” she said on becoming a mom and on celebrating her recent four year anniversary with boyfriend Joel. >> Related: Hoda Kotb reveals how she kept her adoption a secret “It’s so funny because you spend so much of your life wondering, ‘When is it going to happen?’ If ever. Sometimes in my life, I thought it was already happening—like the most that could ever happen was happening. I was happy and grateful, and then this happened. It just reminded me that work is work, and life is life.”
  • Princes William and Harry are talking about the last, rushed phone call they had with their mother, Princess Diana, before her untimely death in a car crash in Paris in 1997. Their painful reflections are part of a new ITV documentary called “Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy,” airing on Monday, July 24. The program comes as the 20th anniversary of the death of the Princess of Wales approaches on Aug. 31, and celebrates her life and charitable works, according to ITV. >> Read more trending news The princes opened up to the filmmakers about the last time they spoke to Diana from the Queen’s estate in Balmoral, Scotland. The brothers, William 15, at the time, and Harry, just 12, remembered that they were playing with their cousins at the time Diana phoned.  Both William and Harry said they have regrets about that final call to this day. “Harry and I were in a desperate rush to say goodbye, you know ‘see you later.’ … If I’d known now, obviously, what was going to happen I wouldn’t have been so blasé about it and everything else,” William said in the documentary while he and Harry were looking through a photo album. “But that phone call sticks in my mind quite heavily.” Harry echoed his brother. “Looking back on it now, it’s incredibly hard. I’ll have to sort of deal with that for the rest of my life,” Harry said. “Not knowing that was the last time I was going to speak to my mum; how differently that conversation would have panned out if I’d had even the slightest inkling her life was going to be taken that night.” >> Related: Prince William, Harry to rededicate Princess Diana’s grave on her birthday “I can’t necessarily remember what I said, but all I do remember is probably regretting for the rest of my life how short the phone call was,” Harry said. The brothers also talked about how much fun their mother was. “She was very informal and really enjoyed laughter and the fun,” William said. “She was one of the naughtiest parents,” Harry added. Prince William and Harry said they are talking candidly about their mother publicly for the first time to help honor her memory and the good works she was known for, including her work with AIDS victims and her activism against land mines. But Prince William said he doesn’t expect to discuss his mother again in such an open way after the events surrounding the 20th anniversary of her death.   The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • When O.J. Simpson told a Nevada parole board last week that he's led a 'conflict-free life,' he seemed to overlook a few episodes that had him cycling in and out of courtrooms and jail cells for nearly 20 years before the Las Vegas hotel-room heist that sent him to prison in 2008. There was a wife-beating charge in 1989 that he pleaded no contest to, a road-rage charge he was acquitted of in 2001 and a contempt-of-court citation in 2008 that put him in jail for five days. There was also, of course, the 1994 murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. Acquitted by a criminal jury in 1995, the football hero and Hollywood star was found liable for the killings in civil court two years later and ordered to pay the victims' families $33.5 million. 'The idea that he believes that he's led a conflict-free life shows a certain delusion that he's been very noted for throughout his career,' said veteran Hollywood crisis publicist Michael Levine. In the wife-beating case, Simpson was accused of attacking Nicole Brown Simpson on New Year's Day 1989, angrily telling police it was a 'family matter.' Then, fearing he would be arrested, he fled in his Rolls-Royce, according to police. Officers reported they arrived at Simpson's Los Angeles home before dawn to find Nicole Brown Simpson screaming, 'He's going to kill me!' They said she had a cut lip, a swollen and blackened left eye and cheek, and a handprint still visible on her neck. She called 911 again, eight months before she was killed, to report Simpson had broken down a door to get into her home and was threatening to beat her. He could be heard screaming angrily in the background. When the 70-year-old Simpson told his parole board Thursday, 'I've basically had a conflict-free life, you know,' the remark lit up social media with derision and disbelief. 'A conflict-free life,' Ron Goldman's father, Fred, asked incredulously Saturday. 'This is who he is. He's a sociopath, a narcissistic liar, a murderer, a thug, a kidnapper, a robber. The list goes on.' Of course all those conflicts occurred before Simpson had nine years in prison to realize he was not above the law. Will he remember that after he gets out in October? 'I would guess that there is some message that got through to him, a deterrence message about having to take the criminal justice system seriously,' said Loyola Law School professor Laurie Levenson. 'But you know, staying on the right path is difficult for anybody who gets out of prison,' added Levenson, a former federal prosecutor. 'And for O.J., who there is going to be a tremendous amount of public spotlight on, it may be particularly challenging.' The moment he slips up, she said, there will be an army of people waiting to push the record button on their cellphones. And he could end up getting sent back to prison. One of the most valuable things he learned behind bars, Simpson said at his parole hearing, came in an 'Alternative to Violence' class that taught him 'how to talk to people instead of fighting.' That seemingly would have been useful when he got into that road-rage dispute in Florida with a driver who accused him of trying to snatch the glasses off his face. Simpson denied trying to take the glasses, testifying his fingerprints must have gotten on them when he accidentally bumped him as both were shouting at each other. In 2002 he nearly got locked up when he pleaded not guilty to speeding his boat through one of Florida's manatee-protected zones, then didn't show up in court. After a judge issued a warrant for his arrest, he paid the fine. He didn't fare as well in 2008 after he sent an angry, expletive-filled message to one of his co-defendants in the hotel-room robbery after the judge specifically ordered him not to contact any co-defendants. He jailed Simpson for five days until a hearing, at which Simpson promised not to do it again. Simpson has argued all along — and repeated on Thursday — that he was only trying to retrieve some of his mementos when he and five others barged into that Las Vegas hotel room in 2007 and robbed two sports memorabilia dealers. Levine, the crisis publicist, said that his best advice to Simpson would be to stay out of sight after he gets out and, when someone tries to goad him into an argument, turn the other cheek. 'If he doesn't,' Levine said, 'he's hours away from being back in license-plate-making school.' ___ Associated Press Writer Ken Ritter in Las Vegas contributed to this story.
  • Superhero fans, rejoice: A new 'Justice League' trailer and movie poster have been revealed at Comic-Con in San Diego. >> Watch the trailer here >> PHOTOS: Comic-Con cosplay Time reported that the trailer released Saturday 'hints at the appearance of a mysterious hero,' possibly Superman or a Green Lantern.  >> WATCH: Gal Gadot cheers up teary-eyed girl dressed as Wonder Woman at Comic-Con >> Read more trending news The poster, which features Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), the Flash (Ezra Miller), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and Aquaman (Jason Momoa), features the words, 'You can't save the world alone.' >> See the poster here

Local News

  • Those anticipating next month’s solar eclipse have an opportunity to view the rare spectacle at the University of Georgia.  The event, Eclipse Blackout 2017 hosted by the university's geography department, will allow onlookers to view the moment Aug. 21 at Sanford Stadium.  “UGA is in a great position to view a 99.1 percent “blackout” from a total solar eclipse,” organizers wrote on the event page.  MORE: 7 things to know about the total solar eclipse crossing the nation this August MORE: Get your free eclipse glasses at these metro Atlanta libraries The first 5,000 guests will get free, custom UGA viewing glasses and can expect to see other views from around the world on the stadium’s big screen. The eclipse is expected to be over Oregon at 1:15 p.m. EDT and end in South Carolina about an hour and a half later. Peak darkness in Athens is projected to be at 2:38 p.m.  The eclipse is the first in nearly 100 years to cross the country. Due to its rarity, astronomers are calling it the Great American Eclipse.
  • Trouble appears to be brewing in Elbert County, where Bowman Mayor Betty Jo Maxwell has filed harassment complaints with the Sheriff’s Office in Elberton, complaints against Bowman City Councilman Clay Rooker. The Mayor says the Councilman made threats. The Elbert County Sheriff’s Office says its investigation is ongoing. 
  • A Jackson County man is among those charged in a bribery case in Rome: David English is 38 years old, from Hoschton. He’s facing theft, bribery, and RICO allegations, accused of taking bribes as a security contactor for the Floyd County School System. English owns Southeastern Security Professionals; he’s accused of taking more than $60,000 from the school district in Rome over a four-year period that ended in 2014. 
  • Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Kelly Girtz says he will kick off his 2018 campaign for mayor with a rally on September 9. Girtz joins Harry Sims as Commissioners who say they will run to replace a term-limited Athens Mayor Nancy Denson. Also in the race are Antwon Stephens, Richie Knight, and Sam Thomas.  'We can build a strong foundation that will support Athenians of every walk of life, one that will set the stage for great lives for generations ahead,” said Girtz. “A safer, healthier, more prosperous Athens is awaiting, and I can't wait to work with you to build it.”  The election for Athens-Clarke County Mayor will be held on May 22, 2018. 
  • The victim of a Thursday accident at a quarry in Oglethorpe County has been identified. Matthew Kantala was 36 years old, from Elberton. The Oglethorpe County Coroner's office says he was struck by a piece of falling granite at the Blue Sky Quarry on Veribest Road. OSHA is investigating. 

Bulldog News

  • Georgia Bulldog running back Elijah Holyfield will go through a pre-trial diversion program after his marijuana arrest of earlier this year. The son of former heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield was arrested May 1. He’s a sophomore on the Bulldog team that opens the 2017 season in 47 days. Holyfield is expected to be suspended for the September 2 home game against Appalachian State.  The sportswriters who attended last week’s SEC Media Days in Hoover Alabama voted the Georgia Bulldogs as preseason favorites to win the SEC East in coach Kirby Smart’s second season in Athens.
  • Kirby Smart said earlier this week that the Georgia football team should embrace the expectations. Well, here they are.   Georgia is officially the favorite to win the SEC East, albeit a slight one, as the Bulldogs were selected first in the division in the annual preseason media poll. Florida, the two-time defending champion, came in a close second. Georgia received 1,572 points, including 138 first-place votes, edging out Florida (1,526 points and 96 first-place votes.) The two were followed by Tennessee (998 points and three first-place votes), South Carolina (897 and five first-place votes), Kentucky (869), Vanderbilt (554) and Missouri (388). This is the fourth time in the last six years that Georgia has been picked to win the division. It met those expectations in 2012, then came short in 2013 and 2015. Last year, for Smart’s first season as Georgia’s head coach, the media picked Georgia to finish third. The Bulldogs ended up in a three-way tie for second. “When you come to the University of Georgia, the expectation is to win championships. That’s what we expect to do at the University of Georgia, and that’s the standard we’ll be held to,” Smart said from the podium during his turn at SEC media days. Georgia also received six votes to win the entire SEC championship, third-most behind prohibitive favorite Alabama (217) and Auburn (11).  Auburn and Mississippi State, the two West division teams that Georgia faces, were picked second and sixth in their division, respectively.  
  • Georgia Bulldog running back Nick Chubb was named Georgia Collegiate Athlete of the Year at last night’s Atlanta Sports Awards show. Chubb and his Bulldog teammates are today 50 days away from the season opener against the Appalachian State Mountaineers, a September 2 contest in Sanford Stadium.   Chubb, a native of Cedartown, Ga., was chosen from an all Bulldog group of finalists including track and field’s Keturah Orji and swimming and diving’s Olivia Smoliga, who were both 2016 U.S. Olympians.   This marks the second year in a row that a University of Georgia student-athlete has won the Collegiate Athlete of the Year honor after golfer Lee McCoy enjoyed the honor in 2016. The first accolade of this sort was given in 2006 and since football’s D.J. Shockley won the inaugural honor, there have been nine Bulldogs to garner the award. Five of those Georgia team members selected have been football players, including Jarvis Jones going back to back in 2011-12.   Chubb finished his third season as Georgia’s No. 2 all-time leading rusher with 3,424 yards, trailing only Herschel Walker (5,259). Named one of the team’s overall captains following the 2016 season, Chubb went for 1,130 yards and eight rushing touchdowns last year. This marked the second 1,000-yard season of his career after Chubb tallied 1,547 yards and 15 scores as a freshman in 2014. He was named the SEC Freshman of the Year and a Freshman All-American following his first year.   Chubb returned in 2016 following a season-ending knee injury that he sustained in game six of his sophomore year in 2015. In his season debut last year, Chubb exploded for 222 yards on 32 carries (6.9 average) and two touchdowns in the win over #20 North Carolina during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. He completed his third year with a 147-yard performance during the victory over TCU in the Liberty Bowl.
  • Georgia will be getting a key player back at full speed in time for fall camp.   Speaking at SEC Media Days on Tuesday, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart Bulldogs defensive tackle Trenton Thompson will be ready to go after an offseason that including rehabbing a shoulder injury and withdrawing from spring classes in February to deal with an unspecified medical issue. Thompson will be a big part of a Bulldogs defense that returns ten starters from last season. In 2106, Georgia finished No. 16 in the nation in total defense, allowing only 327.5 yards per game while allowing 24 points per game, good for 35th overall. A sophomore last season, Thompson recorded 56 total tackles, including 9.5 for a loss and five sacks.  
  • HOOVER, Ala. — Georgia football signees Robert Beal and Devonte Wyatt have yet to qualify to enroll at UGA, but coach Kirby Smart remains hopeful it will happen soon.  “They’re not ready yet to come in yet,” Smart said on Tuesday at SEC Media Days. “We think we could get them in any day, any minute. And that’s the hope.” Beal is a linebacker who finished his high school career at Suwanee’s Peachtree Ridge High School, after also spending time at IMG Academy and Norcross High School. He was rated a 4-star prospect by 247Sports, Rivals and Scout, and a 5-star by ESPN. At one time, he was committed to Notre Dame. Wyatt is a defensive lineman from Decatur’s Towers High School. He was rated a 4-star prospect by 247Sports and Scout, and a 3-star by Rivals and ESPN. Neither player was expected to contend immediately for playing time, given the team’s veteran depth at their positions. But coaches were clearly high on the potential of both. “We talk to them a lot about staying in shape, because they’re not there with our guys working out,” Smart said. “So those guys get a program, they’re encouraged to do it, it’s hard to oversee it. So you want those guys to work out and stay in shape so that when they do qualify they’re able to come in and help.”