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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.”    
  • HOOVER, Ala. — There is no more debate about it. Mecole Hardman is a wide receiver, plain and simple. He’s no longer a part-time defensive back. “I think that’s safe to say,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said at SEC Football Media Days on Tuesday. “You guys have finally cracked the egg.” The new 2017 media guide, just released this week, was one indication. It has only “WR” next to his name in his bio on page 42. Then there was the evidence offered in spring football practice. Hardman worked at wideout “95 percent of the time,” Smart confirmed. “He did double as a DB on some occasions as were very down with DBs in the spring,” Smart said. “But we think Mecole’s biggest attributes are going to help us in the offensive slot and the return game. He can do a lot of different things. We’ve got to find a way to get him a ball but he’s also got to find a way to protect the ball. That’s going to be a growing curve for him.” Hardman signed with the Bulldogs’ as a 5-star cornerback out of Elbert County High School, even though he played almost none at the position on that level. He was primarily a quarterback for the Blue Devils, while also returning kicks and occasionally playing some free safety. Sid Fritts, Hardman’s high school coach, understood the Bulldogs’ desire to try Hardman as a cover corner because of his incredible speed and quickness. But he always maintained, “I’d have a hard time not getting the ball in his hands as much as possible.” The Bulldogs have apparently come to the same conclusion. With Isaiah McKenzie leaving a year early for the NFL and vacating the coveted slot position, Georgia decided to give him a long there. They like what they’ve seen. “I don’t know that we could really spare (Hardman) defensively,” Smart said. “That’s why it was such a tough decision. We went into the spring with essentially two scholarship corners. That’s what was so tough about the move is it probably hurt us development wise. … You’re making that move to make the offense better, but you’re betting on the incoming freshmen to help us in the two-deep at defensive back.” Georgia has others to fill in at McKenzie’s slot position, where he led the team in receiving last season. But nobody comes as close as Hardman to reproducing the explosiveness factor McKenzie brought to the offense. “Isaish is one of the most explosively quick players I’ve ever been around,” Smart said. “He is smaller than Mecole, though, and he has a little more straight-line speed. He’s able to go out and compete on our track’s 4 by 100 team. But he probably can’t make you miss in a short are like Isaiah could. So there not exactly the same guys. But I’m really excited about the work habits Mecole has and he’s very bright.”  
  • A quartet of Georgia women's golfers earned Golfweek All-America honors for the 2016-17 season. The publication released its honorees late Tuesday, with Jillian Hollis named to the second team, Harang Lee (pictured) included on the third team and Rinko Mitsunaga and Bailey Tardy both featured on the honorable mention ledger.Georgia was the only school in the nation with four golfers among Golfweek's All-America teams.'This is a great honor for these four and a great honor for our program,' head coach Josh Brewer said. 'They put in the hard work throughout the year, and they all deserve it. I think it speaks to the depth we've created and they've created here at Georgia. I'm just very proud of all of them and what they've accomplished. This is a very special recognition.'This also marks the first time four Bulldogs have earned All-America recognition in a single season. Previously, three Georgia golfers were named All-America in 1988, 1991, 1998, 2006 and 2016.Hollis, a sophomore from Rocky River, Ohio, finished the season at No. 12 in the Golfweek/Sagarin individual national rankings. She sported a team-best 72.12 stroke average and notched six top-10 and seven top-20 finishes in 10 tournaments.Lee, a senior from Castro Uridales, Spain, was ranked No. 24 individually by Golfweek. She played an abbreviated fall schedule due to attending LPGA Q-School and competing for Spain in the World Team Amateur Championships. Lee recorded five top-20 finishes in eight events, including a runner-up performance at the SEC Championships.Mitsunaga, a sophomore from Roswell, Ga., completed the year ranked No. 46 by Golfweek. She posted a 73.22 average, including nine par-or-better scores in 23 rounds during the season. Mitsunaga was a top-20 finisher at five of nine events, with top-10 efforts at the Cardinal Kickoff and the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic.Tardy, a sophomore from Peachtree Corners, Ga., was No. 41 in the year-end edition of the Golfweek rankings. She finished with a 72.54 average and led the team with eight top-20 finishes in 10 tournament appearances. Tardy was also stellar in two match play events, posting a combined 6-0 record at the Gifford Great 8 and the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic.Georgia finished the season ranked No. 8 and No. 9 in the Golfweek and Golfstat team rankings, respectively. The Bulldogs posted five wins on the year, with team titles at the Cardinal Kickoff, Windy City Collegiate and Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic and individual crowns at the Cardinal Kickoff (Lee) and Liz Murphey (Hollis).
  • Georgia Bulldog football coach Kirby Smart travels with running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel and linebacker Roquan Smith to Hoover Alabama: the Bulldogs SEC Media Days session takes place this morning. The Dogs are gearing up for the start of coach Smart’s second season in Athens, with an opener against Appalachian State that is now 53 days away.  From the AJC’s Seth Emerson... Advisory to Georgia football fans: You may want to skip over the first few paragraphs to this story. They recount a memory that remains hurtful to many of you who read this site. Unfortunately, that moment was brought up several times here Monday at SEC media days. So it will be recounted here briefly, and you will be notified when it is safe to read again. Tennessee cornerback Emmanuel Mosely was on the visiting bench at Sanford Stadium, sitting next to teammate Cameron Reeves-Maybin. They were sure they had just given up a demoralizing last-second touchdown to Georgia that had cost them the game. Their offense was on the field for its own last-second hail mary try. “I closed my eyes,” Mosely said. “When I noticed that he caught the ball I ran on the field, and went up and hugged him. It was such a great play.” Jauan Jennings had hauled in an improbable 43-yard touchdown with time expired, and Tennessee had shocked Georgia, 34-31. “That was probably the craziest thing I’ve ever been a part of,” linebacker Kendal Vickers said. “I got up out of my seat and threw my helmet. I don’t remember where it went. Just the joy we felt after that game, and the disbelief we saw in all the Georgia fans, it was crazy.” OK, it’s safe to resume reading again. So yes, Tennessee took its turn on the first day of the SEC media days gauntlet, and while much of the day was about disappointment – how the Vols have yet to capitalize and win the SEC East – that moment last year … Sorry, may need to look away again. Just one paragraph. … Proved to give Tennessee its highlight of an otherwise down season, and reinforced that the Vols have switched the mojo in a series that had been dominated by Georgia. “I’d say we have,” Mosely said, before falling back into the old cliché’ of taking it one at a time, etc. Verbal tripe has been a thing lately for the Volunteers, whose coach has become the source of derision for some of those utterances. Butch Jones capped it off late last season when he said his players had been “champions of life.” Mosely was asked about that on Monday. He laughed briefly before answering. “Coach Jones said that. You can’t look at the criticism,” Mosely said. “Basically he wanted us to be better (people) off the field. Great people in life. That’s what I took from it.” Jones, now entering his fifth season at Tennessee – where he has tried to rebuild the program “brick by brick” – seemed to avoid that pitfall during his tour on Monday. But he came close when asked if he viewed last season as a disappointment. “I don’t view it as a disappointment. The way I view it is we didn’t accomplish everything we set ourselves out to. And, again, our goal every year is to win a championship and compete to win a championship,” Jones said. “So, was it a disappointment? No. Did we not accomplish some of the things we set out to do? Absolutely. We have to learn from the things that went wrong that we could have done better.” Jones added that his team started 5-0, with those five wins coming against teams that won their divisions. Alas, Georgia was the fifth game, and it did not win its division. Jones may have issued some talking points to his players, as evidenced by offensive lineman Jason Robertson’s response when asked about Jones possibly being on the hot seat. “We’re one of three teams who have had back-to-back 9-game winning seasons. Also, we won three consecutive bowl games, and that hadn’t been done at the University of Tennessee in 20 years,” Robertson said. “That’s a lot of positives.” Actually, the best positive may be that Jones has elevated the program, after about a decade of struggle, to the point that there is pressure. And … Look away, Georgia fans. … After losing five in a row to Georgia, the Volunteers can now boast a two-game winning streak. And as much of a disappointment as last year may have been, the Vols still have that hail mary. “I’m definitely going to remember that for the rest of my life,” Vicker said. “That specific play.”
  • ATHENS, Ga. --- Bulldog senior Kendell Williams has been named the Southeastern Conference’s Roy F. Kramer Female Athlete of the Year, according to a league announcement on Thursday.   Williams, a heptathlete on Georgia’s track and field team, is the sixth UGA woman to win this SEC honor since 1992 and the 11th Bulldog overall to garner the men or women’s award. The Marietta, Ga., native is the first Georgia student-athlete to win since Allison Schmitt from swimming and diving in 2013. Also of note, current Bulldog gymnastics head coach Courtney Kupets earned the honor in 2009 during her undergraduate years in Athens.   A two-time semifinalist for The Bowerman Award, which is track and field’s version of the Heisman Trophy, Williams was most recently named the Honda Award winner for her sport and one of three finalists for the Honda Cup. Williams was the 20th Bulldog to win a Honda Award but was the first from track and field.   Anchored by Williams’ finishes, the Georgia women have posted eight straight top-five NCAA team finishes, including record-breaking runner-up finishes at the 2017 NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships.   Williams scored 6,265 to capture her third NCAA heptathlon title (2014, 2016, 2017) outdoors in early June and her seventh national championship overall. Her final tally was the second best of her career at the time behind her 6,402 school record at the 2016 Olympic Trials. The four-time SEC champion becomes only the third competitor in NCAA history to win at least three national heptathlon crowns. Following this year’s NCAA meet, the 2016 Olympian returned to action at the USATF Outdoor Championships in late June and scored a personal best 6,564 points to clinch the title by seven points. This score is the second-best tally by a collegian outside of the collegiate season in history. Williams’ older brother, fellow Bulldog senior Devon Williams, took third at the USATF meet in the decathlon to also qualify for the IAAF World Championships coming to London in August. Kendell and Devon became the first siblings to qualify for the World Championships for Team USA since Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Al Joyner in 1983.   Indoors, Williams became the only woman in NCAA Division I history to win four times in the same event after sweeping the pentathlon from 2014-17. She ends her career with seven of the top-10 pentathlon scores in collegiate history, including the top four. These 2017 NCAA victories in the pentathlon and heptathlon gave her the multi-events sweep for the third time in her career. Only two other competitors in history have swept the multi-events for the women.   The three-time U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Women’s Indoor Field Athlete of the Year finished her Georgia career as a 10-time First Team All-American. She holds collegiate all-time bests in the pentathlon 60-meter hurdles (8.03) and heptathlon 100m hurdles (12.83).   Updates from Georgia’s track and field and cross country teams can always be found on Twitter/Instagram (UGATrack) and Snapchat (ugatrack).
  • From UGA Sports Communications ATHENS, Ga. – Eighty-six University of Georgia student-athletes were named to the 2017 Spring Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll this week by SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. The 2017 Spring SEC Honor Roll is based on grades from the 2016 Summer, 2016 Fall and 2017 Spring terms.   Any student-athlete who participates in a Southeastern Conference championship sport, has completed a minimum of 24 semester hours, and has a grade point average of 3.0 or higher, is eligible for nomination.   The following UGA student-athletes were named to the 2017 SEC Academic Honor Roll:   Baseball: Ryan Avidano (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Peachtree City, Ga.); Blake Cairnes (Real Estate, Douglasville, Ga.); Michael Curry (Computer Science, Gainesville, Ga.); Andrew Gist (Sport Management, Cumming, Ga.); Adam Goodman (Marketing, Fayetteville, Ga.); Trey Logan (Finance, Suwanee, Ga.); Keegan McGovern (Biology, Willacoochee, Ga.); Drew Moody (Communication Studies & Management, LaGrange, Ga.); Adam Sasser (Sports Management, Evans, Ga.); Shaefer Shepard (Masters of Higher Education, Boca Raton, Fla.); Kevin Smith (Management, Dunwoody, Ga.); Patrick Sullivan (Marketing, Sandy Springs, Ga.); LJ Talley (Communication Studies & Management, Folkston, Ga.); Mitchell Webb (Sport Management, Dallas, Ga.)    Men’s Golf: Matthew Beringer (Finance, Macon, Ga.); Jack Larkin (Finance, Atlanta, Ga.); Jaime Lopez Rivarola (Economics, Buenos Aires, Argentina); David Mackey (Risk Management & Insurance, Bogart, Ga.); Greyson Sigg (Sport Management, Augusta, Ga.)   Women’s Golf: Jillian Hollis (Journalism, Rocky River, Ohio); Sammi Lee (Legal Studies & Finance, Winter Park, Fla.); Rinko Mitsunaga (Communication Studies, Roswell, Ga.); Mary Ellen Shuman (Finance, St. Simons Island, Ga.); Isabella Skinner (Accounting, Cumming, Ga.)   Softball: Kylie Bass (Health & Physical Education, Gray, Ga.); Brea Dickey (Health & Physical Education, Lawrenceville, Ga.); Cortni Emanuel (Psychology, Missouri City, Texas); Sydni Emanuel (Psychology, Missouri City, Texas); Bekah Farris (Genetics, Marietta, Ga.); Tyra Holliday (Romance Languages, Lawrenceville, Ga.); Maeve McGuire (Criminal Justice, Downers Grover, Ill.); Lindsey Miles (Early Childhood Education, Jefferson, Ga.); Lacey Sumerlin (Early Childhood Education, Mobile, Ala.)   Men’s Tennis: Walker Duncan (Accounting, Atlanta, Ga.); Andrew Martinez (Finance, Atlanta, Ga.); Paul Oosterbaan (Consumer Economics, Kalamazzo, Mich.); Alex Phillips (Finance, Peachtree City, Ga.); Jan Zielinski (Management, Warsaw, Poland)   Women’s Tennis: Caroline Brinson (Marketing, New Orleans, La.); Mariana Gould (Health Promotion, Boise, Idaho); Stephanie Grodecki (Psychology & Biology, Germantown, Md.); Laura Patterson (Finance, Roswell, Ga.); Ellen Perez (Sport Management, Shellharbor, Australia)   Men’s Track and Field: Denzel Comenentia (Sport Management, Amsterdam, Netherlands); Terrell Estime (Finance, Snellville, Ga.); Ayrian Evans (Sociology, Ellenwood, Ga.); Jeramey Hampton (Finance, Suwanee, Ga.); Tyler Jones (Consumer Economics, Bogart, Ga.); Bryan Kamau (Financial Planning, Snellville, Ga.); Joe Kimura Smith (Finance, Marietta, Ga.); Alexander Larsson (Mechanical Engineering, Uppsala, Sweden); Stephen Martinez (Health Promotions, Doraville, Ga.); Jon Moses (Marketing, Lawrenceville, Ga.); Jonathan Pelham (Political Science & International Affairs, LaGrange, Ga.); Ryan Peppenhorst (Economics, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Cumming, Ga.); Jonathan Raines (Finance, Macon, Ga.); Karl Saluri (Food Industry Marketing & Administration, Kuimetsa, Estonia); Sid Vaughn (Consumer Economics, Baton Rouge, La.); Eric Westog (Communication Studies & Religion, Wilmington, Del.)    Women’s Track and Field: Morgan Ainslie (Digital & Broadcast Journalism, Marietta, Ga.); Devon Artis (Marketing, Alpharetta, Ga.); Shelby Ashe (International Affairs & Political Science, Stone Mountain, Ga.); Natalie Bordes (Communication Studies, Alpharetta, Ga.); Allie Castro (Health Promotions, Lincolnton, N.C.); Asianna Covington (Consumer Economics, Vancouver, British Columbia); Caroline Dickey (Civil Engineering, Gainesville, Ga.); Holly Ebbets (Nutrition Science, Leesburg, Ga.); Mady Fagan (Sport Management, Los Gatos, Calif.); Anna Gandolfo (Marketing, Johns Creek, Ga.); Sarah Gardner (Marketing, Marietta, Ga.); Morgan Green (Exercise & Sport Science, Roswell, Ga.); Tatiana Gusin (Art, Orhei, Moldova); Lauren Hovis (Middle School Education, Dacula, Ga.); Aliyah Johnson (Sport Management, Brisbane, Australia); Addison Lippitt (Management, Lawrenceville, Ga.); Anna Machovec (Computer Science, Dacula, Ga.); Keturah Orji (Financial Planning, Mount Olive, N.J.); Breanna Ragsdale (Accounting, Peachtree City, Ga.); Catelyn Schmiedebusch (Management Information Systems, Troy, Ohio); Kayla Smith (Sociology, Indianapolis, Ind.); Georgia Stefanidi (Advertising, Pallini, Greece); Katie Stone (Early Childhood Education, Macon, Ga.); Laurel Sumner (Mathematics, Snellville, Ga.); Grace Tavani (Communication Studies & Spanish, Roswell, Ga.); Mary Terry (Health & Physical Education, Norcross, Ga.); Kendell Williams (Advertising, Marietta, Ga.)

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.”