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Obama health law sign-ups lagging for 2019

With open enrollment ending next week, the government says sign-ups for coverage under former President Barack Obama's health care law are lagging when compared with last year.

Figures released Thursday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services show that about 3.2 million people have signed up so far for subsidized private insurance, compared with about 3.6 million at the same time last year. Open enrollment ends Dec. 15.

Health law supporters are concerned. The number of new customers is down nearly 18 percent.

Many Democrats blame the Trump administration for the slippage, but independent experts say there may be other reasons, too. In a strong economy people are more likely to find jobs with coverage.

Most of the estimated 10 million currently enrolled will have their coverage renewed automatically.

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Local News

  • Police said they have caught a man responsible for at least eight break-ins at restaurants and shops in Newton County.  Channel 2's Christian Jennings was in Covington, where a Hardees on Highway 278 was the latest target.  Police said Christopher Lee broke the drive-thru window. Surviellance video shows the moments a masked Lee shattered the drive-thru window before reaching inside the store and taking the money.  Police said Lee broke into numerous businesses in the past few weeks before he was arrested Thursday night.  Police said Lee's crime spree started June 23 and didn't end until July 8 at the Hardees.  The businesses Lee targeted included Applebees and a Dollar General, most of which were on the same stretch of road.  Jennings talked to Capt. Ken Malcom, with the Covington Police Department, about how they were able to tie the crimes together.  'Well, immediately, we realized we had a serial burglar,' Malcom said. 'It was very important to us to stop this.' Police said they got a break in the case when they found video from a business close to the Hardees. Malcom said it shows Lee shortly before the break-in. It was the first time they were able to see their suspect without a mask.  When they got the video from the break-in Thursday night, they recognized Lee immediately from the night before. Malcom said Lee used a pink child's bicycle to ride around and commit his crimes.  'A very alert rookie patrol officer (saw) an individual that matched the discription we had of our suspect,' Malcom said. 'As the officer got out, he noticed a discarded bicycle in a wooded area, and (the man) attempted to hide the bicycle.' Jay Salim, an employee at one of the businesses, said he was relieved to hear the burglar wouldn't strike again.  'We were expecting him to get caught in a couple weeks' time, the detectives told us, but yeah, that's good news for us,' Salim said. 'That's really good to hear that.
  • Georgia rising senior Spencer Ralston erased an 11-shot deficit in the final round on Sunday to win the 20th annual Players Amateur and secure a berth in the 2020 RBC Heritage.    “It was the kind of day that we as golfers hope for,” Ralston said. “I knew I was 11 shots back, but you have to believe you have the ability to come back so my focus was just on my game and doing what I needed to do. I picked up some momentum along the way and that goes a long way in a tournament like this. I am proud of the win and I am really looking forward to my first professional tournament next year.”   Ralston, a native of Gainesville, Ga., closed the tournament at Berkeley Hall Club with an 9-under-par 63 to wind up with a 1-shot win at 19-under 269.    Stewart Hagestad, who played collegiately at Southern Cal, was the 54-hole leader at 21-under 195 (on the strength of a first-round, course-record 11-under 61). Ralston found himself after three rounds at 10-under 206. But Ralston rallied Sunday on the strength of an eagle and eight birdies to finish at 269, while Hagestad signed for a 3-over 75 and wound up at 270.   Ralston will receive the tournament’s sponsor’s exemption into the RBC Heritage, which will take place in April on Hilton Head, S.C., one week before the Southeastern Conference Championship.   Rising junior Davis Thompson placed 21st at 10-under 278.   In other news regarding Georgia golfers, rising sophomore Nicolas Cassidy came in fourth in the Georgia Amateur Championship at 1-under 287. Rising sophomore Will Kahlstorf took eighth at 2-over 290 and rising senior Tye Waller placed 11th at 4-over 292.
  • Piedmont College makes a property purchase in Habersham County, snapping up 80 acres of land off Highway 441 in Demorest.   From John Roberts, Piedmont College… Piedmont College has completed the acquisition of 80 acres contiguous to the Demorest campus from longtime friends of the college. The site, property of the Rohletter family since the early 1900s, once served as a farm managed by Mary and the late Ray Rohletter. South of campus, the property is partly bordered by Camp Creek and U.S. 441. In 2002, the Rohletters, longtime fixtures of the Demorest community, gifted approximately 11 acres of their farm to Piedmont for incorporation into the wetlands conversion of the former lake. “We are deeply grateful to the Rohletter family, in particular Ray and Mary’s children Joel Rohletter, Jennifer Rohletter Chambers, and Amanda Rohletter Powell, for their commitment to our students by enabling the transfer of this unique asset,” said Piedmont President James F. Mellichamp. To honor the family, the college has named the area the “Mary and Ray Rohletter Farm Campus.” A future access road through the property will be been named “Rohletter Farm Drive.”  With the acquisition, completed July 12, Piedmont’s property holdings are more than 400 acres in Demorest. The college also operates a four-acre campus in Athens.  Mellichamp said civil engineers are preparing preliminary designs for the road placement. The college has not determined how the property will be developed. “This acquisition increases our landholdings in Demorest by nearly 25 percent,” said Mellichamp. “We are a thriving institution that is growing. This land will provide room for future development.”
  • Coach Kirby Smart and a handful of his Georgia Bulldog football players make the trip to Hoover Alabama for the annual SEC Media Days: the Dogs are 47 days away from the season opener, an August 31 Southeastern Conference contest in Nashville versus Vanderbilt.From AJC DawgNation’s Mike Griffith…   Here are five questions Smart will likely be asked — and how he will likely answer: When did you know J.J. Holloman was involved in an escalated domestic incident in April of 2018?  (Smart has not talked with media since news broke on June 21 that Holloman was dismissed from the program).  Smart’s likely answer: Not until after Holloman spoke with the UGA police last month and, in a police report, admitted to striking his former girlfriend. The alleged incident took place on April 22, 2018, but the victim did not file a report until June 2, 2019. Smart and his staff likely did their own investigation into the matter before dismissing Holloman, even as the case remains inactive with the victim not wanting to press charges. What will it take to beat Alabama?  (Smart has been asked this question repeatedly this offseason, so Georgia fans and players may feel their blood boiling)  The likely answer: Smart’s stance is that he doesn’t look at any season with topping the Tide or any other specific opponent as the mission statement. There’s much work to be done within his own team before another such a meeting could take place in the SEC Championship Game. Smart may choose to make light of the losses, being the stage is in metro Birmingham and he knows his audience, or he may play it down entirely with a very brief response. How does Zamir White look?  (It’s an over-asked question about the No. 1-ranked back in the 2018 signing class, but White has sparked interest by releasing several workout videos)  The likely answer: He’s on schedule. Georgia will know more once they put the pads on, but White is expected to be cleared for contact from the onset of fall drills. The good news for the Bulldogs is that D’Andre Swift may be the best tailback in the nation, and Brian Herrien and James Cook provide enough quality depth that White’s return from the two ACL injuries need not be rushed. How is the team leadership?  (Another common question, but appropriate considering UGA’s bumpy offseason).  The likely answer: Jake Fromm has stepped up (Smart has said this before,) and he’s glad safety J.R. Reed elected to return for his senior season. The team has, in fact, had a very hard-working offseason in the weight room and during voluntary workouts according to those close to the program. Smart has typically praised his players in the leadership department, saving the criticism for himself and his staff. What changes can we expect with new coordinators?  (James Coley and Dan Lanning were promoted from within, and each brings their own personality, to the offensive and defensive meeting room).  The likely answer: The offense will stay balanced, and the defense will work to create more havoc. Smart’s concept of balance, however, merely means Georgia can run and pass equally well. Smart will stress that UGA can and will remain capable of dictating the run on offense. Smart will commit very little to defensive strategy beyond referencing the word “havoc”.
  • Former Athens State Representative Deborah Gonzalez (pictured above) says she will be a candidate for District Attorney. Democrat Gonzalez served a year in the Georgia House, winning a special election in 2017 before losing to Republican Houston Gaines in 2018. Gonzalez says she will challenge incumbent Ken Mauldin in 2020. Mauldin is DA in a judicial circuit that covers Clarke and Oconee counties.    State Senator Bill Cowsert, a Republican from Athens, is on a Senate study committee appointed by Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan: the Vehicle Seat Safety Belt Study Committee will be chaired by Roswell Republican John Albers and will make recommendations for the Georgia legislative session that begins in January.    There is an evening meeting of the Oconee County Planning Commission: it is a 7 o’clock session at the Oconee County courthouse in Watkinsville.  This evening’s Jackson County Commission meeting is set for 6 o’clock at the Jackson County courthouse in Jefferson. 

Bulldog News

  • HOOVER, Ala. Florida players said Monday that playing Georgia in Jacksonville 'feels like home.' A few Gators, however, continue to voice interest in the series going to a home-and-home. 'Me personally, I would't mind it, because it would be a good feeling to beat them at Georgia,' Florida defensive lineman Jabari Zuniga said at SEC Media Days in the Wynfrey Hotel. 'It's basically a home game for us, and that's what Coach (Dan) Mullen says, It's our home game, it's our field. We're the Florida Gators, and we run this state so we'e got to show everybody.' ' Mullen straddled the fence on Monday when asked about the ongoing controversy surrounding the rivalry game being played annually in Jacksonville. The tickets for the game are split 50-50. But the location is more than 330 miles from the University of Georgia, and just over 70 from Gainesville. Recent unscientific internet polls showed the fans split on their preference for the location of the game. 'I think you could make an argument either way,' said Mullen, who just two weeks ago indicated in an exclusive interview with DawgNation that the future of the rivalry beyond the contracted game in 2021 is up in the air. Georgia coach Kirby Smart has pointed to the disadvantage the Bulldogs are put at by losing what would be the most valuable official visit weekend among UGA's SEC opponents. Florida, meanwhile, could be motivated to shift the Georgia game to a home-and-home to bolster sagging season ticket sales in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Gators quarterback Feliepe Franks said it doesn't matter to him where the game is played. Franks said he does feel Florida has a home field advantage in Jacksonville. 'We have a bunch of fans come out there to that game, and we're just right down the road,' Franks said. 'It feels just like a home game running out there with all the Florida fans, so it's an awesome feeling.' Gators tailback Lamical Perine said he likes the location of the game and would prefer if the game stayed at TIAA Bank Field, the home of the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars. 'My first year there, I had never played in an NFL stadium before,' Perine said. 'Just being able to have that type of experience and understanding what the tradition is, it would be great for a lot of guys if it was kept there.' The future location of the Georgia-Florida rivalry has been an ongoing conversation throughout the offseason, particularly after Smart said on television that losing that recruiting weekend was 'a tough pill to swallow.' Indeed, the Athens infrastructure has likely had trouble digesting the loss of that home game for decades, particularly after it was revealed the Jacksonville estimates the financial impact of the game to be $35 million annually. The University of Georgia gets paid $3.2 million every other year to keep the game away from Sanford Stadium and 70 miles from Gainesville. Former Bulldogs players Mecole Hardman and Deandre Baker said during the NFL Combine that they'd like to series to become a home-and-home. 'I feel like it would be more personal,' Hardman said. 'I'd have liked to played in it (The Swamp),' Hardman said. 'I wish we could do something different, and that rivalry would go from where it's at to a whole other level.' Baker agreed. 'I would love that if it was a home-and-home, and we go beat them in their stadium,' Baker said. 'I'd say Florida (is the biggest rival) because I'm from Florida, and I think that's the biggest rivalry other than Tennessee.' SEC legend Tim Tebow wants the game to stay in Jacksonville, citing tradition and the financial impact the city gets from the Florida and Georgia Gators defensive lineman Cece Jefferson said at last year's SEC Media Days that just playing in Georgia's storied stadium would make the trip worthwhile. 'I ain't going to lie, it gets lit between the hedges, at night, I've seen where they light the cell phones up, and) it gets loud in there,' Jefferson said. 'I wouldn't mind going from our stadium to their stadium every year We don't have to go to Jacksonville every year.' For now, the teams do, at least through 2021. Smart and his Georgia football players will arrive in Hoover on Tuesday and take their turn at the podium, and it's a safe bet there will be more questions about the location of the rivalry game. Florida QB Feleipe Franks Florida DL Jabari Zuniga DawgNation at SEC Media Days Expert breaks down Georgia Great Wall' breakdown UGA legend shares key to offensive success 5 questions for Kirby Smart, and how he'll answer Why what UGA players say at SEC Media Days matters Sam Pittman's O-Line headlining act for Georgia Kelly Bryant reveals Clemson locker room chat on Georgia The post WATCH: Florida players say playing Georgia in Jacksonville a home game' appeared first on DawgNation.
  • HOOVER, Ala. The Missouri state motto is 'Show Me,' and former Clemson starting quarterback Kelly Bryant is ready to do just that after changing Tiger stripes via his transfer last season. Missouri plays at Georgia on Nov. 9, and Bryant said on Monday at SEC Media Days it's one of the games he's looking forward to most this season. 'When I was going to high school Clemson had played Georgia, and hearing some of the guys that were still on the team my freshman year, they were like, Georgia is the loudest stadium they'd ever played in, they couldn't really hear each other on the sideline, communication was hard,' Bryant said. Georgia beat Clemson 45-21 in the teams' most recent meeting, in 2014 in Sanford Stadium. 'I already knew that about Between the Hedges,' Bryant said, 'and that it's one of the toughest stadiums to play in college football, so I'm looking forward to that.' Former Georgia coach Mark Richt also recruited Bryant, hosting the dual-threat QB on a visit with other members of the 2016 class the same year the Bulldogs signed Jacob Eason. READ: Steve Spurrier weighs in on Kirby Smart, Georgia football Bryant, now working under the direction of Missouri offensive coordinator Derek Dooley, indicated the talent around him in Columbia isn't too different than what surrounded him at Clemson. Missouri was just a couple of plays away from a 10-win season last season, while Dabo Swinney's program caught fire in the College Football Playoffs after surviving close calls with Texas A&M and Syracuse during an undefeated regular season. 'I feel like my guys match up well,' Bryant said, asked how Missouri and Clemson might match up on a neutral field. 'It would definitely be a great matchup on both sides, because you have great athletes on both sides of the ball.' It's not as much of a stretch as it may seem: Athlon ranks Missouri No. 23 in the preseason despite a postseason bowl ban that is currently being appealed to the NCAA. Bryant, who completed 66 percent of his passes and led Clemson to a College Football Playoff appearance in 2017, said it was tough transfer last season. 'Of course it was tough, because actually the next day was my birthday, so it's a birthday I'll always remember,' Bryant said. 'In the moment it was definitely tough. 'That comes with playing at a program like Clemson, or anywhere . so now I feel like I'm in a great spot mentally, physically and spiritually, so I already knew it was a business decision.' And now it's Missouri that means business. 'We look at it like a 12 month pregnancy,' Bryant said. 'Whatever we're doing right now, that's how the baby is going to turn out. 'We have to do everything to get it right, there can't be any days where it's I wish I would have done this, I wish I would have done that.' So we know the urgency that we have.' Missouri QB Kelly Bryant DawgNation at SEC Media Days Expert breaks down Georgia Great Wall' breakdown UGA legend shares key to offensive success Georgia football talk with DawgNation staff in Forum 5 questions for Kirby Smart, and how he'll answer Why what UGA players say at SEC Media Days matters Georgia all-time great Kevin Butler among 4 chosen for Circle of Honor Sam Pittman's O-Line headlining act for Georgia The post WATCH: Kelly Bryant reveals Clemson locker room chatter on Between the Hedges' visit appeared first on DawgNation.
  • HOOVER, Ala. Georgia's so-called 'Great Wall' of an offensive line has their own saying in the meeting room. 'It's like Coach Pittman says,' right guard Ben Cleveland says, 'we have got to start the party.' Coach Kirby Smart's Bulldogs are a consensus top five team entering the 2019 season with visions of partying in New Orleans after the College Football Playoff Championship Game this season. RELATED: Georgia offensive line headlines SEC Media Days As always in the game of football, it all starts up front. 'I really just want our guys to dominate the guy that lines up across from them, it's just that simple,' Smart said at the SEC Spring Meetings in Destin last week.'If every guy that we put on the field can dominate the guy across from him, then I think we'll come out ahead and I'll be happy about it.' Smart and his three Bulldogs' representatives will do their talking in Hoover, Ala., at the SEC Media Days on Tuesday morning. Preseason All-American and Outland Trophy favorite Andrew Thomas will join QB Jake Fromm and Safety J.R. Reed as a UGA representative. Expert talk Cole Cubelic, a former Auburn offensive lineman and current analyst for ESPN and the SEC Network, projects the Great Wall as the favorite to win the coveted Joe Moore Award, which goes to the best offensive line in college football. 'Going into the season, I talk about Georgia, Oregon and Alabama as the top three in the country, and then you pencil in Wisconsin and a couple of others,' Cubelic told DawgNation. 'I think Clemson and Michigan are probably in that discussion, and Washington might have a chance to be in there. Auburn has all five starters back, but they didn't play great football last year and were at times they were inconsistent.' Georgia has been among the three finalists for the Joe Moore Award each of the past three seasons. Cubelic is part of the panel that votes on the award, last year picking Oklahoma, the year before, Notre Dame. WATCH: NFL veteran talks up Bulldogs offensive line Cubelic ranks juniors Solomon Kindley and Ben Cleveland as the top two offensive guards in the SEC, and Outland Trophy favorite Andrew Thomas as the best offensive tackle. 'Sam Pittman has his hands full in the best possible way of, I'd say, any offensive line coach in the last 15 or 20 years,' Cubelic said. 'He has a lot of really good problems to work out this offseason with that depth of talent.' Here's a look at how Cubelic sees the Bulldogs' offensive line: Solomon Kindley, 6-4, 335, RS junior WATCH: Solomon Kindley braces for rivalry game Cubelic: 'With Solomon it's versatility first and foremost, he doesn't have just one area of strength in his game, he does a lot of things well, he has great feet and lateral quickness. He brings power, he can get downfield in the screen game and run game to the second and third level. 'He's pretty good in pass protection, (but) he didn't have a great game against Alabama or Texas in pass protection. But the majority of the group had a lot of breakdowns against Texas when you go watch that game again. 'I think Solomon is the unsung hero of that whole group. He has just been so steady, and that goes back to the South Carolina game when everybody wanted to talk about all the other guys in that group. 'So with Solomon I would say it's versatility and having no weakness in his game, and not relying on one strength, his great feet and good body control.' MY top 5 SEC OG for 2019: 1) Solomon Kindley- Georgia 2) Ben Cleveland- Georgia 3) Marquel Harrell- Auburn 4) Deonte Brown- Alabama 5) Tre'Vour Wallace-Simms Mizzou Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) June 27, 2019 Andrew Thomas, 6-5, 320, junior RELATED: Andrew Thomas among top NFL projections Cubelic:'Andrew has the perfect frame and great length. He uses his hands well and his feet have greatly improved over the past two seasons. 'He can change direction well for a guy that size, and he has good power and pad level that gives him preferred leverage against pass rushers. 'Those are the reasons I have Andrew as my number one offensive tackle in the league.' MY top 5 SEC tackles for 2019: 1) Andrew Thomas UGA 2) Jedrick Wills- Alabama 3) Alex Leatherwood- Alabama 4) Yasir Durant- Missouri 5) Prince Tega Wanogho- Auburn Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) June 27, 2019 Ben Cleveland, 6-6, 335, RS junior WATCH: Big Ben Cleveland ready for football party Cubelic:'Ben has been banged up, you haven't seen a ton of film on him, so obviously we're using a projection of him being healthy and starting I'd think it could still be Cade Mays here. 'But with Ben I'm not sure we've seen a ton of guys like him. When you talk about that much mass that moves that well, that can get that kind of a push, he's just a different character. 'With Ben you get an amazing amount of power, in a frame that we just don't see this often. He has a hybrid Alan Faneca-Quenton Nelson, type of frame. 'I just don't know if we've seen a guy with that kind of mass, with that kinda of body fat percentage that moves the way that he does. It's hard not to project him being special when you see physically what he has a chance of being capable of.' Isaiah Wilson, 6-7, 340, RS sophomore WATCH: Goliath lineman Isaiah Wilson shares OL philosophy Cubelic:'I don't have Isaiah in my top five offensive tackles in the SEC, but obviously he has the potential to be in there because of his frame and power. But you go back and watch the film from last year, and the consistency just isn't there, guys are able to get outside of him, and he wasn't on a level with the others.' 'Physically, he has a first-round frame, giant hands, and he's 335 pounds with no fat, he looks like a tight end the way he moves around, not stiff at all. He's an athlete, and you can see that. 'But he's not there yet. He's a back bender, he needs to learn to bend a little better in his lower body. He gets his hands wide and misses often, but he makes up for it by being so massive. But you also see his feet get away from him at times, his feet get together, and guys will be able to get around him with the speed rush. 'Go put the Texas game on and you'll see people get under his pads in the run game, and you see him get beat in pass protection and his feet got together a few times, and he lost his base and width, and that gets you beat. One thing I heard about Isaiah is he went to the coaching staff early in his career asking for help and assistance, and a lot of guys with his size and strength don't ask those questions, so he has it between the ears.' Trey Hill, C, 6-4, 330, sophomore WATCH: Trey Hill's celebrated decision quite a production Cubelic:'I like his versatility. I've seen him at both positions (guard and center), so Sam Pittman has been cross-training him. A lot of times when guys come in playing center their fundamentals go out the window because they are focused on the snap an focused on everybody else's assignment. Defensive guys can move, shift, and slant, and that can get the center focused on that more than those fundamentals, but that didn't happen with Trey in the game. 'I think he has good power and quickness, and he looked more natural at center than guard. As far as talent, and ability and effort, I don't think they'll miss too much with Trey in there. 'I still wouldn't get away from the fact that (former UGA center) Lamont Gaillard was a lot better than a lot people thought he was the last few years, and I still think hearing Sam talk about his leadership, that part will be tough to replace.' MY top 5 SEC centers for 2019: 1) Drake Jackson- Kentucky 2) Lloyd Cushenberry- LSU 3) Daryl Williams- Mississippi State 4) Trystan Colon-Castillo- Mizzou 5) Trey Hill- UGA Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) June 28, 2019 Cade Mays, 6-6, 318, sophomore RELATED: Smart says Cade Mays part of offensive line in progress Cubelic:'I could have easily had Cade Mays in my top five guards, it was hard for me to keep him out. I like the way he plays more than any of those other guys in that entire group. 'Cade is a finisher, he has that nasty you love to see and plays the game the way it's supposed to be played. He has room to grow fundamentally, but he's fun to watch, regardless. 'You routinely see him 10 or 20 yards downfield looking for contact on each play.' Jamaree Salyer, 6-4, 325, sophomore RELATED: Jamaree Salyer getting first-team spring reps Cubelic:'Jamaree is a guy who will have a chance to play. He's a big, strong kid, and he has a good feet. You can tell he's a good athlete. 'I saw him lose leverage a little bit, and he doesn't have a full understanding of pad leverage and gets a little high. But when he does get his hands on people, he can move people. 'The thing that stuck out was his power and ability to move people at the point of attack. But you could see there were times he was thinking too much, and he didn't appear relaxed. but that's part of being young. DawgNation at SEC Media Days UGA legend shares key to offensive success Georgia football talk with DawgNation staff in Forum 5 questions for Kirby Smart, and how he'll answer Why what UGA players say at SEC Media Days matters Georgia all-time great Kevin Butler among 4 chosen for Circle of Honor Sam Pittman's O-Line headlining act for Georgia The post SEC expert breaks down Georgia Great Wall' offensive line appeared first on DawgNation.
  • HOOVER, Ala. The Georgia offensive line figures to be one of the most talked about position groups in recent history as coaches and players descend on the Wynfrey Hotel for the annual SEC Media Days event. The Bulldogs return six players who started games last season, when Georgia led the SEC in rushing and Jake Fromm was hit fewer times than any league quarterback per advanced metrics. Fromm, himself, is a Heisman Trophy candidate. Tailback D'Andre Swift is a returning 1,000-yard rusher and is considered among the best at his position in the nation. But there's something about Georgia's jumbo offensive linemen that has many people captivated. Analysts, fans and alums alike have talked about the potential for the Bulldogs' massive and talented offensive front, led by celebrated line coach Sam Pittman. RELATED: Pittman recognized, Georgia O-Line ranks among nation's best 'They look like a freakin' great wall,' said former NFL and UGA offensive lineman Georgia Foster, himself 6-foot-5 and 338 pounds during his playing career. 'The Georgia line, what I really like about them is it seems they have recruited the right temperament that you want,' Foster said. 'I wouldn't be surprised if this was the best group we've ever seen.' Indeed, three of the 10 players featured on the Bulldogs' 2019 media guide covers are members of the so-called 'Great Wall.' RELATED: Georgia O-Linemen projected to go early in 2020 NFL Draft Thing is, UGA hasn't even settled on its starters, though the left side of the line and the center position seem safe enough to project. 'What they do in the offseason, what they work out like, how they do in school, how they compete in the fall,' Smart said, asked about the competition up front after the spring game, 'Competition helps, we've had a great rotation.' Outland Trophy candidate and preseason All-American left tackle Andrew Thomas (6-5, 320) will appear at SEC Media Days when Georgia takes its turn on Tuesday morning. Solomon Kindley (6-4, 335) is the projected starter at left guard and could be the most underrated of the group, while sophomore Trey Hill (6-4, 330) will likely start at center barring injury. The right side is less settled entering fall camp. 'Guys have competed really hard at right guard, Cade Mays has done a great job competing over there,' Smart said after the G-Da Game. 'Right tackle is really up for grabs, both guys are competing, there's a lot of positions in there that guys continue to get better.' Redshirt junior right guard Ben Cleveland (6-6, 335) and redshirt sophomore right tackle Isaiah Wilson (6-7, 340) are battling to hold off Mays (6-6, 318), who also started games in 2018 and was a FWAA Freshman All-American. Jamaree Salyer (6-4, 325), the No. 1 offensive guard in the 2018 class, is also working to win playing time on the offensive line after strong bowl practices and flashes during spring camp. For all the talk, Smart made it clear he'll judge off what he sees first hand. 'Can it be a strength for out team? Y,eah, but so can a lot of our positions,' Smart said. 'I don't think you get things off forecasting or projecting, you get them off doing it, and we have to have them go out and play well to be a successful offense.' DawgNation at SEC Media Days Georgia football talk with DawgNation staff in Forum 5 questions for Kirby Smart, and how he'll answer Why what UGA players say at SEC Media Days matters Georgia all-time great Kevin Butler among 4 chosen for Circle of Honor The post Offensive line leads storylines for Georgia football entering SEC Media Days appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia football record-setting kicker Kevin Butler is among four former Bulldogs' that will be added to the 'Circle of Honor.' Two-time NCAA championship gymnast Jenni Beathard along with All-America golfer Nick Cassini and former basketball standout Jarvis Hayes are the other three former athletes selected for Class of 2019 induction, according to the UGA release. The newest Circle of Honor inductees will be introduced on Dooley Field at a yet-to-be-determined home football game before their formal induction on Feb 7, 2020 in the Sanford Stadium West End Zone. According to the Georgia release: ' The Circle of Honor is designed to pay tribute to extraordinary student-athletes and coaches who by their performance and conduct have brought honor to the university and themselves, and who by their actions have contributed to the tradition of the Georgia Bulldogs. The criteria for selection also stipulate that each recipient has earned his or her academic degree.' Butler tied an NCAA record with 27 games of two field goals or more and ranks as UGA's most prolific long-distance kicker. Butler still owns a share of the longest field goal in SEC history, a 60-yard game-winner with 11 seconds left against Clemson in 1984. The Stone Mountain product is also the school-record holder for most field goals over 50 yards (11, 1981-1984), and he has the highest percentage of field goals made over 50 yards (minimum 20 attempts) at 52.4 percent. The UGA release noted that Butler finished his career as the SEC's all-time leading scorer a record that stood for 14 years and that he was selected on All-Century teams as determined by Sports Illustrated, ABC Sports and the Walter Camp Football Foundation. Here is the other biographical information from UGA of each of the four inductees, as released by Tim Hix: Jenni Beathard 'In the storied tradition of Georgia women's gymnastics, Beathard ranks among the very best.The Altamonte Springs, Fla., arrived at UGA in the Fall of 1996, part of what was considered the best recruiting class in school history.With Beathard as a mainstay, this class made good on its considerable promise by winning NCAA team titles in two of its four years. As a freshman in 1996, Beathard overcame chronic ankle injuries to earn All-America honors on the uneven bars, finishing second at the NCAA meet.The following year, she flourished as the team's top entry on bars and its leadoff performer on the balance beam.Beathard posted a score of 9.950 to win the NCAA championship on bars.As a junior she continued her excellence on bars by earning her first career score of 10.0 in a tri-meet with Arizona and Michigan.She went on to claim the NCAA co-championship on the balance beam, one night after the Gym Dogs captured the fourth team title in program history. Beathard capped her collegiate career earning All-America honors in both bars and beam in 1999, helping lead Georgia to a second straight NCAA team championship.During the season she recorded two more perfect 10.0 scores on bars, first against Florida and later against N.C. State in her final home competition.At season's end Beathard won the American Athletic, Inc. (AAI) Award, given annually to the nation's outstanding senior gymnast. Beathard was equally accomplished as a student in the classroom.She earned Academic All-America honors as a senior in 1999 and was an Academic All-SEC honoree three straight years.Beathard earned her B.S. degree in Exercise and Sports Science in 2000.' Nick Cassini 'Nick Cassini joined the UGA Golf program in 1998 and helped lead the squad to the program's first national championship the following spring. He later earned First-Team All-America honors in 2001, becoming the 16th Bulldog with that designation. Cassini also was a Second-Team All-American in 2000. A native Atlantan, Cassini was chosen as the SEC's Player of the Year in 2001, when the Bulldogs claimed their second straight conference title.That same season he claimed medalist honors at the Schenkel Invitational, was named team captain, and earned the program's Dick Copas Award as the team leader in stroke average. When his college career ended, Cassini ranked second in school history with the lowest season average (71.05) and lowest round (7-under) and fourth in career average (72.11).During his UGA career, he also represented the United States three times at the Palmer Cup and Walker Cup, a pair of Ryder Cup-style, international competitions featuring top collegians (Palmer) and amateurs (Walker). Cassini earned his B.S. degree in Family and Consumer Sciences from UGA in the Spring of 2001.He will become the first Circle of Honor inductee to have played for the men's golf program exclusively.John Carson, a 2003 inductee from the football program, also lettered in golf in 1951 and 1953.And 2006 inductee Dick Copas served as head coach of the men's golf team from 1971-96.' Jarvis Hayes 'In just two short seasons, Jarvis Hayes left quite a legacy at UGA.Not only was he an extraordinary leader on the court, his personable demeanor made him a favorite among the Bulldog Nation. A native of Atlanta, Hayes and his twin brother Jonas transferred to Georgia in 1999, having played at Western Carolina as freshmen.After sitting out the 2001 season, Jarvis took the SEC by storm as a sophomore.He averaged a league-best 18.6 points per game in 2002, earning SEC Player of the Year honors by The Sporting News, Basketball America and CNNSI. Hayes again led the Bulldogs offensively in 2002-03 while averaging 18.3 points per game and reached 1,000 career points in just 55 games, six games quicker than UGA's career scoring leader, Litterial Green. Hayes helped Georgia to a combined 41-18 record in his two seasons, with an NCAA Tournament berth in 2002. He joined Dominique Wilkins to become just the second Bulldog to earn consensus first-team All-SEC honors two times.He also owns the unique distinction of having won scoring titles in two separate leagues:the SEC in 2002 and the Southern Conference in 2000. Hayes was selected by the Washington Wizards with the No. 10 overall pick in the first round of the 2003 NBA Draft. He played seven seasons with Washington, Detroit and New Jersey, as well as two seasons internationally in Italy and Romania.Hayes also became a naturalized citizen of Qatar and played for the Qatari national team in 2013. Hayes returned to UGA and completed his degree in Housing in 2014.' Kevin Butler 'The Stone Mountain native stepped into some tall shoes when he arrived on campus in 1981.He was tasked with replacing one of the school's all-time great kickers, Rex Robinson, from a team that had just won the national championship. Butler proceeded to build a storied career for himself over the next four seasons, earning All-America honors twice (1983, '84) and All-SEC first-team honors three times (1981-83-84).He set a slew of school, SEC and NCAA records, several of which he still holds to this day.He kicked 11 career field goals over 50 yards, including three over 55 yards, and set an NCAA record with 27 multiple field-goal games.Early in his senior season, Butler was a key cog on Georgia teams that went 38-8-2 between 1981-84, won two SEC titles, and appeared in two Sugar Bowls, one Cotton Bowl, and one Citrus Bowl. Butler was selected by the Chicago Bears in the 1985 NFL draft. During his 11-year career in the Windy City he set 19 club records, including career points (1,116), career field goals (243), career extra points (387), and longest field goal (55 yards).In 1985, he set the team's rookie record with 144 points, and he kicked three field goals in the Bears' 46-10 victory over New England in Super Bowl XX.He finished his career with the Arizona Cardinals in 1996 and '97 after compiling 1,208 points, sixth most in NFL history among kickers. Some 34 years after he left UGA to turn professional, Butler returned to campus and completed his degree in Economics in 2018.' The post Georgia football kicking great Kevin Butler among 4 Circle of Honor selections appeared first on DawgNation.