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Bulldog News

    ATHENS — Rain or shine, the Georgia Bulldogs’ 2019 baseball season will get underway on Friday. It appears they will see a little of both before the opening three-game series concludes. The Dayton Flyers of Ohio are in town for a three-game series. Showers expected to enter the area Friday evening have moved up Friday’s first pitch at Foley Field two hours to 3 p.m. As of now, Games 2 and 3 are scheduled Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively. But UGA may try to squeeze in a doubleheader earlier Saturday if more bands of rain come through Saturday night as expected. Scott Stricklin enters his sixth season as Georgia’s baseball coach amid the program’s highest expectations in years. (Kristin M. Bradshaw/UGA) Regardless of when and how the season gets started, it is a formidable Georgia team with high expectations that will take the field for coach Scott Stricklin, who enters his sixth season as the Bulldogs’ skipper. Thanks to the return of 25 lettermen, eight pitchers and seven position starters, Georgia comes in carrying preseason rankings as high as No. 9 (by D1Baseball.com) and as low as 15 (by Baseball America). Led by preseason All-American Aaron Schunk and opening day starter Emerson Hancock, those players formed the core of a a Georgia team that compiled a 39-21 record a year ago and hosted an NCAA Regional final as a No. 8 national seed. The plan is to build on that this season. “We have a lot of experience, which is what people are looking at first and foremost,” Stricklin said on Thursday as he readied the Bulldogs for a new season. “We have a lot of guys who have played a lot of innings in our league and a lot of guys with postseason experience. That’s huge, moving forward. Talent’s one thing, depth is another thing, but experience can trump all of those and I feel like we have all three.” There is one area of significant loss, however, and it’s an important one — power. The Bulldogs will be missing 41 home runs and 147 RBI from the middle of last year’s lineup. Designated hitter Michael Curry (13 HRs, 53 RBI) turned pro after his junior season, All-American outfielder Keegan McGovern graduated (18-50) and first baseman Adam Sasser (10-44) was dismissed from the team for yelling racial epithets at a Georgia football game last fall. But the Bulldogs feel confident they can sufficiently replenish their power numbers while leaning hard on strong pitching and defense. With the exception of first base, the rest of the infield returns intact after setting a school record and finishing ninth in the nation in fielding percentage (.979). Second baseman LJ Talley (2B, second team), catcher Mason Meadows ( second team) and third baseman/closer Schunk all received preseason All-SEC votes by league coaches. Both Mason and junior shortstop Cam Shepherd posted a school fielding records at their respective positions. Meanwhile, Patrick Sullivan will take over at first base. The redshirt junior from Sandy Springs played in 27 games last season primarily as a late-game, defensive replacement for Sasser. The hope for Sullivan is along with the improved defense he’ll be able improve on a .204 career batting average. “Patrick actually won the job two years ago and then came down with mono and missed the entire season,” Stricklin said. “He’s a guy that’s been the mix the entire time. Defensively he’s as good as there is, the best defensive first baseman I’ve ever had. He has some power, too. I wouldn’t be shocked if Patrick has a really good season.” Georgia hopes it can further replenish the power quotient with the addition of graduate transfer John Cable. Cable, who hit .373 with 12 home at Darton Junior College, hit .349 at the University of New Orleans last year before being sidelined with a torn hamstring. “We’ve got to make that up, but I think you’re going to see a more balanced lineup,” Stricklin said. “You might not see guys with 13 and 19 home runs, but hopefully you’ll see a bunch of guys with eight to 10. I wouldn’t be surprised if we had more home runs as a team than we did last year. Ten or 11 of our guys have home run potential.” That’d be quite an accomplishment for Georgia. The Bulldogs’ 64 home runs and 352 last year were the most in 10 seasons. No bones about it, though, this is a team that will reply on pitching and defense. Hancock, the right-hander who led he Bulldogs as a freshman last year, will be the Friday night starter again. Junior Will Proctor will get the call Saturday, followed by and junior Tony Locey on Sunday. The midweek starter is expected to be sophomore left-hander C.J. Smith and everybody is eager to get a look at freshmen Cole Wilcox, who was ranked No. 37 on the Baseball America Top 500; and and fellow right-hander Jack Gowen. Schunk will again come off third base to close games, a routine that resulted in 8 saves and 31 strikeouts in 30 innings last year. “I would put our infield defense up with anybody in the country,” Stricklin said. “I think it’s that good.” It won’t be any easier in the SEC, of course. Three conference teams are ranked ahead of Georgia in preseason polls — No. 1 Vanderbilt, No. 2 LSU and No. 6 Florida — with two of them housed in the same division. Fortuitously, all three of those teams have to come to Athens. But there are two months to go before Bulldogs need to worry about that. First comes Dayton, and hopefully more sunshine and clouds than rain. The post No. 9 Georgia Bulldogs will rely on pitching, defense to get back into NCAA tourney appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Jacob Eason. He’s the guy I find myself thinking about more and more these days. It’s not because we’ll finally get to see the former Georgia quarterback play again this fall, but it is related to that. It’s because in this age of transfer portals and rubber-stamp eligibility waivers, I’m left to wonder, why not Eason? I mean, consider Eason’s situation: He comes to UGA from all the across the country in Washington; he starts as a true freshman; he does everything he’s told to do; he starts the first game as a sophomore; he gets hurt in said game; he comes back a few weeks later but loses his starting job because the backup has come in and played better; Eason sticks with his team through its run to the national championship game; then he announces at season’s end that he intends to transfer back home. Jacob Eason (10) never started another game for Georgia after a minor knee injury sidelined him in 2017. Jake Fromm (background) has started every game since. (Nate Gettleman/DawgNation) If ever there was somebody who probably should have been granted immediate eligibility, shouldn’t it have been Jacob Eason? But he wasn’t. Eason was told he’d have to sit out via the NCAA’s antiquated Division I transfer rule. So he was admitted to Washington but remained sidelined for another year behind Jake Browning. Meanwhile, we just witnessed the the transfer of Justin Fields. Comparatively, his move from Georgia to Ohio State was no more problematic than rearranging lawn furniture. First, Fields announced he was leaving UGA, then he confirmed that Columbus, Ohio, was his destination. Tate Martell, the Buckeyes’ reported quarterback in waiting subsequently announced that he’s leaving Ohio State, then Ohio State announced that Fields’ eligibility waiver request for 2019 was approved. There are a few problems with judging what to make of all this. First and foremost is the lack of transparency. The NCAA’s “transfer portal,” such as it is, is protected by Federal privacy laws such as FERPA and HIPAA. So it’s not like us journalists, or you, alumni and fans, can go in there and review the circumstances and make sure everything was on the up-and-up. No, we’re left to assume and speculate. That is, unless there is somebody directly involved — say the student-athlete or his family — who is willing to divulge exactly what the nature of his waiver requests. So far, I’ve haven’t encountered any of those. We were left to believe that Fields, after he announced his intent to transfer, was going to claim racial discrimination based on the documented event of slurs being directed at him by a another student-athlete who was subsequently dismissed from his team. That was based on the initial news account written USA Today’s Dan Wolken, citing sources. But then Fields came out with a statement after his eligibility had been approved saying that his waiver was based on nothing of the sort. “In my silence, people began to speculate, and the story took on a life of its own,” Fields said in his first and likely last statement on the matter. “”Now that this matter is concluded, I would like to clarify some facts. I have no regrets about my time at UGA and have no hard feelings for the school or football program. My overall experience at UGA was fully consistent with UGA’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. My sister is a softball player at UGA. I am still close friends with many of my UGA teammates. A part of me will always be a Georgia Bulldogs fan.” So what was the actual basis of Fields’ transfer request? I reached out to UGA to try to find out. Alas, I could not. I was told that’d have to come from Ohio State’s end. You can probably guess which it when I reached out to the Buckeyes. Yep, and around and around we went. But then I did some more digging and, as it turns out, the whole pretense for what is required for a a student-athlete to transfer is so vague that he he leaves the actual reasons for doing so pretty much moot. Turns out, it really doesn’t take anything terrible or awful for athletes to be granted immediate eligibility moving from one FBS program to another. According to the new bylaw that was enacted just this past October, a student-athlete need only be academically and athletically eligible, receive no opposition from the school they’re leaving and — here’s the important part — show “the transfer is due to documented mitigating circumstances that are outside the student-athlete’s control and directly impact the health, safety and well-being of the student-athlete.” What possible mitigating circumstances could Fields have documented for the NCAA? All I could think of him saying is, “I wanted to play quarterback for Georgia, but then I got there and a guy named Jake Fromm was playing the same position as me and he played better than me. So I want to go to Ohio State because they told me I could have the job if I went there.” But we’ll never know what he actually said. That information is protected by FERPA and attorney-client privilege. Fields was represented in his transfer by Arkansas trial lawyer Thomas Mars, who has become the leading advocate for the transfer rights of student-athletes. “The rule passed last April is intentionally very vague,” Mars told ESPN.com in a recent examination of the transfer portal phenomena. “Who knows what mitigating factors or circumstances means?” Well, Mars probably does, but he’s not saying. The results have been pretty predictable. According to that same ESPN report, more than 1,400 student-athletes are currently in “the portal.” It’s clogged to bursting. Which brings is back to Eason. If anybody had a complaint, I’d think it could be him. Back in the day (there I go again) there used to be sort of an unwritten policy that most coaches went by in which a front-line starter such as Eason who was sidelined because of an injury would be given back his position upon his return. Obviously, Kirby Smart doesn’t subscribe to that policy, nor should he, necessarily. For, while that policy as been around for ages, so has the one that says, “don’t be Wally Pipp.” Pipp, as the story goes, was a power-hitting first baseman for the New York Yankees who allegedly asked to sit out a game in 1925 because he had a headache. He was replaced in the lineup by Lou Gehrig, who went on to play in a record 2,130 consecutive games. Here’s the other side of that story people don’t see to ever cite: While Pipp never played first base for the Yankees again, he did play another three years for the Cincinnati Reds. That’s right, he hopped into the transfer portal and played elsewhere. I reached out to Eason and the University of Washington to find out whether he made any attempt to appeal the NCAA’s Division I transfer policy that required him to sit out last season. Of course, the Huskies already had an established quarterback in Jake Browning, so Eason’s services weren’t sorely needed. But what if Browning had been injured his senior year this past season? What if Washington found itself in desperate need of a quarterback? As it was, Eason wasn’t an option. But as it is now, any quarterbacks transferring into UW since last season ended will be able to step in right away next season. And the Huskies find themselves down two quarterbacks now as Amandre Williams transferred to Montana State in 2018. In the meantime, the Bulldogs have no cause to complain. After all, they were one of the precedent-setters when it comes to this domino-tumble of transferring. Lest we forget, Demetris Robertson, came in from Cal and played straight away. Turns out that wasn’t quite the difference-making move many predicted. Then again, it’s still up to players to make the plays wherever. Maybe D-Rob will, too. The post Thinking of former Georgia QB Jacob Eason as NCAA’s ‘transfer portal’ roars on appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia’s Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan and current Major League Baseball stars teamed up last Saturday in Athens to raise money for perhaps Athens’ most-favorite charity, Extra Special People.  ATLANTA, GA— (February 11, 2019) On Feb. 9, Georgia’s Lt. Governor, Geoff Duncan, and several other MLB players were guest judges for Extra Special People (ESP) Big Hearts at Bat. The line-up included Duncan, who played for the Florida Marlins early in his career before being elected as Georgia’s Lt. Governor. Kyle Farmer of the Cincinnati Reds, Gordon Beckham formerly with the Atlanta Braves and now with the Detroit Tigers, Brooks Brown formerly with the Colorado Rockies, and Trevor Holder of the San Diego Padres were also guest judges. “ESP is making dreams come true for kids with special needs, and I was honored to be a part of the inspirational night,” Farmer, who also played in two World Series’ for the Los Angeles Dodgers, said. “I’m excited to see kids of every ability have the chance to step up to the plate and play the sport I love.” “One of the best parts about being lieutenant governor is having the opportunity to find out about organizations like ESP and the huge impact they have on a community and the joys they bring to people’s lives,” Duncan said. In its 12th year, ESP’s Big Hearts pageant showcases kids of all abilities as they perform for thousands of guests in Athens, Ga. This year, money was raised to build a Miracle League baseball field and sports complex. Through generous donations at Big Hearts at Bat, ESP reached the $1.1 million mark of a $1.4 million campaign goal. The Miracle League sports complex will bring the magic of baseball to kids of all abilities in Northeast Georgia. Additionally, funds were raised at the pageant and silent auction to send hundreds of kids to summer camp. “Big Hearts at Bat was focused on bringing to life the dream of typical kids and those with special needs playing alongside one another, no longer benching those who have different abilities,” said Laura Whitaker, ESP Executive Director. “Our Miracle League sports complex will be for everyone—a fully-accessible baseball field, making it possible for every child to play America’s favorite pastime, as well as a playground and splash pad for everyone in the community.” ESP is committed to fostering genuine friendships and memorable moments between all citizens who want to play and aims to see the bases loaded at the newly-constructed complex by Spring of 2020. About Extra Special People Extra Special People, Inc., (ESP), a 501 (c)(3) is a nonprofit serving families and children with special needs in the 26-county area surrounding Watkinsville, Ga., since 1987. With ever-expanding after-school programs, weekend clubs, an eight-week long summer camp and family resources, ESP now reaches more than 425 children, with an ongoing dream of reaching every Northeast Georgia family that has a need and a desire to help their special child grow and thrive. Contributing to this dream was the addition of 70 acres in Jackson County in December 2014. Camp Hooray will one day continue the ESP mission by hosting overnight camps, weekend retreats and events for children and families of all abilities. About The Miracle League The Miracle League removes the barriers that keep children with mental and physical disabilities off the baseball field and lets them experience the joy of America’s favorite pastime. Miracle League teams play on a custom-designed, rubberized turf field that accommodates wheelchairs and other assistive devices while helping to prevent injuries. The first Miracle League field opened in Conyers, Ga., in April 2000. Now there are more than 300 Miracle League Organizations across the country including Puerto Rico and Canada, serving more than 250,000 children and adults. Miracle League is not only partnering with ESP for the first local field in the Athens area, but will also be a part of the expansion of Camp Hooray, an innovative, state-of-the-art camp for individuals with disabilities.
  • ATHENS — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart is about as comfortable with his quarterback situation as any other position on the team, and he said so on national television last week. “ Any position you look at on your football team, you are concerned about depth,” Smart said on the SEC Network’s Paul Finebaum Show last week. “If a coach tells you he’s not worried about depth, he’s probably lying. “We’re concerned about depth at every position across the board.” No doubt, Georgia saw how quickly depth could come into play last season. It likely cost the Bulldogs the SEC championship and another College Football Playoff appearance. RELATED: Kirby Smart provides fascinating insight into football future Senior outside linebacker D’Andre Walker was enjoying an MVP performance when he went down with an injury at the start of the fourth quarter of the SEC Championship Game. The Bulldogs were leading Alabama 28-21 at the time, but with Walker out on account of a groin injury, UGA didn’t have another player that could provide both pressure and containment at the position. That led to former Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts coming off the bench and rallying Alabama to a win .Hurts bought time with his scrambles that likely wouldn’t have been there with UGA’s sacks leader in the game. The  good news at that OLB position is that even if Walker’s former backup — Brenton Cox —  moves to the defensive line, as some have projected, UGA has major talent rolling in. Both 5-star signee Nolan Smith and junior college transfer Jermaine Johnson have the size and talent to compete immediately and find their way on the field. Quarterback, obviously, draws a great deal more attention that the linebacker position. But the SEC Championship Game served as evidence of the importance of every spot on the team, as Smart suggested. Georgia lost a talented quarterback when Justin Fields elected to transfer to Ohio State, where he was recently granted a waiver for immediate eligibility. But the Bulldogs likely avoided what would have been a high-profile controversy that, based on recent tweets from current and former players, had the potential to divide the locker room. Smart addressed the QB depth issue by flipping former Buckeyes’ commit Dwan Mathis and adding former walk-on back-up QB Stetson Bennett to the class. RELATED: Georgia recruit Dwan Mathis ‘team player who wants to win championships’ “We are excited about the two young men that entered our program mid-year,” Smart said. “We know a lot about Stetson because he’s been in our program, he’s played in a spring game with 93,000 people at it. I have great expectations for him.” Bennett’s one year as a junior college player and experience with the UGA scout team is somewhat offset by his frame (6-foot, 172 pounds) and arm strength. The 6-foot-5, 215-pound Mathis, on the other hand, has great physical ability and must learn the offense to be effective. “ Dwan has been a kid who has been like a sponge,” Smart said. “He’s getting here and has done great academically and we’re excited to see what he does this spring.” Returning quarterback and team captain Jake Fromm recently said he has been impressed with all of the incoming players.   The post Georgia football coach Kirby Smart talks quarterbacks, depth concerns appeared first on DawgNation.
  • A total of 524 University of Georgia student-athletes received a grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 or higher for the fall 2018 semester and were named to the J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Honor Roll for the fall term.    Out of the 524 on the honor roll, 10 student-athletes garnered Presidential Scholar honors for finishing fall semester with a 4.00 GPA or higher while taking 14 or more hours. This year’s list of Presidential Scholars includes: women’s swimmers Ellie Crump (Dunwoody, Ga.) and Jordan Stout (St. Louis, Mo.); women’s tennis player Elena Christofi (Athens, Greece); equestrian riders Jessica Blum (Gormley, Ontario), Sarah Finkel (Walnut Creek, Calif.), Emma Mandarino (Bedminister, N.J.) and Alexis Mougalian (Richland, Mich.); baseball player Ryan Avidano (Peachtree City, Ga.).    Eleven Georgia student-athletes completed the 2018 fall semester with a perfect 4.0 GPA, including: women’s track and field members Jessica Drop (Durham, Conn.), Samantha Drop (Durham Conn.), Kayla Smith (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Tiffany Yue (Lawrenceville, Ga.); baseball player Christian Ryder (Acworth, Ga.); equestrian rider Stella Martin (Marietta, Ga.); soccer team members Mollie Belisle (Atlanta, Ga.) and Caroline Chipman (Atlanta, Ga.); softball player Amanda Ablan (Lawrenceville, Ga.); women’s swimmer Eva Merrell (Newport Beach, Calif.); volleyball player Kendall Glover (Phoenix, Ariz.).   In addition, 133 student-athletes on the J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Honor Roll received Dean’s List honors, earning a 3.50 GPA or higher while take 14 or more hours. These students are: baseball players Timothy Elliott* (Loganville, Ga.), Riley King (Lawrenceville, Ga.), CJ Smith (Royston, Ga.) and Cole Tate (Bishop, Ga.); football team members Rodrigo Blankenship (Marietta, Ga.), Patrick Bond* (Milton, Ga.), Tommy Bush (Schertz, Texas), Tyson Campbell (Plantation, Fla.), Owen Condon* (Oklahoma City, Okla.), JT Dooley (Dallas, Texas), Edward Ferguson (Athens, Ga.), Jackson Harris (Columbia, Tenn.), Prather Hudson (Columbus, Ga.), Kearis Jackson (Fort Valley, Ga.), Jonathan Ledbetter (Tucker, Ga.), Peyton Mercer (Twin City, Ga.), Miles Miccichi (Atlanta, Ga.), Cameron Moore (Alpharetta, Ga.), Josh Moran (Alpharetta, Ga.), Hugh Nelson (Powder Springs, Ga.), Jack Podlesny (St Simons Island, Ga.), Bill Rubright (Atlanta, Ga.) and Charlie Woerner (Tiger, Ga.); men’s golf athletes John Catanzaro (Gadsden, Ala.), Jack Larkin (Atlanta, Ga.), David Mackey (Bogart, Ga.) and Davis Thompson (Auburn, Ala.); men’s swimmers Andrew Abruzzo (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.), Blake Atmore (Alpharetta, Ga.), Teagan Cheney (Danville, Calif.), Jack Dalmolin (Cumming, Ga.), Luke Durocher (Fredericksburg, Va.), Jackson Ford (Johns Creek, Ga.), James Guest (Baie-D’urfe, Montreal), Caleb Harrington* (Knoxville, Tenn.), Colin Monaghan (Gainesville, Ga.), Colin Riley (Marietta, Ga.), Billy Rothery (Kennesaw, Ga.) and Keegan Walsh (Lawrenceville, Ga.); men’s tennis players Sam Dromsky* (Augusta, Ga.), Walker Duncan*(Atlanta, Ga.), Robert Loeb* (Hilton Head, S.C.) and Alexander Phillips (Peachtree City, Ga.); men’s track and field athletes Quinton Burden* (Atlanta, Ga.), Tyler Fox (Suwanee, Ga.), Jeramey Hampton (Suwanee, Ga.), Michael Hans (Watkinsville, Ga.), Tyler Jones (Bogart, Ga.), Michael Malkowski* (Baltimore, Md.), Samuel Milton* (Alpharetta, Ga.), Jonathan Pelham (Lagrange, Ga.), Ryan Peppenhorst (Cumming, Ga.), Davis Stockwell (Atlanta, Ga.), Nicholas Yanek* (Bettendorf, Iowa) and Ziggy Zoller (Atlanta, Ga.); equestrian riders Madison Anger (Clyde Hill, Wash.), Grace Bridges (Carthage, Texas), Colleen Bridges* (Eatonton, Ga.), Kaitlin Dierks (Bothwell, Wash.), Madeline Fiorante* (Tigard, Ore.), Samantha Gastelum* (Coto De Cazi, Calif.), Kendall Gill* (Leesburg, Ga.), Isabelle Heckler*(Colts Neck, N.J.), Lauren Hull (Canfield, Ohio), Sydney Hutchins (Westlake Village, Calif.), Kathryn Jernick* (Peconic, N.Y.), Kathryn Kramer* (Menlo Park, Calif.), Miller Lantis (Corunna, Mich.), Margaret Lemons* (Salt Lake City, Utah), Sara Lewis* (Washington, Ind.), Mckenzie Maloney (Atlanta, Ga.), Jaden Olson* (Parker, Colo.), Catherine Ray (Berwyn, Pa.), Annalise Reed (Grosse Pointe, Mich.), Carly Reinsel (Alpharetta, Ga.), Kadie Sanford* (Cumming, Ga.), Alexa Schwartz (Boca Raton, Fla.), Natalie Stoyko* (The Woodlands, Texas), Graysen Stroud* (Snohomish, Wash.) and Alison Tritschler (Southport, Conn.); women’s golf athlete Kelsey Kurnett (Alpharetta, Ga.); gymnasts Alexa Al-hameed (Ames, Iowa), Rachel Dickson (Canton, Mich.) and Megan Roberts (Toronto, Canada); Soccer players Ashley Andersen (Clifton, Va.), Anna Bougas (Grayson, Ga.), Kerri Cook (Greshman, Ore.), Kerry Manion (Westlake Village, Calif.) and Isabella Ponzi (Alexandria, Va.); Softball players Mary Wilson Avant* (Macon, Ga.), Kylie Bass (Gray, Ga.), Jordan Doggett (McDonough, Ga.), Alysen Febrey (Peachtree City, Ga.) and Savana Sikes (Douglasville, Ga.); women’s swimmers Caroline Aikins (Cumming, Ga.), Katherine Aikins (Cumming, Ga.), Olivia Anderson* (Mississauga, Ontario), Mckensi Austin* (Castle Rock, Colo.), Donna Blaum (Fayetteville, Ga.), Portia Brown* (Broadview Heights, Ohio), Olivia Carter* (Greensboro, N.C.), Callie Dickinson*(Virginia Beach, Va.), Allison Greene* (Tallahassee, Fla.), Kelliann Howell (Moultrie, Ga.), Addison Kelly (Jefferson, Ga.), Katherine Parker (Lawrenceville, Ga.), Sandra Scott (Midway, Ga.) and Julia Von Biberstein (Atlanta, Ga.); women’s tennis players Annette Goulak* (Oak Park, Calif.) and Meg Kowalski (Chicago, Ill.); women’s track and field athletes Emma Bagwellm (Alpharetta, Ga.), Imani Carothers* (Harvey, Ill.), Emily Doherty (Athens, Ga.), Yanely Gomez (Lawrenceville, Ga.), Ansley Heavern* (Dunwoody, Ga.), Courtney Long* (Acworth, Ga.), Emma Maisel (Cumming, Ga.), Tairyn Montgomery* (Los Angeles, Calif.), Marie Therese Obst (Oslo, Norway), Amber Tanner* (Brentwood, Tenn.), Grace Tavani (Roswell, Ga.), Mary Terry* (Norcross, Ga.) and Chelsea Zoller (Atlanta, Ga.); volleyball players Sydney Gilliam (Hendersonville, N.C.), Mallory Hernandez (Fishers, Ind.), Katie Houser (Winchester, Va.), Anna Kate Karstens (Hattiesburg, Miss.), Sarah Lagler-Clark (Mississauga, Ontario), Sage Naves (Agoura Hills, Calif.), Kayla Rivera (Ventura, Calif.) and Claire Rothenberger (Aurora, Ill.).    Lastly, 116 Georgia student-athletes capped the fall 2018 term with 3.00-3.49 GPAs. These individuals include: baseball players John Cable (Roswell, Ga.), Riley Crean (Athens, Ga.), Justin Glover (Buford, Ga.), Emerson Hancock (Cairo, Ga.), Randon Jernigan (Brunswick, Ga.), Zac Kristofak (Marietta, Ga.), Mason Meadows (Roswell, Ga.), Darryn Pasqua (Rocky Face, Ga.), Will Proctor (Manhattan Beach, Calif.), Aaron Schunk (Atlanta, Ga.), Cameron Shepherd (Duluth, Ga.), LJ Talley (Folkston, Ga.), Connor Tate (Bishop, Ga.) and Cole Wilcox (Chickamauga, Ga.); men’s basketball athletes Connor O'Neill (Roswell, Ga.) and Ignas Sargiunas (Kaunas, Lithuania); football players Trey Blount (Atlanta, Ga.), Latavious Brini (Miami Gardens, Fla.), Matthew Downing (Alpharetta, Ga.), John Eager (Valdosta, Ga.), Warren Ericson (Suwanee, Ga.), John Fitzpatrick (Atlanta, Ga.), Sean Fogarty (Savannah, Ga.), Jake Fromm (Warner Robins, Ga.), Daniel Gothard (Dunwoody, Ga.), Mecole Hardman (Bowman, Ga.), Palmer Henderson (Valdosta, Ga.), Garrett Jones (Albany, Ga.), David Marshall (Thomaston, Ga.), Jordon McKinney (Dalton, Ga.), Isaac Nauta (Buford, Ga.), Christopher Smith (Atlanta, Ga.), Channing Tindall (Columbia, S.C.), Steven Van Tiflin (Saginaw, Mich.), D'andre Walker (Fairburn, Ga.), Payne Walker (Suwanee, Ga.) and Blake Watson (Roswell, Ga.); men’s golf team members Will Kahlstorf (Watkinsville, Ga.), Calum Masters (Headland, Ala.) and Trevor Phillips (Inman, S.C.); men’s swimmers Alexander Bemiller (Atlanta, Ga.), Aidan Burns (Saratoga, Calif.), Charles Clifton (Nashville, Tenn.), Bradley Dunham (Hoschton, Ga.), Clayton Forde (Louisville, Ky.), Joshua Getty (Marietta, Ga.), Kevin Miller (Ithaca, N.Y.) and Gregory Reed (Roanoke, Va.); men’s tennis athletes Alex Diaz (Athens, Ga.) and Jan Zielinski (Warsaw, Poland); men’s track and field athletes John Bradley (Duluth, Ga.), Alejandro Collins (Peachtree City, Ga.), Denzel Comenentia (Amsterdam, Netherlands), Johannes Erm (Tallinn, Estonia), Elija Godwin (Covington, Ga.), Jonathan Raines (Macon, Ga.), Nathaniel Reichard (Duluth, Ga.), Darr Smith (Atlanta, Ga.), Austin Sprague (Dunwoody, Ga.) and Karel Tilga (Tartu, Estonia); women’s basketball players Donnetta Johnson (Queens, N.Y.), Que Morrison (Riverdale, Ga.) and Caliya Robinson (Marietta, Ga.); equestrian members Kathryn Anderson (Knoxville, Tenn.), Charlotte Anguiano (Tuscaloosa, Ala.), Courtney Blumer (Monroe, N.C.), Emily Clark (Castle Rock, Colo.), Addy Cullum (Cayce, S.C.), Madeline Epstein (Miami, Fla.), Chaney Getchell (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.), Anna Hutlas (Shreveport, La.), Lexie Lane (Canton, Ga.), Emily Leins (Mclean, Va.), Alyssa Luckhardt (Saline, Mich.), Sarah McDonald (Asheville, N.C.), Madison Newman (Wellington, Fla.), Lila Owens (Winter Park, Fla.), Taylor Staton (Cumming, Ga.), Catherine Sullivan (Locust Valley, N.C.), Shaelyn Vering (Scribbler, Neb.) and Danielle Walawender (Seaville, N.J.); women’s golf athletes Gabriela Coello (Maracay, Venezuela) and Bailey Tardy (Peachtree Corners, Ga.); gymnasts Sterlyn Austin (Thomasville, Ga.), Samantha Davis (Cranford, N.J.), Marissa Oakley (Huntersville, N.C.) and Alyssa Perez-Lugones (Duluth, Ga.); soccer players Liz Brucia (Westfield, N.J.), Keely Cartrett (Suwanee, Ga.), Kristen Edmond (Suwanee, Ga.), Shelly McQuaid (Roswell, Ga.), Hale Otto (McKinney, Texas), Daria Stan (Augusta, Ga.) and Cecily Stoute (Atlanta, Ga.); softball athletes Tyler Armistead (Butler, Ala.), Lacey Fincher (Tanner Williams, Ala.), CJ Landrum (Fort Worth Texas), Madison McPherson (Plains, Ga.), Justice Milz (Kearney, Mo.), Keara Napoli (Alpharetta, Ga.), Shelby Suplee (Cumming, Ga.), Jacqui Switzer (Grayson, Ga.) and Janice Webb (Demorest, Ga.); women’s swimmers Veronica Burchill (Carmel, Ind.), Mary Claire Cardwell (Madison, Ga.), Sofia Carnevale (Mississauga, Ontario), Caitlin Casazza (High Point, N.C.), Danielle Della Torre (Watkinsville, Ga.), Alexis Glunn (Marietta, Ga.), Courtney Harnish (York, Pa.) and Freida Lim (Singapore, Singapore); women’s tennis players Lordes Carle (Daireaux, Argentina), Morgan Coppoc (Tulsa, Okla.), Katarina Jokic (Novi Grad, Basnia) and Vivian Wolff (Atlanta, Ga.); women’s track and field athletes Tara Davis (Agoura Hills, Calif.), Skylar English (Dacula, Ga.), Sakari Famous (Pembroke, Bermuda), Katie Jackson (Auburn, Ala.), Makenzi Kopp (Jacksonville, Ga.), Sterling Lester (Marietta, Ga.), Titiana Marsh (Chester, Va.), Nicole Pachuta (Watkinsville, Ga.), Marisa Petit (Braselton, Ga.), Bailey Weiland (Atlanta, Ga.) and Jayda Woods (Cold Spring, Minn.); volleyball players Majesti Bass (Conyers, Ga.), Meghan Donovan (St. Louis, Mo.), Dalaney Hans (Marietta, Ga.) and Rachel Ritchie (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.). 
  • New Georgia tight end Eli Wolf / graphic illustration ATHENS — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart is dialed in on building another SEC championship roster, from impact freshmen, to transfers of both the junior college and graduate transfer variety Former Tennessee tight end and SEC Media Day rep Eli Wolf represents more than just a splash of orange. RELATED: Kirby Smart hits the sweet spot, adds battled-tested SEC grad transfer tight end Wolf is expected to play a key role this season, or Smart wouldn’t have used up a 2020 scholarship to add him to the Bulldogs’ Top 5 roster. The versatile 6-foot-4, 236-pound Wolf will be aimed at filling the shoes of departed tight end Isaac Nauta, a 6-4, 240-pound NFL prospect. Wolf brings the sort of self-starting leadership qualities Smart looks in all of his seniors. Indeed, the Ohio prep product’s hunger and desire for improvement has been well-documented, as he rose up from walk-on status two years ago and last year gained 20 pounds of muscle during the offseason. RELATED: Graduate transfer Eli Wolf to choose between Georgia and Ohio State Wolf took time for a question-answer session with DawgNation on a variety of topics after committing to the Bulldogs last Thursday: Q:   What was your attraction to Georgia? Wolf:   Well, initially the interest was for all the obvious reasons you would expect.   Championship caliber program, competing in the SEC, storied program, great facilities but it didn’t take me long to realize that my sincere interest in Georgia was the people. Coach Smart was straight forward and to the point on why he was the first coach to call. They were looking for a specific skillset and with the losses of some key veterans they were looking for experience if possible and it was just a great fit. My visit was amazing with 2 hours of chalk talk with the staff and meeting Jake (Fromm) and Charlie (Woerner) was just great as well. Q:   What has the interaction with James Coley and Todd Hartley been like? A:   There is no doubt me and Coach Hartley and Coach Coley hit if off because first and foremost their passion for the game is off the charts.   It was only strengthened when I was in Athens for a visit (Jan. 27) and got to see first hand the different things they want to accomplish with the offense and how I fit into that plan.   Coach Hartley has a great track record with tight ends, and I felt really comfortable around him.   Great family guy.   Coach Coley has just a vast amount of experience and is very innovative, and I really enjoyed our time and his approach. Q:   How do you feel you can help Georgia next season? Wolf:   I feel my strength as a tight end is my ability to be flexed out, or come in and put my hand in the dirt and support the run game.   I have played off the ball, lined up at fullback, blocked in space, and being multiple is something that Coach Coley and Coach Hartley were in search of.   Not only does it fit the needs of Georgia, but plays to my individual strengths that I was looking for, so I feel it is a win-win for both of us. Obviously nothing takes the place of experience and physical development at this level,   so my four years in this league will allow me to pick up on things much quicker, handle the physical piece and also be a good fit in the tight end room. Q:   What did you take from talking with Jake Fromm and Charlie Woerner? Wolf: My time with Jake and Charlie was great. They came in after a morning duck hunt so we hit it off right away.   What I took most out of our 20 minutes together was how laser focused they were and make no mistake they have one thing on their mind, and that is competing for a championship.   Very down to earth guys that were extremely welcoming.   They both have great futures ahead of them. Q:   Your older brother, Ethan, was selected Tennessee captain for 9 games and still bleeds orange. What was his reaction to you choosing a rival school? Wolf: I couldn’t ask for a better role model than Ethan, especially these past four years.   Yes, on the field stuff, but more importantly how to go about your business like a pro.   We both leave Tennessee with lasting memories and college degrees.   He also understands the importance of timing and opportunity and knows what I am trying to accomplish to close out my college journey and supports me more than ever.     The post 5 questions with Georgia football tight end Eli Wolf, Rocky Top relocation appeared first on DawgNation.
  • DULUTH — I came and saw the Ant Man. And in Ant Man, I now believe. The venue was Notre Dame Academy (of Duluth, not South Bend) and the stage was the Region 1-AAA Tournament finals between rivals Holy Spirit Prep and The Heritage School (of Newnan, not Conyers). Anthony Edwards — aka, The Ant Man — stars for Holy Spirit. Lance Terry, I now know, stars for Heritage. When it’s not high school basketball season, the two star for the same Atlanta Xpress AAU team. That must be a really good AAU team, because Ant Man and Terry (who should probably also have his own cool nickname) put on a whale of a show for the filled-to-bursting little gymnasium. Edwards scored 41 points, including a three-point play in overtime that gave his team a 79-77 lead with 4.6 seconds to play. Terry scored 34 points and made seven 3-pointers but not his team’s last one. That one was made by Heritage guard Kasen Jennings and it rattled in at the buzzer for a stunning 80-79 upset and the 1-AAA regional championship. But the very meaningful competition being waged between two proud programs Friday night really was just a sideshow. Every bit of the focus and every ounce of attention from opening tip until the final horn was on the one they call Ant Man. Well, truthfully, everybody around HSP, as it appears on the school’s jerseys, just refers to him as Ant. He’s the featured act, the one everybody’s coming to see, and you could literally see it and hear it every time the ball touched his hands. Being at Notre Dame Academy, and Notre Dame having already being eliminated in both the boys’ and girls’ tournaments, many of those in attendance Friday night were cheering for neither Heritage nor HSP. Mostly, they were just watching and waiting to see Edwards do something great. At one point, the students chanted “we want a windmill, we want a windmill.” And Edwards, almost dutifully, made sure they weren’t disappointed. “I hear ’em; I know everybody’s coming to watch me,” Edwards said, trying not to brag as he said it. “I just try to come out and play for me, my team, my family, my school. I don’t really care what people see on Instagram or what they want to see I just try to get a win every night.” Edwards actually started off the night very slow. He scored only four points in the first quarter and half of those came on free throws as HSP fell behind 19-5. Edwards got it going in the second quarter, though adding 14 points on a couple of step-back 3s and a lot of “and ones.” The windmill dunk never came because a long, tall Heritage team that had already lost twice to HSP in the regular season seemed bent on not letting the Ant Man loose for any of his patented dunks. Those dunks eventually would come, but it was actually an Edwards 3-pointer that brought down the house. It probably should have counted for more as it came from at least 65 feet, delivered from three-quarters of court as the clock expired to end the third quarter. Never mind that there might’ve been some question if the ball left Edwards’ hands before double-zeroes — Edwards said afterward he didn’t think it did — the officials counted it, and so it goes into the official record of astounding things Ant Man has done. That’s a thick book already, y’all. And while the quarter-ending bomb was impressive, so Edwards’ sequence just before that. He leapt high over everybody for a tip-in at the 29-second mark, followed soon thereafter by a steal and fast-break dunk with 11 seconds to go to give HSP 50-47 lead. When Connor Thompson made a 3 to tie it back up for Heritage seconds later, it just didn’t seem right on a night when everybody was there to see the Ant Man. Hence came the Ant Man’s three-quarter-court shot. Predictably, it all led up to a furious finish, with Edwards scoring seven points in the final 1:54 trying to lift his team to victory. Only Heritage refused to stick to the script and decided instead to play the spoiler and leave with the trophy. That’s OK. Everybody knows Edwards eventually will end up with all the spoils. The 6-foot-5 guard — already rated the No. 1 college prospect in America — also projects as the No. 1 pick of the 2020 NBA draft, according to NBAdraftnet, and some others. But, as good fortune would have it, Edwards plans to college first, at least for a year. And, yes, Georgia is among his finalists. In fact, the word from the considerable entourage of AAU coaches, hoopniks and friends and family that was following Edwards indicates that the winds are extremely favorable for the Bulldogs and new coach Tom Crean. Neither Crean nor any of his UGA assistants were spotted at Friday’s game. But neither were coaches from North Carolina, Kentucky or Florida State, which are also finalists for Edwards. The talk Friday was that they all have exhausted their NCAA max for watching The Ant Man in action. That’s understandable. After finally getting to watch him play, I can see why one would want to see this kid in action as much as possible. If you frequent UGA events, you may get that opportunity soon. We’ll all find out Monday morning when Edwards announces his college of choice at a 9 a.m. news conference at Holy Spirit Prep in Buckhead. I think I’ll go. Like all these college coaches, I don’t miss out when the Ant Man’s in action.   The post WATCH: UGA target Anthony ‘Ant Man’ Edwards puts on show but team loses in Region 1-AAA Tournament appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Stegeman Coliseum has probably never looked so good to a Georgia basketball team that has lost seven of its last eight games entering Saturday’s action. The Bulldogs (10-12, 1-8 SEC) play host to Ole Miss (15-7, 5-4) at 1 p.m. on Saturday in desperate need of a victory and any sort of momentum. “It is really important for us because it is our next game, it is the next opportunity that we have,” Georgia senior post Derek Ogbeide said. So that is always extremely important. I think it is even more important because of our response for what has been happening to us.” What’s been happening is the Bulldogs have been getting outplayed, and often out hustled. Bulldogs coach Tom Crean didn’t pull any punches after Georgia jumped to a 15-7 lead before Alabama answered with a 10-0 run en route to 89-74 victory on Wednesday night. RELATED: Georgia runs out of steam early at Alabama “The greatest weakness on offense is turnovers, the greatness weakness on defense is our (lack of) talk combined with guarding the dribble,” Crean said. “Ole miss has experienced, physical, aggressive guards, which we just don’t have,” Crean said. “We don’t have those guys that are physically imposing or aggressive by nature.” Georgia’s plan is to challenge senior William “Turtle” Jackson to play with more of an edge. Crean said he believes in Jackson, and assistant coach Joe Scott said much of the same on Friday. “ A guy like Turtle [Jackson], who has been through it, who has really done a lot in his career,” Scott said. “Now, can he sort of take the initiative here to lead that way? I know Turtle can.” Crean said the Bulldogs plan to win before what’s expected to be another sellout crowd in Athens. “Our fans can’t lose hope,” Crean said. “I guarantee you, no one is accepting this (losses), but no one is losing faith or hope.” On the recruiting trail, the hope is that 5-star Georgia basketball target Anthony Edwards will elect to play for the Bulldogs. Edwards has a press conference scheduled for Monday.       The post Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean: ‘Our fans can’t lose hope’ appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Marshall Long has called it quits. That apparent development was characterized as “breaking news” over social media channels on Friday, but it really wasn’t. Long, a redshirt junior punter from China Grove, N.C., hasn’t been able to contribute to Georgia football’s cause since 2016 when was the starter. Since then, Long has had at least two knee injuries, two setbacks and three recoveries. Long couldn’t be reached for comment and UGA could not immediately confirm Long’s retirement, first reported by 247Sports.com. But it is assumed that Long would qualify for a medical hardship exemption, which would allow him to remain on scholarship and not count against the Bulldogs’ overall total. The maximum the NCAA allows is 85. After signing two more recruiting prospects on National Signing Day this past Wednesday and accepting the graduate transfer of tight end Eli Wolf from Tennessee, Georgia appears to be at 84 grants-in-aid for the 2019 season. Therefore, the Bulldogs should be in the market for at least one more addition if they choose. In an offseason of significant ingress and egress, Georgia lost 15 seniors to graduation, had four juniors enter the NFL draft (WR Mecole Hardman, RB Elijah Holyfield, TE Isaac Nauta and WR Riley Ridley), had three underclassmen transfer (QB Justin Fields, TE Luke Ford and DB Deangelo Gibbs), have one more player currently in the transfer portal (DB Tray Bishop) and now Long. If the numbers are accurate, then the Bulldogs should be in position to add one more player if wanted. Georgia has shown interest in Miami wide receiver Lawrence Cager as a graduate transfer. The Bulldogs also could carry an extra scholarship until preseason camp and reward a worthy walkon. As for Long, his departure would end what surely has been a frustrating college career. He came to UGA as a rarity carrying a 3-star recruiting ranking as a full-time kicking specialist. He became a U.S. Army All-American after averaging 46.5 yards as a high school senior. Long won the starting job as Georgia’s punter as a freshman in 2016. He played in the first nine games of the season and averaged 38.7 yards a punt. But he injured his knee in practice in the 10th week and did not play the rest of the season. Lon redshirted after Cameron Nizalek transferred in from Columbia University before the 2017 season. Long was unable to fend off freshman Jake Camarda for the punting duties this past season and lost the backup spot to transfer Landon Stratton.   The post Georgia punter Marshall Long reportedly retires, creates roster space for Bulldogs appeared first on DawgNation.

Local News

  • A bipartisan border security bill that raced through both chambers of Congress on Thursday won over several Georgia Republicans along the way.  The spending deal, which would set aside nearly $1.4 billion for President Donald Trump’s border wall and stave off another government shutdown through September, prompted “yes” votes from four Georgia Republicans.  One of the more notable votes in favor came from Republican U.S. Sen. David Perdue, an immigration hawk who has often sought to pull his White House ally to the right.  Perdue visited the Texas border earlier this week and said his experience there underscored the need for additional spending on barriers and other resources.  All five of the state’s Democrats opted to support the plan, bucking some House progressives who rejected the compromise.  Seven Georgia Republicans voted against the compromise. Most said it did not include enough money for the wall, and others griped about the lack of money for Hurricane Michael cleanup.  “Our nation is facing a very real crisis, and this bill does not go far enough to secure our border and stop the influx of illegal immigration and deadly drugs that are pouring into our country, nor does it provide the much needed disaster assistance for Georgia farmers who were devastated by Hurricane Michael last October,” said Evans Republican Rick Allen.  Several opponents also complained about the condensed timeframe under which the 1,000-plus-page bill was considered. Lawmakers voted on the compromise less than 24 hours after the bill text was released.  Tom Graves of Ranger was Georgia’s only representative on the border negotiating committee. He was also the only member of the 17-member panel who refused to sign off on the legislation before it was released.  “I hoped that this would be a transparent process, with vigorous debate and an outcome that improved the security of our country. Instead, we discovered that Democrats had already written a bill before our first meeting,” Graves said.  The measure ultimately passed the House 300 to 128, hours after it cruised through the Senate 83 to 16. Trump was expected to sign the legislation, as well as take other executive actions that would allow him to circumvent Congress for additional wall money.  The announcement prompted loud criticism from many Democrats, including Lithonia U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson.  “It’s a sad day for the nation when one man can falsely claim there is a national emergency simply to untangle himself from a political problem of his own making,” he said.  How lawmakers voted:  YES Republicans: U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson and David Perdue. U.S. Reps. Drew Ferguson of West Point and Rob Woodall of Lawrenceville Democrats: U.S. Reps. Sanford Bishop of Albany; Hank Johnson of Lithonia; John Lewis of Atlanta; David Scott of Atlanta NO Republicans: U.S. Reps. Buddy Carter of Pooler; Austin Scott of Tifton; Doug Collins of Gainesville; Jody Hice of Monroe; Barry Loudermilk of Cassville; Rick Allen of Evans; Tom Graves of Ranger
  • You'll want to pack an umbrella for today -- and keep it handy for the next week.  We've been warning you that a long stretch of rain is coming and it'll likely begin later today. Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Karen Minton said areas could see 6 to 8 inches of rain in north Georgia before it's all over next week.  [DOWNLOAD: WSB-TV's Weather App for severe weather alerts] There could be flooding for rivers and creeks and some other low-lying areas that could be difficult to travel through.  We're using the most advanced weather technology to show you when the rain will move into your area, on Channel 2 Action News This Morning Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Brian Monahan said that it's very possible that, with some minor interruption, the wet weather pattern will last into March.
  • University of Georgia graduates, for the second year in a row, are employed or attending graduate school within six months at a rate of 96 percent—11.7 percent higher than the national average. Of those students: 63 percent were employed full time; 19 percent were attending graduate school; and Approximately 12 percent were self-employed, interning full time or were employed part time. “UGA students continue to excel in their post-graduate endeavors, and the consistency of statistics from last year to this year demonstrates that the university is providing career readiness skills through professional programming, academics and experiential learning,” said Scott Williams, executive director of the UGA Career Center. Nearly 3,000 unique employers hired UGA graduates from business to government, nonprofit to education. Some of the top employers for the Class of 2018 include Amazon, Delta Air Lines, The Home Depot and Teach for America. Of those full-time professionals, 58 percent were employed before graduation, a 3 percent increase over the Class of 2017, and 98 percent were hired within six months of graduation. Graduates landed in 47 states and 31 countries in the six months after graduation with 69 percent accepting employment within the state of Georgia. Top out-of-state destinations span the country and include cities like Austin, Texas and New York City. Of the 19 percent of graduates who are pursuing additional education, some of the top graduate or professional schools they will attend include Georgetown University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Vanderbilt University and Columbia University. The UGA Career Center calculates the career outcomes rate each January by leveraging information from surveys, phone calls, employer reporting, UGA departmental collaboration, LinkedIn and the National Student Clearinghouse. The preceding data is based on the known career outcomes of 8,130 graduates from the Class of 2018.
  • There is a groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for this afternoon in Jackson County: the ceremonial start of work on a new Jackson County Agricultural Center is set for 12:30. The $4 million facility is slated for construction off County Farm Road in Jackson County.  Jackson County officials say the Ag Center will be designed to host a variety of agricultural shows and other events. There is some talk of eventually holding the Jackson County fair at the new facility. 
  • Georgia Lady Bulldog sophomore guard Que Morrison hit a running layup to tie the game at 53-53 in the fourth quarter, but the South Carolina Gamecocks pushed past the Lady Bulldogs in the final minutes for the 65-57 final Thursday evening at Colonial Life Arena.    Georgia was plagued by a free-throw discrepancy that featured a 9-of-11 mark for the Lady Bulldogs compared to a 21-of-26 clip for the Gamecocks. Georgia also shot 39 percent from the floor, including just five made field goals in the fourth quarter.    “Like I told our team, an ugly win is a win, but a good loss still counts as a loss,” head coach Joni Taylor said. “We missed so many open shots and sent them to the free-throw line 26 times. This was a night we thought we could capitalize and we did not. It’s very disappointing.”   A 9-0 run midway through the first quarter put the Gamecocks up 11-7 in the early going. South Carolina led by as many as eight, but thanks to a Que Morrison 3-pointer, the Lady Bulldogs were close — 19-14 — at the end of the first frame.    Jenna Staiti scored five-straight points to open the second period, but baskets by Alexis Jennings and Mikiah Herbert Harrigan kept the Gamecocks in control at 26-21 with 4:26 remaining before the half.   Georgia held the Gamecocks without a field goal over the final four minutes as South Carolina led, 29-25, at the break. Gabby Connally and Staiti led the Lady Bulldogs with five points a piece in the first 20 minutes.    The Gamecocks outscored the Lady Bulldogs 7-2 to open the second half, but an and-one by Taja Cole and two buckets from Staiti helped Georgia cut the nine-point lead to just four at 42-38. South Carolina hit its next four shots and led 53-46 going into the fourth quarter.    Back-to-back field goals by Cole and a running layup by Morrison tied the game at 53-all with just under seven minutes to go in the game.    Georgia went cold and could not hit shots the rest of the way as South Carolina held on for the win.    Next up, Georgia returns home to face Ole Miss on Monday at 7 p.m. ET. 

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS — Rain or shine, the Georgia Bulldogs’ 2019 baseball season will get underway on Friday. It appears they will see a little of both before the opening three-game series concludes. The Dayton Flyers of Ohio are in town for a three-game series. Showers expected to enter the area Friday evening have moved up Friday’s first pitch at Foley Field two hours to 3 p.m. As of now, Games 2 and 3 are scheduled Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively. But UGA may try to squeeze in a doubleheader earlier Saturday if more bands of rain come through Saturday night as expected. Scott Stricklin enters his sixth season as Georgia’s baseball coach amid the program’s highest expectations in years. (Kristin M. Bradshaw/UGA) Regardless of when and how the season gets started, it is a formidable Georgia team with high expectations that will take the field for coach Scott Stricklin, who enters his sixth season as the Bulldogs’ skipper. Thanks to the return of 25 lettermen, eight pitchers and seven position starters, Georgia comes in carrying preseason rankings as high as No. 9 (by D1Baseball.com) and as low as 15 (by Baseball America). Led by preseason All-American Aaron Schunk and opening day starter Emerson Hancock, those players formed the core of a a Georgia team that compiled a 39-21 record a year ago and hosted an NCAA Regional final as a No. 8 national seed. The plan is to build on that this season. “We have a lot of experience, which is what people are looking at first and foremost,” Stricklin said on Thursday as he readied the Bulldogs for a new season. “We have a lot of guys who have played a lot of innings in our league and a lot of guys with postseason experience. That’s huge, moving forward. Talent’s one thing, depth is another thing, but experience can trump all of those and I feel like we have all three.” There is one area of significant loss, however, and it’s an important one — power. The Bulldogs will be missing 41 home runs and 147 RBI from the middle of last year’s lineup. Designated hitter Michael Curry (13 HRs, 53 RBI) turned pro after his junior season, All-American outfielder Keegan McGovern graduated (18-50) and first baseman Adam Sasser (10-44) was dismissed from the team for yelling racial epithets at a Georgia football game last fall. But the Bulldogs feel confident they can sufficiently replenish their power numbers while leaning hard on strong pitching and defense. With the exception of first base, the rest of the infield returns intact after setting a school record and finishing ninth in the nation in fielding percentage (.979). Second baseman LJ Talley (2B, second team), catcher Mason Meadows ( second team) and third baseman/closer Schunk all received preseason All-SEC votes by league coaches. Both Mason and junior shortstop Cam Shepherd posted a school fielding records at their respective positions. Meanwhile, Patrick Sullivan will take over at first base. The redshirt junior from Sandy Springs played in 27 games last season primarily as a late-game, defensive replacement for Sasser. The hope for Sullivan is along with the improved defense he’ll be able improve on a .204 career batting average. “Patrick actually won the job two years ago and then came down with mono and missed the entire season,” Stricklin said. “He’s a guy that’s been the mix the entire time. Defensively he’s as good as there is, the best defensive first baseman I’ve ever had. He has some power, too. I wouldn’t be shocked if Patrick has a really good season.” Georgia hopes it can further replenish the power quotient with the addition of graduate transfer John Cable. Cable, who hit .373 with 12 home at Darton Junior College, hit .349 at the University of New Orleans last year before being sidelined with a torn hamstring. “We’ve got to make that up, but I think you’re going to see a more balanced lineup,” Stricklin said. “You might not see guys with 13 and 19 home runs, but hopefully you’ll see a bunch of guys with eight to 10. I wouldn’t be surprised if we had more home runs as a team than we did last year. Ten or 11 of our guys have home run potential.” That’d be quite an accomplishment for Georgia. The Bulldogs’ 64 home runs and 352 last year were the most in 10 seasons. No bones about it, though, this is a team that will reply on pitching and defense. Hancock, the right-hander who led he Bulldogs as a freshman last year, will be the Friday night starter again. Junior Will Proctor will get the call Saturday, followed by and junior Tony Locey on Sunday. The midweek starter is expected to be sophomore left-hander C.J. Smith and everybody is eager to get a look at freshmen Cole Wilcox, who was ranked No. 37 on the Baseball America Top 500; and and fellow right-hander Jack Gowen. Schunk will again come off third base to close games, a routine that resulted in 8 saves and 31 strikeouts in 30 innings last year. “I would put our infield defense up with anybody in the country,” Stricklin said. “I think it’s that good.” It won’t be any easier in the SEC, of course. Three conference teams are ranked ahead of Georgia in preseason polls — No. 1 Vanderbilt, No. 2 LSU and No. 6 Florida — with two of them housed in the same division. Fortuitously, all three of those teams have to come to Athens. But there are two months to go before Bulldogs need to worry about that. First comes Dayton, and hopefully more sunshine and clouds than rain. The post No. 9 Georgia Bulldogs will rely on pitching, defense to get back into NCAA tourney appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Jacob Eason. He’s the guy I find myself thinking about more and more these days. It’s not because we’ll finally get to see the former Georgia quarterback play again this fall, but it is related to that. It’s because in this age of transfer portals and rubber-stamp eligibility waivers, I’m left to wonder, why not Eason? I mean, consider Eason’s situation: He comes to UGA from all the across the country in Washington; he starts as a true freshman; he does everything he’s told to do; he starts the first game as a sophomore; he gets hurt in said game; he comes back a few weeks later but loses his starting job because the backup has come in and played better; Eason sticks with his team through its run to the national championship game; then he announces at season’s end that he intends to transfer back home. Jacob Eason (10) never started another game for Georgia after a minor knee injury sidelined him in 2017. Jake Fromm (background) has started every game since. (Nate Gettleman/DawgNation) If ever there was somebody who probably should have been granted immediate eligibility, shouldn’t it have been Jacob Eason? But he wasn’t. Eason was told he’d have to sit out via the NCAA’s antiquated Division I transfer rule. So he was admitted to Washington but remained sidelined for another year behind Jake Browning. Meanwhile, we just witnessed the the transfer of Justin Fields. Comparatively, his move from Georgia to Ohio State was no more problematic than rearranging lawn furniture. First, Fields announced he was leaving UGA, then he confirmed that Columbus, Ohio, was his destination. Tate Martell, the Buckeyes’ reported quarterback in waiting subsequently announced that he’s leaving Ohio State, then Ohio State announced that Fields’ eligibility waiver request for 2019 was approved. There are a few problems with judging what to make of all this. First and foremost is the lack of transparency. The NCAA’s “transfer portal,” such as it is, is protected by Federal privacy laws such as FERPA and HIPAA. So it’s not like us journalists, or you, alumni and fans, can go in there and review the circumstances and make sure everything was on the up-and-up. No, we’re left to assume and speculate. That is, unless there is somebody directly involved — say the student-athlete or his family — who is willing to divulge exactly what the nature of his waiver requests. So far, I’ve haven’t encountered any of those. We were left to believe that Fields, after he announced his intent to transfer, was going to claim racial discrimination based on the documented event of slurs being directed at him by a another student-athlete who was subsequently dismissed from his team. That was based on the initial news account written USA Today’s Dan Wolken, citing sources. But then Fields came out with a statement after his eligibility had been approved saying that his waiver was based on nothing of the sort. “In my silence, people began to speculate, and the story took on a life of its own,” Fields said in his first and likely last statement on the matter. “”Now that this matter is concluded, I would like to clarify some facts. I have no regrets about my time at UGA and have no hard feelings for the school or football program. My overall experience at UGA was fully consistent with UGA’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. My sister is a softball player at UGA. I am still close friends with many of my UGA teammates. A part of me will always be a Georgia Bulldogs fan.” So what was the actual basis of Fields’ transfer request? I reached out to UGA to try to find out. Alas, I could not. I was told that’d have to come from Ohio State’s end. You can probably guess which it when I reached out to the Buckeyes. Yep, and around and around we went. But then I did some more digging and, as it turns out, the whole pretense for what is required for a a student-athlete to transfer is so vague that he he leaves the actual reasons for doing so pretty much moot. Turns out, it really doesn’t take anything terrible or awful for athletes to be granted immediate eligibility moving from one FBS program to another. According to the new bylaw that was enacted just this past October, a student-athlete need only be academically and athletically eligible, receive no opposition from the school they’re leaving and — here’s the important part — show “the transfer is due to documented mitigating circumstances that are outside the student-athlete’s control and directly impact the health, safety and well-being of the student-athlete.” What possible mitigating circumstances could Fields have documented for the NCAA? All I could think of him saying is, “I wanted to play quarterback for Georgia, but then I got there and a guy named Jake Fromm was playing the same position as me and he played better than me. So I want to go to Ohio State because they told me I could have the job if I went there.” But we’ll never know what he actually said. That information is protected by FERPA and attorney-client privilege. Fields was represented in his transfer by Arkansas trial lawyer Thomas Mars, who has become the leading advocate for the transfer rights of student-athletes. “The rule passed last April is intentionally very vague,” Mars told ESPN.com in a recent examination of the transfer portal phenomena. “Who knows what mitigating factors or circumstances means?” Well, Mars probably does, but he’s not saying. The results have been pretty predictable. According to that same ESPN report, more than 1,400 student-athletes are currently in “the portal.” It’s clogged to bursting. Which brings is back to Eason. If anybody had a complaint, I’d think it could be him. Back in the day (there I go again) there used to be sort of an unwritten policy that most coaches went by in which a front-line starter such as Eason who was sidelined because of an injury would be given back his position upon his return. Obviously, Kirby Smart doesn’t subscribe to that policy, nor should he, necessarily. For, while that policy as been around for ages, so has the one that says, “don’t be Wally Pipp.” Pipp, as the story goes, was a power-hitting first baseman for the New York Yankees who allegedly asked to sit out a game in 1925 because he had a headache. He was replaced in the lineup by Lou Gehrig, who went on to play in a record 2,130 consecutive games. Here’s the other side of that story people don’t see to ever cite: While Pipp never played first base for the Yankees again, he did play another three years for the Cincinnati Reds. That’s right, he hopped into the transfer portal and played elsewhere. I reached out to Eason and the University of Washington to find out whether he made any attempt to appeal the NCAA’s Division I transfer policy that required him to sit out last season. Of course, the Huskies already had an established quarterback in Jake Browning, so Eason’s services weren’t sorely needed. But what if Browning had been injured his senior year this past season? What if Washington found itself in desperate need of a quarterback? As it was, Eason wasn’t an option. But as it is now, any quarterbacks transferring into UW since last season ended will be able to step in right away next season. And the Huskies find themselves down two quarterbacks now as Amandre Williams transferred to Montana State in 2018. In the meantime, the Bulldogs have no cause to complain. After all, they were one of the precedent-setters when it comes to this domino-tumble of transferring. Lest we forget, Demetris Robertson, came in from Cal and played straight away. Turns out that wasn’t quite the difference-making move many predicted. Then again, it’s still up to players to make the plays wherever. Maybe D-Rob will, too. The post Thinking of former Georgia QB Jacob Eason as NCAA’s ‘transfer portal’ roars on appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia’s Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan and current Major League Baseball stars teamed up last Saturday in Athens to raise money for perhaps Athens’ most-favorite charity, Extra Special People.  ATLANTA, GA— (February 11, 2019) On Feb. 9, Georgia’s Lt. Governor, Geoff Duncan, and several other MLB players were guest judges for Extra Special People (ESP) Big Hearts at Bat. The line-up included Duncan, who played for the Florida Marlins early in his career before being elected as Georgia’s Lt. Governor. Kyle Farmer of the Cincinnati Reds, Gordon Beckham formerly with the Atlanta Braves and now with the Detroit Tigers, Brooks Brown formerly with the Colorado Rockies, and Trevor Holder of the San Diego Padres were also guest judges. “ESP is making dreams come true for kids with special needs, and I was honored to be a part of the inspirational night,” Farmer, who also played in two World Series’ for the Los Angeles Dodgers, said. “I’m excited to see kids of every ability have the chance to step up to the plate and play the sport I love.” “One of the best parts about being lieutenant governor is having the opportunity to find out about organizations like ESP and the huge impact they have on a community and the joys they bring to people’s lives,” Duncan said. In its 12th year, ESP’s Big Hearts pageant showcases kids of all abilities as they perform for thousands of guests in Athens, Ga. This year, money was raised to build a Miracle League baseball field and sports complex. Through generous donations at Big Hearts at Bat, ESP reached the $1.1 million mark of a $1.4 million campaign goal. The Miracle League sports complex will bring the magic of baseball to kids of all abilities in Northeast Georgia. Additionally, funds were raised at the pageant and silent auction to send hundreds of kids to summer camp. “Big Hearts at Bat was focused on bringing to life the dream of typical kids and those with special needs playing alongside one another, no longer benching those who have different abilities,” said Laura Whitaker, ESP Executive Director. “Our Miracle League sports complex will be for everyone—a fully-accessible baseball field, making it possible for every child to play America’s favorite pastime, as well as a playground and splash pad for everyone in the community.” ESP is committed to fostering genuine friendships and memorable moments between all citizens who want to play and aims to see the bases loaded at the newly-constructed complex by Spring of 2020. About Extra Special People Extra Special People, Inc., (ESP), a 501 (c)(3) is a nonprofit serving families and children with special needs in the 26-county area surrounding Watkinsville, Ga., since 1987. With ever-expanding after-school programs, weekend clubs, an eight-week long summer camp and family resources, ESP now reaches more than 425 children, with an ongoing dream of reaching every Northeast Georgia family that has a need and a desire to help their special child grow and thrive. Contributing to this dream was the addition of 70 acres in Jackson County in December 2014. Camp Hooray will one day continue the ESP mission by hosting overnight camps, weekend retreats and events for children and families of all abilities. About The Miracle League The Miracle League removes the barriers that keep children with mental and physical disabilities off the baseball field and lets them experience the joy of America’s favorite pastime. Miracle League teams play on a custom-designed, rubberized turf field that accommodates wheelchairs and other assistive devices while helping to prevent injuries. The first Miracle League field opened in Conyers, Ga., in April 2000. Now there are more than 300 Miracle League Organizations across the country including Puerto Rico and Canada, serving more than 250,000 children and adults. Miracle League is not only partnering with ESP for the first local field in the Athens area, but will also be a part of the expansion of Camp Hooray, an innovative, state-of-the-art camp for individuals with disabilities.
  • ATHENS — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart is about as comfortable with his quarterback situation as any other position on the team, and he said so on national television last week. “ Any position you look at on your football team, you are concerned about depth,” Smart said on the SEC Network’s Paul Finebaum Show last week. “If a coach tells you he’s not worried about depth, he’s probably lying. “We’re concerned about depth at every position across the board.” No doubt, Georgia saw how quickly depth could come into play last season. It likely cost the Bulldogs the SEC championship and another College Football Playoff appearance. RELATED: Kirby Smart provides fascinating insight into football future Senior outside linebacker D’Andre Walker was enjoying an MVP performance when he went down with an injury at the start of the fourth quarter of the SEC Championship Game. The Bulldogs were leading Alabama 28-21 at the time, but with Walker out on account of a groin injury, UGA didn’t have another player that could provide both pressure and containment at the position. That led to former Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts coming off the bench and rallying Alabama to a win .Hurts bought time with his scrambles that likely wouldn’t have been there with UGA’s sacks leader in the game. The  good news at that OLB position is that even if Walker’s former backup — Brenton Cox —  moves to the defensive line, as some have projected, UGA has major talent rolling in. Both 5-star signee Nolan Smith and junior college transfer Jermaine Johnson have the size and talent to compete immediately and find their way on the field. Quarterback, obviously, draws a great deal more attention that the linebacker position. But the SEC Championship Game served as evidence of the importance of every spot on the team, as Smart suggested. Georgia lost a talented quarterback when Justin Fields elected to transfer to Ohio State, where he was recently granted a waiver for immediate eligibility. But the Bulldogs likely avoided what would have been a high-profile controversy that, based on recent tweets from current and former players, had the potential to divide the locker room. Smart addressed the QB depth issue by flipping former Buckeyes’ commit Dwan Mathis and adding former walk-on back-up QB Stetson Bennett to the class. RELATED: Georgia recruit Dwan Mathis ‘team player who wants to win championships’ “We are excited about the two young men that entered our program mid-year,” Smart said. “We know a lot about Stetson because he’s been in our program, he’s played in a spring game with 93,000 people at it. I have great expectations for him.” Bennett’s one year as a junior college player and experience with the UGA scout team is somewhat offset by his frame (6-foot, 172 pounds) and arm strength. The 6-foot-5, 215-pound Mathis, on the other hand, has great physical ability and must learn the offense to be effective. “ Dwan has been a kid who has been like a sponge,” Smart said. “He’s getting here and has done great academically and we’re excited to see what he does this spring.” Returning quarterback and team captain Jake Fromm recently said he has been impressed with all of the incoming players.   The post Georgia football coach Kirby Smart talks quarterbacks, depth concerns appeared first on DawgNation.
  • A total of 524 University of Georgia student-athletes received a grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 or higher for the fall 2018 semester and were named to the J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Honor Roll for the fall term.    Out of the 524 on the honor roll, 10 student-athletes garnered Presidential Scholar honors for finishing fall semester with a 4.00 GPA or higher while taking 14 or more hours. This year’s list of Presidential Scholars includes: women’s swimmers Ellie Crump (Dunwoody, Ga.) and Jordan Stout (St. Louis, Mo.); women’s tennis player Elena Christofi (Athens, Greece); equestrian riders Jessica Blum (Gormley, Ontario), Sarah Finkel (Walnut Creek, Calif.), Emma Mandarino (Bedminister, N.J.) and Alexis Mougalian (Richland, Mich.); baseball player Ryan Avidano (Peachtree City, Ga.).    Eleven Georgia student-athletes completed the 2018 fall semester with a perfect 4.0 GPA, including: women’s track and field members Jessica Drop (Durham, Conn.), Samantha Drop (Durham Conn.), Kayla Smith (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Tiffany Yue (Lawrenceville, Ga.); baseball player Christian Ryder (Acworth, Ga.); equestrian rider Stella Martin (Marietta, Ga.); soccer team members Mollie Belisle (Atlanta, Ga.) and Caroline Chipman (Atlanta, Ga.); softball player Amanda Ablan (Lawrenceville, Ga.); women’s swimmer Eva Merrell (Newport Beach, Calif.); volleyball player Kendall Glover (Phoenix, Ariz.).   In addition, 133 student-athletes on the J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Honor Roll received Dean’s List honors, earning a 3.50 GPA or higher while take 14 or more hours. These students are: baseball players Timothy Elliott* (Loganville, Ga.), Riley King (Lawrenceville, Ga.), CJ Smith (Royston, Ga.) and Cole Tate (Bishop, Ga.); football team members Rodrigo Blankenship (Marietta, Ga.), Patrick Bond* (Milton, Ga.), Tommy Bush (Schertz, Texas), Tyson Campbell (Plantation, Fla.), Owen Condon* (Oklahoma City, Okla.), JT Dooley (Dallas, Texas), Edward Ferguson (Athens, Ga.), Jackson Harris (Columbia, Tenn.), Prather Hudson (Columbus, Ga.), Kearis Jackson (Fort Valley, Ga.), Jonathan Ledbetter (Tucker, Ga.), Peyton Mercer (Twin City, Ga.), Miles Miccichi (Atlanta, Ga.), Cameron Moore (Alpharetta, Ga.), Josh Moran (Alpharetta, Ga.), Hugh Nelson (Powder Springs, Ga.), Jack Podlesny (St Simons Island, Ga.), Bill Rubright (Atlanta, Ga.) and Charlie Woerner (Tiger, Ga.); men’s golf athletes John Catanzaro (Gadsden, Ala.), Jack Larkin (Atlanta, Ga.), David Mackey (Bogart, Ga.) and Davis Thompson (Auburn, Ala.); men’s swimmers Andrew Abruzzo (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.), Blake Atmore (Alpharetta, Ga.), Teagan Cheney (Danville, Calif.), Jack Dalmolin (Cumming, Ga.), Luke Durocher (Fredericksburg, Va.), Jackson Ford (Johns Creek, Ga.), James Guest (Baie-D’urfe, Montreal), Caleb Harrington* (Knoxville, Tenn.), Colin Monaghan (Gainesville, Ga.), Colin Riley (Marietta, Ga.), Billy Rothery (Kennesaw, Ga.) and Keegan Walsh (Lawrenceville, Ga.); men’s tennis players Sam Dromsky* (Augusta, Ga.), Walker Duncan*(Atlanta, Ga.), Robert Loeb* (Hilton Head, S.C.) and Alexander Phillips (Peachtree City, Ga.); men’s track and field athletes Quinton Burden* (Atlanta, Ga.), Tyler Fox (Suwanee, Ga.), Jeramey Hampton (Suwanee, Ga.), Michael Hans (Watkinsville, Ga.), Tyler Jones (Bogart, Ga.), Michael Malkowski* (Baltimore, Md.), Samuel Milton* (Alpharetta, Ga.), Jonathan Pelham (Lagrange, Ga.), Ryan Peppenhorst (Cumming, Ga.), Davis Stockwell (Atlanta, Ga.), Nicholas Yanek* (Bettendorf, Iowa) and Ziggy Zoller (Atlanta, Ga.); equestrian riders Madison Anger (Clyde Hill, Wash.), Grace Bridges (Carthage, Texas), Colleen Bridges* (Eatonton, Ga.), Kaitlin Dierks (Bothwell, Wash.), Madeline Fiorante* (Tigard, Ore.), Samantha Gastelum* (Coto De Cazi, Calif.), Kendall Gill* (Leesburg, Ga.), Isabelle Heckler*(Colts Neck, N.J.), Lauren Hull (Canfield, Ohio), Sydney Hutchins (Westlake Village, Calif.), Kathryn Jernick* (Peconic, N.Y.), Kathryn Kramer* (Menlo Park, Calif.), Miller Lantis (Corunna, Mich.), Margaret Lemons* (Salt Lake City, Utah), Sara Lewis* (Washington, Ind.), Mckenzie Maloney (Atlanta, Ga.), Jaden Olson* (Parker, Colo.), Catherine Ray (Berwyn, Pa.), Annalise Reed (Grosse Pointe, Mich.), Carly Reinsel (Alpharetta, Ga.), Kadie Sanford* (Cumming, Ga.), Alexa Schwartz (Boca Raton, Fla.), Natalie Stoyko* (The Woodlands, Texas), Graysen Stroud* (Snohomish, Wash.) and Alison Tritschler (Southport, Conn.); women’s golf athlete Kelsey Kurnett (Alpharetta, Ga.); gymnasts Alexa Al-hameed (Ames, Iowa), Rachel Dickson (Canton, Mich.) and Megan Roberts (Toronto, Canada); Soccer players Ashley Andersen (Clifton, Va.), Anna Bougas (Grayson, Ga.), Kerri Cook (Greshman, Ore.), Kerry Manion (Westlake Village, Calif.) and Isabella Ponzi (Alexandria, Va.); Softball players Mary Wilson Avant* (Macon, Ga.), Kylie Bass (Gray, Ga.), Jordan Doggett (McDonough, Ga.), Alysen Febrey (Peachtree City, Ga.) and Savana Sikes (Douglasville, Ga.); women’s swimmers Caroline Aikins (Cumming, Ga.), Katherine Aikins (Cumming, Ga.), Olivia Anderson* (Mississauga, Ontario), Mckensi Austin* (Castle Rock, Colo.), Donna Blaum (Fayetteville, Ga.), Portia Brown* (Broadview Heights, Ohio), Olivia Carter* (Greensboro, N.C.), Callie Dickinson*(Virginia Beach, Va.), Allison Greene* (Tallahassee, Fla.), Kelliann Howell (Moultrie, Ga.), Addison Kelly (Jefferson, Ga.), Katherine Parker (Lawrenceville, Ga.), Sandra Scott (Midway, Ga.) and Julia Von Biberstein (Atlanta, Ga.); women’s tennis players Annette Goulak* (Oak Park, Calif.) and Meg Kowalski (Chicago, Ill.); women’s track and field athletes Emma Bagwellm (Alpharetta, Ga.), Imani Carothers* (Harvey, Ill.), Emily Doherty (Athens, Ga.), Yanely Gomez (Lawrenceville, Ga.), Ansley Heavern* (Dunwoody, Ga.), Courtney Long* (Acworth, Ga.), Emma Maisel (Cumming, Ga.), Tairyn Montgomery* (Los Angeles, Calif.), Marie Therese Obst (Oslo, Norway), Amber Tanner* (Brentwood, Tenn.), Grace Tavani (Roswell, Ga.), Mary Terry* (Norcross, Ga.) and Chelsea Zoller (Atlanta, Ga.); volleyball players Sydney Gilliam (Hendersonville, N.C.), Mallory Hernandez (Fishers, Ind.), Katie Houser (Winchester, Va.), Anna Kate Karstens (Hattiesburg, Miss.), Sarah Lagler-Clark (Mississauga, Ontario), Sage Naves (Agoura Hills, Calif.), Kayla Rivera (Ventura, Calif.) and Claire Rothenberger (Aurora, Ill.).    Lastly, 116 Georgia student-athletes capped the fall 2018 term with 3.00-3.49 GPAs. These individuals include: baseball players John Cable (Roswell, Ga.), Riley Crean (Athens, Ga.), Justin Glover (Buford, Ga.), Emerson Hancock (Cairo, Ga.), Randon Jernigan (Brunswick, Ga.), Zac Kristofak (Marietta, Ga.), Mason Meadows (Roswell, Ga.), Darryn Pasqua (Rocky Face, Ga.), Will Proctor (Manhattan Beach, Calif.), Aaron Schunk (Atlanta, Ga.), Cameron Shepherd (Duluth, Ga.), LJ Talley (Folkston, Ga.), Connor Tate (Bishop, Ga.) and Cole Wilcox (Chickamauga, Ga.); men’s basketball athletes Connor O'Neill (Roswell, Ga.) and Ignas Sargiunas (Kaunas, Lithuania); football players Trey Blount (Atlanta, Ga.), Latavious Brini (Miami Gardens, Fla.), Matthew Downing (Alpharetta, Ga.), John Eager (Valdosta, Ga.), Warren Ericson (Suwanee, Ga.), John Fitzpatrick (Atlanta, Ga.), Sean Fogarty (Savannah, Ga.), Jake Fromm (Warner Robins, Ga.), Daniel Gothard (Dunwoody, Ga.), Mecole Hardman (Bowman, Ga.), Palmer Henderson (Valdosta, Ga.), Garrett Jones (Albany, Ga.), David Marshall (Thomaston, Ga.), Jordon McKinney (Dalton, Ga.), Isaac Nauta (Buford, Ga.), Christopher Smith (Atlanta, Ga.), Channing Tindall (Columbia, S.C.), Steven Van Tiflin (Saginaw, Mich.), D'andre Walker (Fairburn, Ga.), Payne Walker (Suwanee, Ga.) and Blake Watson (Roswell, Ga.); men’s golf team members Will Kahlstorf (Watkinsville, Ga.), Calum Masters (Headland, Ala.) and Trevor Phillips (Inman, S.C.); men’s swimmers Alexander Bemiller (Atlanta, Ga.), Aidan Burns (Saratoga, Calif.), Charles Clifton (Nashville, Tenn.), Bradley Dunham (Hoschton, Ga.), Clayton Forde (Louisville, Ky.), Joshua Getty (Marietta, Ga.), Kevin Miller (Ithaca, N.Y.) and Gregory Reed (Roanoke, Va.); men’s tennis athletes Alex Diaz (Athens, Ga.) and Jan Zielinski (Warsaw, Poland); men’s track and field athletes John Bradley (Duluth, Ga.), Alejandro Collins (Peachtree City, Ga.), Denzel Comenentia (Amsterdam, Netherlands), Johannes Erm (Tallinn, Estonia), Elija Godwin (Covington, Ga.), Jonathan Raines (Macon, Ga.), Nathaniel Reichard (Duluth, Ga.), Darr Smith (Atlanta, Ga.), Austin Sprague (Dunwoody, Ga.) and Karel Tilga (Tartu, Estonia); women’s basketball players Donnetta Johnson (Queens, N.Y.), Que Morrison (Riverdale, Ga.) and Caliya Robinson (Marietta, Ga.); equestrian members Kathryn Anderson (Knoxville, Tenn.), Charlotte Anguiano (Tuscaloosa, Ala.), Courtney Blumer (Monroe, N.C.), Emily Clark (Castle Rock, Colo.), Addy Cullum (Cayce, S.C.), Madeline Epstein (Miami, Fla.), Chaney Getchell (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.), Anna Hutlas (Shreveport, La.), Lexie Lane (Canton, Ga.), Emily Leins (Mclean, Va.), Alyssa Luckhardt (Saline, Mich.), Sarah McDonald (Asheville, N.C.), Madison Newman (Wellington, Fla.), Lila Owens (Winter Park, Fla.), Taylor Staton (Cumming, Ga.), Catherine Sullivan (Locust Valley, N.C.), Shaelyn Vering (Scribbler, Neb.) and Danielle Walawender (Seaville, N.J.); women’s golf athletes Gabriela Coello (Maracay, Venezuela) and Bailey Tardy (Peachtree Corners, Ga.); gymnasts Sterlyn Austin (Thomasville, Ga.), Samantha Davis (Cranford, N.J.), Marissa Oakley (Huntersville, N.C.) and Alyssa Perez-Lugones (Duluth, Ga.); soccer players Liz Brucia (Westfield, N.J.), Keely Cartrett (Suwanee, Ga.), Kristen Edmond (Suwanee, Ga.), Shelly McQuaid (Roswell, Ga.), Hale Otto (McKinney, Texas), Daria Stan (Augusta, Ga.) and Cecily Stoute (Atlanta, Ga.); softball athletes Tyler Armistead (Butler, Ala.), Lacey Fincher (Tanner Williams, Ala.), CJ Landrum (Fort Worth Texas), Madison McPherson (Plains, Ga.), Justice Milz (Kearney, Mo.), Keara Napoli (Alpharetta, Ga.), Shelby Suplee (Cumming, Ga.), Jacqui Switzer (Grayson, Ga.) and Janice Webb (Demorest, Ga.); women’s swimmers Veronica Burchill (Carmel, Ind.), Mary Claire Cardwell (Madison, Ga.), Sofia Carnevale (Mississauga, Ontario), Caitlin Casazza (High Point, N.C.), Danielle Della Torre (Watkinsville, Ga.), Alexis Glunn (Marietta, Ga.), Courtney Harnish (York, Pa.) and Freida Lim (Singapore, Singapore); women’s tennis players Lordes Carle (Daireaux, Argentina), Morgan Coppoc (Tulsa, Okla.), Katarina Jokic (Novi Grad, Basnia) and Vivian Wolff (Atlanta, Ga.); women’s track and field athletes Tara Davis (Agoura Hills, Calif.), Skylar English (Dacula, Ga.), Sakari Famous (Pembroke, Bermuda), Katie Jackson (Auburn, Ala.), Makenzi Kopp (Jacksonville, Ga.), Sterling Lester (Marietta, Ga.), Titiana Marsh (Chester, Va.), Nicole Pachuta (Watkinsville, Ga.), Marisa Petit (Braselton, Ga.), Bailey Weiland (Atlanta, Ga.) and Jayda Woods (Cold Spring, Minn.); volleyball players Majesti Bass (Conyers, Ga.), Meghan Donovan (St. Louis, Mo.), Dalaney Hans (Marietta, Ga.) and Rachel Ritchie (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.).