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Georgia Bulldogs won, but historic 2017 game served as springboard for Notre Dame, too

Georgia Bulldogs won, but historic 2017 game served as springboard for Notre Dame, too

Georgia Bulldogs won, but historic 2017 game served as springboard for Notre Dame, too

Georgia Bulldogs won, but historic 2017 game served as springboard for Notre Dame, too

Georgia football-Notre Dame lost to Georgia but 2017 game was springboard for Irish too-Georgia Bulldogs-Notre Dame Fighting Irish

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Sept. 9, 2017, is a historic date for the Georgia Bulldogs. It represents the day they invaded Notre Dame Stadium with a red and black surge that they’re still talking about around here.

But while it was Georgia that came out on top in that game, 20-19, and advanced to the National Championshig, the Fighting Irish also count that day as a sort of crossroads in the program’s resurgence.

No. 24 Notre Dame (1-0) was coming off 4-8 record the previous season and there were calls for coach Brian Kelly’s job. The Bulldogs (1-0), at No. 15, were the higher-ranked team and offered more promise in Year 2 under Kirby Smart. But as only the second game of the year, nobody really knew yet what either team had. Both were carrying only lopsided, season-opening victories over over-matched opponents into the contest.

In the end, two incredible plays lifted Georgia to victory: A Houdini of a touchdown catch by sophomore receiver Terry Godwin and a fourth-quarter sack-and-strip by senior defensive end. A 30-yard field goal by Rodrigo Blankenship — placed on scholarship a day earlier — proved to be the difference.


“It was huge,” Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm said of getting that victory in what was his first career start. “Definitely up there as one of my special moments, being my first start, my first win, beating presitigious Notre Dame at their stadium. It’s incredible is what is was.”

Taking over for injured starter in the first quarter of the opener the previous week, the true freshman Fromm completed 16 of 29 passes for 141 yards and the 5-yard TD to Godwin. But he also lost a fumble and threw an interception. Georgia got 73 yards rushing and a TD from Sony Michel and 185 yards rushing overall and out-gained the Fighting Irish 326 to 265.

Afterward, the teams went their respective directions, but each team keeping the other in their rear-view mirrors. And with every passing victory — Georgia and Notre Dame both would reel of seven straight wins after that contest — came validation that it was two exceptional teams that did battle that warm night in South Bend.

Georgia would drop a game to Auburn, come back and avenge that loss in the SEC Championship Game, defeat Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl and finally fall in close and dramatic fashion to Alabama in the National Championship Game.

The Irish dropped late-season road games to Top 10 opponents Miami and Stanford. But they vanquished LSU in the Citrus Bowl. With a final record of 10-3 and most of the team coming back, everybody knew Notre Dame had been rebuilt and would be a force to be reckoned with in 2018.

The Irish were indeed. They went 12-0 in the regular season before falling to eventual national champion Clemson in the Cotton Bowl in the semifinals of College Football Playoff. And while it wasn’t the ending they wanted, Notre Dame felt it was back where it belonged on college football’s grandest stage.

Now comes the return game. On Sept. 21 this fall, the Fighting Irish will make their first-ever visit to Athens and Sanford Stadium. Early projections have the Bulldogs as prohibitive favorites as Notre Dame lost seeks to replace a lot of production off its 2018 team. But thanks to that 2017 game that served as a launching-pad moment for both programs and the recruiting that has been going on ever since, the rematch Between the Hedges is already considered one of the top non-conference games in the nation in 2019.

DawgNation talked with several current Fighting Irish players who competed against Georgia in that 2017 game. We asked for them to recount what they remembered from that historic night, what it meant to their season and their thoughts on this year’s rematch on Sept. 21 at Sanford Stadium.


Prominent recollection …


“Got my first snap ever in college football in that game. It was a quarterback draw; never will forget it. (Starting QB) Brandon (Wimbush) got some turf in his eye, so I had to go in.”

What it meant …

“We’re never going to forget that game. We felt like we should’ve won that game and, you know, we came up a little short. It still stings. That’s what we’ll remember and we’ll use that for fuel, definitely.”

 Aftermath …

“You can always find a positive out of something. We came out knowing they were a good team and obviously we didn’t come out on top that night. But to see what they did the rest of the year showed us that we were a good matchup for them.”

Progression since named starter …

“Just getting through all my reads, trusting everybody, building chemistry with everyone, receivers, running backs, O-line, just knowing exactly where everyone’s going to be at the right time, defensive recognition. Just working on that and film study every day.”

Visiting UGA in September …

“I’m really trying to stay in the present this whole spring, but it’s hard not to notice the schedule. We’re extremely excited for all the challenges we have coming. Obviously, everyone knows about Georgia. It’s going to be a great game. We’re all excited for it and it will be here quicker than you know.”


Memories …


“I just remember it was a high-intensity, high-emotion game. It was big for us to come out and make a statement that we could play with anybody and Georgia was a great test for us. They were a team we knew had been very successful over the years and we wanted to come out and make a statement against them and play together and show that we were progressing as well.”

Effects of loss …

“I think that game propelled us and showed that we could play with anybody if we played together and if we stuck to the traits our coaches give us and talk about every day. It was early in the year, so you have to take everything that happens then with a grain of salt. It was important to remember that it was early in the year and that we made some good plays and some bad plays but, at the end of the day, it was 20-19. You win or lose by one (point), you understand there were plays in the game that could’ve made it go the other way. When you looked at it that way, we understood that we had the pieces, that we just had to put it all together. That was huge for us.”

Georgia’s true freshman quarterback …

“We saw that (starting quarterback Jacob Eason got hurt), but we knew that, ‘man, both of these are good quarterbacks.’ So we prepared like (Fromm) was a four-year starter. He came in and was kind of calm and cool under pressure. He had some running backs who kind of took the pressure off of him in (Nick) Chubb and Sony (Michel). That was huge for us, too, because we were young in the back end. It was important for us (safeties) to come out and make a statement in that game as well. We embraced the challenge.”

On the Terry Godwin TD catch …

“Oh, man, I was running to it! I saw it. That was J-Love who was on him, (cornerback) Julian Love. He’s an All-American, a big-time guy. So that was just an unbelievable catch.

On having to go to Georgia this time …

“We’re circled on everybody’s schedule, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. That’s how we talk about it. We know we’re going to get people’s best and we’re going to give them our best, too. So we take it a week at a time. We don’t want to overlook anybody because we play such a tough schedule. Every game on our schedule means so much since we don’t have a conference championship. We’re an independent, so we never try to look too far ahead. But we love playing the Michigans and the Georgias and the Big Tens, but we know we have to lock into all those other games before we get to those points.

On rebuilding the defense …

“I think we have all the pieces there. It’s about us coming together and just working through the kinks of being younger and making sure we all do our jobs. If we all play 11 as one and do our job we’ll be all right.

Connections to Georgia …

“I have some cousins down there. And I was recruited by them, by Coach (Mark) Richt. They were in my Top 3. So I liked Georgia a lot.”

The chance to play in Sanford Stadium …

“It’s definitely going to be unbelievable. You saw when they came to Notre Dame that they like playing in games like this. We’re just thankful for the opportunity to come down there to Georgia and we expect them to give us their best. We can’t wait. I haven’t been there since I was recruited and I’ve never seen it full, so I’m ready. It should be fun.”


What he remembers …


“The first thing that pops into my mind about that game was a play on a third down on our second-to-last drive. It was thrown to me and I missed the ball and we had to punt. Yeah, that’s what I remember. We got the ball back and we ran the same play again and I caught it that time. But then we fumbled and turned the ball over and lost.

Score and situation …

“It was the fourth quarter, about three minutes left, we were down one. It was third-and-10. The ball came over the middle for me and I didn’t catch it.”

Attitude coming in and going out …

“We were coming off a bad year, but we’re never a team that thinks we don’t have what it takes. I think we were ranked 24th at the time and we were playing Georgia and we knew there was a lot to lose. But when you see them in the championship game, we thought back to our game and realized if we do a few different things we could have won the game. We felt pretty good about that but also kind of bad. We came up just short or that could’ve been us, things could have been different.”

This season …

“We’ve got some guys stepping into roles to fill the places of people who have left. We have a lot of guys coming back, too, but, particularly in the receiver room. We’ve got Miles (Boykin) leaving and Chase Claypool stepping into his role. We’ve got Mike Young stepping into a bigger role, too, and we have some younger guys kind of figuring out where there fit and making plays and trying to move into a role. We’re going to need more than a few guys to make some plays for us and the line’s looking good and Ian Book is looking good.”

On his quarterback …

“I think this spring has been really good for Ian. This has been the first spring he’s come in as the starter, even though he started playing last year. He’s the No. 1 guy now and knows he’s the number one guy and he’s been delivering balls with confidence and just playing really well all spring. I think having that weight lifted off his shoulders, when you’re No. 2 and have a two-quarterback situation going on, has helped him.”

Going ‘between the hedges’ first time …

“I’m sure it will be an exciting atmosphere. SEC games, especially when it’s a big opponent, you see their games on TV all the time and how everybody shows up and it’s a big stage and a big event all the time. So, it’s going to fun, I think. We’re trying not to look too far past anybody, but we know that will be a cool atmosphere to play in.”


2017 Georgia matchup …


“That was my sophomore year, second game starting. Theoretically, there’s no one game that’s bigger than the other. But that game had a particular buzz about it. It was a night game and it was like my first time starting against an SEC opponent. Obviously, growing up you know who Georgia is. Georgia, Bama, those types of teams you know. So it was an awesome opportunity to compete versus a team that historically is one of the best. So that was cool.”

Coming up short …

“We got to 9-1 that year, or 8-1, or whatever, and I remember that loss served as a blemish for us at the time. But it motivated a lot of us, too. Because, at the time, we were coming off a 4-8 season and that was a loss in our second game of the year. So we had a lot of doubters. But I remember being (8-1) and still kind of being overshadowed by that loss.

“I remember seeing a clip of Coach Kelly and somebody asked him if this had the same vibes as last year. I saw that bothered him, because we knew the work that we’d put in and we knew what kind of team we were going to be before that. So I remember from the outward perspective there being a sense of panic, but for us it really served as a motivation point and somewhat of crossroads. It was, like, ‘do we dwell on this or do we move on?’ We decided to impose our will. I think Drue (Tranquill) said it after the game, ‘our defense and our team is going to impose our will on opponents moving forward,’ and we did.”

Momentum from last season …

“These last two years, we’ve proven that what we do in the offseason, the attention to detail and the work ethic that our team developed and the culture that we established that year, that it works. So our guys take solace in that and they believe in that. It’s not so much who we’re playing – we often say that they’re faceless opponents – but we have to go out and do what we have to do and take care of ourselves. So we’re just staying true to our process. We’ve hit more this spring than we ever have, in my opinion. Scrimmages, half-lines, live periods, all that stuff, we’ve done a lot of it. It’s been a physical offseason, to say the least.”

Recollections of Fromm …

“I remember Chubb and Michel. That was more of the focal point for us. You stop Georgia’s run game then they’d have to put the ball in the freshman’s hands. That was a chance we were willing to take at that time. Like anything, you always have to stop the run. We know they’re going to come out, be physical, try to impose their will through their run game. That’s something we know we have to do. Once we establish that our defense isn’t going to get ran through, then we’re going to unleash our pass-rushers and get to the quarterback. We want to keep him from being comfortable and that’s something we pride ourselves on being able to do. We’re always the tip of the spear for our defense.”

Playing at Sanford …

“I’m excited. I’ve never been down there. I don’t think I’ve been to the state of Georgia since I was, like, 8. So it’ll be cool to go back. I know it’ll be hot. I know we’re going to have our work cut out for us.”


Build-up for 2017 game …


“That was my second season and my first year starting. We were coming off a 4-8 year and everyone was pretty disappointed. It was kind of sad all around, really. That winter, Coach (Matt) Baylis came in (as strength coach). Coach Kelly kind of cleared a little house on his staff and we were all juiced up. The entire season, Georgia was circled. I mean, we played Temple first and obviously you can’t overlook opponents, but Georgia was going to be the game, a big-time SEC school in Notre Dame Stadium. It was a first time we had a team coming in from that far South. It was just a big deal, so we were really focused on that, watching Georgia film all year.”

Atmosphere in South Bend …

“That game, it was weird how it worked out. I don’t know if there was a hurricane down there or what, but it brought up a ton of Georgia fans. The stadium was half full of them. Notre Dame Stadium is never like that. Usually you might see a little bit of red in the top-left corner or something. But it was maybe half-and-half that night. That was pretty neat actually. …

“I think one of the coolest things when they came here was the lights thing in the third quarter or whenever it was. That was one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had playing football, and it wasn’t even our tradition! It was cool to see, and our fans picked up on it, too. No one really knew what was going on.”

The aftermath …

“It was a one-point loss, which was pretty frustrating for us being the second game. But as the season went on, we started to pick up a lot of momentum and win games and we saw Georgia picking up momentum and becoming one of the top teams in the country. So you started to realize, based off that game, a one-point game that could have gone either way, that gave us a little bit of fire to finish the year strong.”

On the rematch ….

“Every year we play some of the top teams in the country. It’s always cool whenever we can play a big-time SEC team on the road like Georgia. We know it’s a great program. We missed (the playoffs in 2017) and last year we made it and they didn’t. So this year could be deciding who gets in and who doesn’t, like every game does every year, really. I know it’s going to be a really exciting game in a really exciting atmosphere.”

His Georgia connections …

“I have a couple of buddies on the team, Isaac Nauta and Ben Cleveland and Jacob Eason. I know them from the Army game. We’ve kind of kept contact over the years. Really, Ben and I are pretty close. He’s one of the biggest human beings I’ve ever met.

On playing in Sanford Stadium …

“We’re all just really ready to get the season started. Our first game is against Louisville, so we’re really getting ready for that. But we know Georgia will be a special one. I’ve heard some cool things about Sanford Stadium, that it’s a really cool atmosphere. It’s two really great programs, so it should be a fun game.”

What Dawgs should expect …

“I think we’re going to be a very explosive offense this year. We know the whole line is coming back. We have one new starter in there, but he’s probably doing better than any of us. Ian’s throwing the ball around well, our receivers are making awesome plays, our running backs are running hard and I think it’s got the makings to be a really special offense this year. So I’m excited about what we can do and hopefully we can roll with it through the season.”

The post Georgia Bulldogs won, but historic 2017 game served as springboard for Notre Dame, too appeared first on DawgNation.

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Local News

  • On the afternoon of May 28, University of Georgia President Jere Morehead announced that the school will begin gradually reopening in three phases. The reopening will begin on June 15. Below is the email sent to faculty and staff: Throughout the University of Georgia’s response to the COVID‑19 pandemic, we have remained focused on the health and safety of our faculty, staff, and students. This commitment has never wavered, and it remains a guiding tenet as we prepare to enact a carefully planned and measured reopening of our campuses. The gradual reopening will occur over three phases and will commence on Monday, June 15. UGA’s preliminary plan has been developed over the past month, as nine working groups have researched and developed recommendations which have now been submitted to the University System of Georgia (USG) for approval. These recommendations comply with Executive Orders and directives from the Governor’s Office, and reflect guidance from the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as the USG. Phase 1, beginning on June 15, applies primarily to essential staff and supervisors, and their presence on campus should continue to be limited in accordance with guidance from the GDPH for social distancing and control of group sizes. A staggered or rotating weekly schedule is still recommended, and the continuing use of teleworking in conjunction with on-campus work remains appropriate, encouraged, and preferred to achieve social distancing. The primary task of those returning in Phase 1 will be to prepare our campuses for the continued safe return of even more members of the University community in Phase 2, ultimately culminating in the full Phase 3 return of faculty, staff, and students in August for the Fall Semester. We will soon launch a comprehensive educational campaign to ensure that all members of the community are aware of the many safety precautions being taken by the University, are knowledgeable of the resources available to them, and understand their own responsibility as individuals to abide by the guidelines issued by the GDPH, CDC, USG, and UGA to contain the spread of the COVID‑19 coronavirus. Each and every one of us will have a critical role to play as we work together to protect the health and safety of every member of the Bulldog Nation. It will be up to vice presidents, deans, department heads, and directors to determine over the next two weeks those supervisors (including administrative faculty) who should return to campus in order to ensure the work environment they oversee and manage is compliant with health and safety guidelines. Those faculty and staff previously defined as essential and who have been working on campus during the period of reduced operations should continue to do so. In addition, staff members who perform mission critical/time-sensitive functions, as determined by their supervisor, and who need to work onsite also can return. Staff members who need to support supervisors or personnel with mission critical/time-sensitive work also can return to campus. Please note that no employee should return to campus until they are notified by their unit that they can do so. UGA’s health and medical experts have played a key role in the development of our plans, and they will continue to take a leadership role as our plans are continually adapted in response to the evolving COVID‑19 pandemic. In particular, Dr. Marsha Davis, Dean of the College of Public Health; Dr. Lisa Nolan, Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine; Dr. Shelley Nuss, Campus Dean of the AU/UGA Medical Partnership; and Dr. Garth Russo, Executive Director of the University Health Center, are helping to refine protocols for screening, monitoring, notification, and isolation; coordinate plans for contact tracing with the GDPH; and explore options for COVID‑19 testing. The diligent efforts of all of our working group members and chairs to develop plans for our safe return to campus in a gradual, phased manner are greatly appreciated. We are also grateful for the hundreds of University employees who continue to keep essential operations running and work to clean, disinfect, and prepare our campuses. Their work includes the use of enhanced disinfection techniques and more frequent cleaning of commonly touched surfaces. These efforts will help all of us to feel safe and reassured upon our return to campus. We appreciate your continued efforts to adapt to the ever-changing and uncertain conditions of the pandemic. We are doing everything within our power to maintain a healthy and safe environment for all of us to live, work, and learn. Your ongoing support and cooperation will be essential for our efforts to succeed.
  • The Clarke County School District schedules five hearings on the District’s proposed budget, which will be funded by a millage rate that is expected to remain unchanged. The Clarke County School Board has given tentative approval to a $164 million school district spending plan. Hearings will be held on June 9 and June 16. Budget adoption is scheduled for June 25.  From the Clarke Co School District website... The Clarke County Board of Education gave tentative approval to the fiscal year 2021 budget of $164,080,447 on May 21, 2020, based on the continuance of the tentative millage rate of 20 mills. Due to the district’s millage rate being higher than the rollback rate (the rate that would be used to produce the same amount of taxes collected last year), the hearing schedule is detailed below, as required by state law. There is an expected increase of 5.47 percent for property taxes levied in 2020. While the millage rate for the school district is to remain at the tentative 20 mills, this estimate would, in effect, increase overall collection by 1.086 mills. All meetings will be held using video conferencing through the website http://www.zoom.us (see meeting IDs and passwords below). Written comments can be emailed to palmerli@clarke.k12.ga.us prior to the meetings. These meetings can also be accessed by calling 646-876-9923 and using the meeting IDs provided for the respective time. Each year, the assessed value for the taxable property in Athens-Clarke County is recalculated, and the board of tax assessors is required by law to reassess values based on fair market value. The proposed tax increase for a home with a fair market value of $225,000 is approximately $86.88, and the proposed tax increase for non-homestead property with a fair market value of $250,000 is approximately $108.60. The Board of Education is scheduled to give final approval to the proposed budget and millage rate at a called board meeting on June 25, 2020, at 6 p.m. 
  • The University of North Georgia has reached what it says is a major construction milestone with the completion of work on domes that will shelter two new telescopes at North Georgia Astronomical Observatory. 'This is a major milestone because the facility looks and feels like a professional observatory,' said Adam Strzemienski, assistant director of facilities for capital planning and sustainability. 'This building will accomplish the instructional, research and community education goals of the project.' The installation indicated construction on the new state-of-the-art facility is near an end. The project is set to be complete in late July .
  • We’re letting you know that Thursday will be another rainy day but the chance for scattered storms is going up. Severe Weather Team 2 has been tracking the rain throughout the week on Channel 2 Action News. And more is coming today. We’re tracking the wet weather LIVE throughout the morning on Channel 2 Action News This Morning Severe Weather Team 2 Meteorologist Brian Monahan said that an upper level low is continuing to spin to our west, and this will spread more rain and scattered storms to north Georgia. [DOWNLOAD: Severe Weather Team 2 Weather App for storm alerts in your neighborhood] Here’s what you need to know: Rain will continue throughout the morning. Chance increases for an scattered storms in the afternoon. Storms could produce periods of heavy rain, lightning and hail.
  • The Hall County Sheriff’s Office says it is still looking for the cause of death for a woman whose body was found in a mobile home that burned last fall: Brenda Autry was 59 years old. A blaze burned her house trailer in Hall County last October 1. The state Fire Marshal’s Office says there is still no determination on what started the fire.  From the AJC, October 1 2019… A woman was killed early Tuesday when a mobile home caught on fire in Hall County, authorities said. Firefighters responded to the 2500 block of Lee Land Road shortly after 1 a.m., Hall County fire spokesman Zach Brackett said. They discovered a single-wide trailer engulfed in flames. The fire was extinguished by about 6 a.m., but 59-year-old Brenda Autry was found dead inside, Brackett said.  The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS Georgia redshirt freshman D'Wan Mathis has received clearance to take part in games after undergoing an MRI one year after his emergency brain surgery. A source with knowledge of the situation confirmed the positive results of the MRI on Thursday. Mathis had been cleared to go through practices since last November, and Smart said indicated he would be a full participant in spring football drills before the COVID-19 pandemic suspended all collegiate sports activity on March 12. RELATED: Mind Game, how UGA's D'Wan Mathis is overcoming brain surgery UGA does not typically tackle its quarterbacks to the ground in practices. The Bulldogs go full speed and 'thud,' players wrapped up without being taken to the ground to avoid injuries. The 6-foot-6, 205-pound Mathis was rushed to Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital last May after the UGA medical staff, led by director of sports medicine Ron Courson, diagnosed his symptoms as life threatening. 'The honest truth, waking up in a hospital bed, and seeing my parents, and seeing how my head looked and everything, man, it was humbling,' Mathis, whose skull surgery involved a metal plate secured by screws, said following the Sugar Bowl. 'I was like, wow you are so blessed, be thankful that you are still here.' Terence Mathis, D'Wan's father, stated simply that 'Georgia saved my son's life.' The comeback D'Wan was in the ICU unit for days following the surgery and lost more than 20 pounds after his skull was cut open to remove the life-threatening cyst. It took months for him to gain back his weight and strength but Mathis was determined to return to practice. By November and into the bowl season, Mathis was working out with a modified helmet and running the scout team, earning the praise and confidence of Georgia coach Kirby Smart throughout the offseason. 'D'Wan's been scout-team quarterback the last couple of weeks now and has done a tremendous job,' Smart said last November. 'He helped with the Bo Nix scout team stuff. He's able to simulate some of these guys we've played, so that has been a big bonus for us.' Smart indicated during a virtual G-Day Game telecast last month that Wake Forest graduate transfer Jamie Newman had not yet clinched the starting job. RELATED: Kirby says we don't really know what we have at QB' ' You evaluate our quarterbacks, and you look at it and you say I've got a guy who had a major surgery, I got a guy that just came out of high school, I've got a guy that's been a No. 2 last year, Stetson, and then I have a transfer from Wake that we don't know a lot about, as far as in our system,' Smart said. 'So we have a lot of unknowns at that position.' QB competition Smart's assessment of the QB competition wasn't much different on Thursday, just hours before USC transfer J.T. Daniels announced his commitment to Georgia. 'W e don't even know the threshold or the capacity of some of our players,' Smart said. 'We did not get to go through spring ball with necessarily some of the positions, especially on offense, of guys to see what they can handle.' RELATED: Smart says there's going to be a good QB competition' More than once source close to the team told DawgNation that Mathis was throwing the ball equally well if not better than Newman in the team's voluntary workouts outside of the supervised winter conditioning. Mathis ran the 100-yard dash in 10.8 seconds in high school and his running skills and athleticism were on display in the 2018 G-Day Game Mathis was 15-of-28 passing for 113 yards in the game and caught a double-reverse pass from Matt Landers for a 39-yard touchdown. D'Wan, he's explosive,' Jake Fromm said of his former understudy. 'I think he converted three or four first downs in a row with his legs. 'The guy can run the ball, he can throw it 70 yards, he's going to be a great player.' Investing in Georgia Mathis made his commitment to Georgia quarterbacking duties clear when he chose to stay in Athens after on-campus activity was suspended. Mathis applied for and was granted a special exemption. It provided insight into the trust he has built with Courson and the UGA medical staff, and his comfort in living in Athens. 'D'Wan came back on spring break and told me he loves where he is from, but that he needed to go back to Georgia,' Terence Mathis said in a March 28 interview. 'Georgia could have given up on my son, but instead, Kirby and his staff have treated D'Wan as though he was their own son. They've used every possible resource to stay behind him and keep him engaged with the team after saving his life.' But now Daniels is in play, and there are suspicious the UGA quarterback room may have reached its tipping point. If Daniels receives a waiver for immediate eligibility its hard to imagine four quarterbacks getting repetitions as Georgia competes for a national championship this season. Freshman Carson Beck is also expected to be in the mix, along with redshirt junior Stetson Bennett. Mathis was Ohio State's quarterback of choice in the 2019 signing class before Justin Fields jolted Georgia by transferring from the Bulldogs' program following his freshman season. RELATED: D'Wan Mathis shares signing day story, Ohio State denied interest in Justin Fields Mathis determined the Buckeyes were not being forthcoming in December of 2018 when they said they were not recruiting Fields, and he chose to trust in Georgia, signing and enrolling in January of 2019. It remains to be seen how Mathis' future will play out, but the Oak Park, Mich., product is once again healthy and ready to compete full-go on the football field. The post Georgia quarterback D'Wan Mathis fully cleared for game action after MRI appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS USC quarterback JT Daniels announced on his Twitter account on Thursday he has committed to play football at Georgia. THANK YOU USC Excited for the future #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/ewfhBG3ved JT Daniels (@jtdaniels06) May 28, 2020 Daniels, a redshirt sophomore, has been in the transfer portal since April 16 and will need to be granted a waiver if he is to have immediate eligibility with the Bulldogs. Georgia football enters the 2020 season with a championship caliber defense but plenty of questions on offense with the departure of three-year starter Jake Fromm, 1,000-yard rusher D'Andre Swift and three starting offensive linemen. Daniels entered last season as the Trojans starting quarterback before suffering a torn ACL in the opening game against Fresno State after opening the contest 25-of-34 passing for 215 yards with a TD and an interception. In a manner similar to how Fromm replaced Jacob Eason in 2017, freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis replaced him and ran away with the job, earning FWAA Freshman All-American honors. Many felt Daniels might return to USC after the NCAA shelved the one-time transfer proposal last week, but the former 6-foot-3, 210-pounder out of Mater Dei High School has apparent chosen a route that will take him through Athens. Smart indicated on Thursday that he's still not settled on the Georgia offense, even with Wake Forest graduate transfer Jamie Newman in the program since January. 'We don't even know the threshold of some of our players,' Smart said on Thursday. 'We didn't get to go through spring ball with some of the positions to see what they can handle.' The Bulldogs figure to find out sooner than later, with players returning to campus to start voluntary workouts on June 8, and football activity expected to start in mid-July. The post BREAKING: Georgia football gets commitment from USC transfer quarterback JT Daniels appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia football coach Kirby Smart provided a detailed look into the new normal for college football on Thursday. The Bulldogs' fifth-year head coach explained how things are going to be 'a lot different' for Georgia players from the time they return to campus on account of the COVID-19 pandemic that has put sports on hold dating back to March 12. The Bulldogs will arrive back on campus at the start of June after the SEC approved a June 8 start date for voluntary workouts. RELATED: 3 things to look for, what's next for college football after return 'We're going to bring them back prior to June 8 so they can get a medical workup,' Smart said, referring to the UGA protocol put in place by director of sports medicine Ron Courson. 'They've got to have an extensive physical, they've got to have COVID tests.' Some players, Smart said, could be screened and tested before they arrive back on campus. The big what if?' Smart acknowledged Georgia obviously has to be prepared in the event a player, or players, test positive for COVID-19 after arriving back on the UGA campus. 'Each guy will have the option of if they want to go back home if they test positive, or we have a quarantine policy that we're able to put guys into should they test positive,' Smart said on the Zoom call. 'We've also got the ability if it happens during a workout period that we'll have contact tracing. Guys that have worked out together, those groups will stay the same, and we'll be aware of those guys.' Smart said players will be educated throughout the resocialization period. 'It's not going to be the normal, where I walk in, and I go to my locker, and I can workout, and then I shower it's going to be completely different,' Smart said, referring to state guidelines that mandate social distancing and restrictions on group gatherings. New normal Georgia football players will notice immediately things have changed drastically since their winter workout sessions concluded. 'They will come in and do a light workout initially, because we want to bring them back slowly,' Smart said. 'They will work out in smaller groups. Twentyor so guys to a group. Then, of the 20 that come in, they'll be subdivided into groups of seven. 'So you're looking at a 7-person rotation in a 12,000 square foot weight room and they will be spaced out.' Smart said a cleaning crew come through after each group session of players. The areas from the indoor football facility and into the weight room will be scoured and disinfected. 'There will be one door in, one door out,' Smart said. 'And we won't be using the locker room.' The Georgia coaching staff has been working in Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall on a rotational basis the past few weeks. 'There's less time in the office, and we've been alternating how many guys are in the office, with offense and defense separated,' Smart said. 'There's a lot of protocol there that's been instituted from our university for a safety standpoint. There has been cleaning crews after and before we're in here.' Safety trumps finances Smart debunked any notion that student-athletes are being brought back on campus prematurely on account of financial pressures. 'I certainly think that fiscally and financially it's going to benefit if there is a football season, but that has nothing to do with the decisions that go into it medically,' Smart said. RELATED: SEC task force provides blue print for safe return to campus 'A lot of people have said, Well, the SEC has had to come back really strong with comeback dates and return to sports, and they've had this protocol to allow us to play football,' he said. 'But every decision that's made at the SEC level, I can assure you, is made by infectious disease people. It's based on information about the safety and well-being of the student-athletes.' Smart said parents and players feel the workout environments UGA can provide are safer than those in the athletes' hometowns. 'Wherever it is they are working out, at a local local high school or a local gym that has opened back up is that environment is any more safe than one that is professionally cleaned, monitored and taken care of by our staff?' he said. 'Most of the kids we talked to, they are more comfortable saying, If I'm going to workout, than I'm gong to do it there.' Smart made it clear his staff will see to it that the Georgia players come into the workouts with both eyes wide open. 'I promise you there's some of our players don't feel vulnerable, they feel like they're not vulnerable because of what they have heard, or because they think they have super powers,' Smart said. 'So we're going to educate our guys to be safe and make good decisions and we're going to have education sessions even when they get back to give us the best opportunity to have a season.' DawgNation College Football Offseason SEC presidents make it official, looking ahead to June 8 return RELATED: 5 keys, NCAA vote on Wednesday includes pivotal provisions College football return takes turn out West NCAA president Mark Emmert discusses issues with return to campus Les Miles says college football set for return, expert says no fans in stands Return of college football critical to fans' psyche, pocketbooks UGA president Jere Morehead employs 9 research groups for optimal return NCAA advances ball on name, image, likeness player compensation States opening equates to flickering light for college football return Greg Sankey hasn't ruled out a CFB season without all conferences Three keys amid college football return process, from Greg Sankey NCAA board of governors unanimously approves NIL compensation The post Kirby Smart: Georgia football workouts new normal completely different' than pre-COVID19 appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS P.J. Horne wasn't looking for promises from Tom Crean when he spoke with him about transferring into the Georgia basketball program. 'We just talked about me coming in and having an opportunity to compete,' Horne, a graduate transfer from Virginia Tech, told DawgNation. 'Right now, I just want to play the game and compete.' The 6-foot-6, 225-pound Horne played post for a Hokies' team that went 16-16 last season. RELATED: How Tom Crean is building another winner at Georgia It's likely UGA will look to Horne to help guard the rim and rebound after junior Rayshaun Hammonds opted to declare himself eligible for the NBA draft. Hammonds was Georgia's leading rebounder with 7.4 per game and second-leading scorer with 12.9 points per outing. Hammonds and Horne faced off in a 2017 Georgia High School State Championship Game in addition to playing AAU basketball together. Horne sheepishly said his Tift County team beat Hammonds' Norcross squad, 'but neither of us played real well in that game.' Rome (Ga.) High School principal Eric Holland, who coached Horne at Tift County, explained why Georgia basketball fans should be excited. 'P.J. is a kid of very few words and a lot of action, you'll see that,' Holland said. 'It's the invisible things that make people great. It's his work ethic, his leadership, the way he treats people, the way he communicates, and he's just the consummate teammate 'It seemed like every coach was calling me about him, we had at least 40 calls.' Horne averaged 7.6 points and 4.2 rebounds per game for the Hokies last season. He also ranked second on his team with 21 blocked shots. Georgia brings back 6-8, 220-pound sophomore Toumani Camara, who averaged 6.6 points and 4.3 rebounds last season, improving as his freshman season progressed. But the Bulldogs have little else in the way of rebounders or rim protectors at this time. Holland said it doesn't matter where Crean wants Horne to play. 'P.J. is very flexible,' Holland said. 'He's adaptable, he doesn't complain about anything.' Horne, whose transfer was triggered by a desire to be closer to home amid the coronavirus pandemic, said he watched film on Georgia before finalizing his decision to play for the Bulldogs. 'I saw a young team that has room for growth and has a lot of talent,' Horne said. 'It's a team that has a lot of guys that can do different things on the floor.' Crean, entering this third year as the Georgia basketball coach, has explained that is by design. 'We want to get this team to the point where you have to guard all five guys past the 3-point line, and if you're not guarding one of them, it's because you can't guard him inside,' Crean said. 'For us to win in this league, there's a lot of different ways, but you've got to stop people on one end, you can't give up easy baskets with your turnovers, and you have to have the combination of getting layups, getting fouled and getting 3-point shots.' Horne improved his shooting range last season. After making 1-of-4 attempts his sophomore season, Horne was 45-of-129 (.349) last season. That would have ranked second on the UGA team among players that attempted more than 20 threes, Hammonds setting the bar at 35 percent on 36-of-103 shooting beyond the 3-point arc. Georgia ranked 322nd out of 350 Division I teams in the nation in 3-point shooting percentage as a team an even 30 percent. Only Missouri and Texas A&M were worse in the SEC. But with a new batch of players coming in Georgia will sign at least six and maybe seven Crean will surely be hoping his team's fortunes will change. Crean's Indiana teams had the best 3-point shooting percent among major college teams during his 10 years leading the Hoosiers. Horne said he likes what he sees coming back on the team. 'They have competitive players,' Horne said. 'I look at it as a huge opportunity. I feel like we have a good chance of competing in the SEC and getting to the NCAA tournament.' Georgia coach Tom Crean DawgNation Georgia basketball WATCH: Tom Crean opens up, tells all on UGA basketball Bulldogs upset Ole Miss in SEC tourney opener Anthony Edwards takes over final minute, UGA topples Arkansas WATCH: Georgia celebrates like crazy after Vandy win Bulldogs score resounding win over No. 13 Auburn UGA snaps four-game losing streak with Texas A&M win Perplexing loss for Georgia basketball at Missouri Georgia comes up short in hard-fought loss at Kentucky Sahvir Wheeler on clutch game-winner, 'been there a ton of times' Anthony Edwards lights up Michigan State for 37 in 93-85 loss The post Transfer center P.J. Horne has NCAA tourney goals for Georgia basketball appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Marquis Groves-Killebrew told DawgNation earlier that this month that he felt like he was a No. 1 priority for the 2022 class for the Georgia Bulldogs. That now seems very fitting. Groves-Killebrew committed to Georgia on Wednesday evening. It means that the former No. 1 priority is now the No. 1 commitment for UGA in the 2022 recruiting cycle. The impressive rising junior cornerback is now at Brookwood High School. The 6-foot, 180-pound cornerback already ranks as the nation's No. 10 CB and the No. 64 overall prospect for the 2022 cycle on 247Sports. It has been a busy month for the Kentucky native when it comes to commitments. Groves-Killebrew also committed to play in the 2022 All-American Bowl out in Texas earlier this week. Blessed to be invited and 100% COMMITTED to the 2022 All American Bowl ! /// @Mansell247 @ErikRichardsUSA @rlacey23 @tballardqbcoach @TWithJay pic.twitter.com/1cuQIY27DA Marquis Groves-Killebrew (@qfromtheville) May 21, 2020 Want to get quickly up to speed on the newest Georgia commit? Here you go: He will list the following members of his family as current or former professional football players. NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith (he is a cousin on his father's side) Former Texas LB Robert Killebrew (his uncle won a national title with the Longhorns) NFL WR DeVante Parker (the former first-round pick is a cousin on his mother's side) 'I've got a whole bunch of athletes in my family,' he said. Georgia offered him back in November. WOW!! After a great conversation with @CoachCwarren I'm blessed to receive a offer from the University of Georgia ! #GoDawgs @KirbySmartUGA @CarterRamsFB @coach_SB21 @Coach_FredM @tballardqbcoach @TWithJay pic.twitter.com/5qLx61RWKO Marquis Groves-Killebrew (@qfromtheville) November 9, 2019 Charlton Warren has been the primary recruiter for the Bulldogs. 'I'm the number one priority for them in Georgia to keep me in the state for my class,' Groves-Killebrew told DawgNation earlier this month. Noted Atlanta-area DB trainer Justin Miller has been working with him since he was in the eighth grade. Miller was a second-round draft pick by the New York Jets back in 2005. 'I think he has all the attributes to be an elite CB for a very long time,' Miller said. The main thing Miller stressed was how much the young Grayson High Ram likes to compete. 'A mindset of win-at-all-costs and always up for the challenge of covering the best WR,' Miller said. Check out some of his reel from his sophomore season in 2019. Big on big @_UnderTheRadar_ pic.twitter.com/hFTxvB7nM1 Marquis Groves-Killebrew (@qfromtheville) September 14, 2019 Special talent @qfromtheville 1% #SFSP pic.twitter.com/whKXog7m4C Oliver Davis II (@I_Am_OD3) April 11, 2020 Georgia adds Groves-Killebrew to the board over competition from Clemson, LSU, Oregon, Tennessee and a strong home state tie to the Kentucky Wildcats. 'The recruiters see me as somebody they can move all over the secondary,' Groves-Killebrew said. 'Mainly as a guy who can play everywhere.' What does he like best about the Bulldogs right now? 'I would say the atmosphere really,' Groves-Killebrew said. 'Everything really. I really love Georgia for real. That's one of my top schools.' Georgia offered him after a game last season. 'They offered me like a week after I played Marietta High School,' Groves-Killebrew said. 'I played against Marietta and I gave up zero catches. Do you know Arik Gilbert? I guarded him the whole game and I gave up zero catches against him that night.' That impressed Georgia. As it should. It looks like the Bulldogs can still pull an elite recruit out of Gwinnett County after all. Groves-Killebrew recently transferred to Brookwood from Grayson High School. 'I like the location there with Georgia,' he said earlier this month. 'It is right up the street for me. I live on Athens Highway. So Georgia is right there for me.' DAWGNATION RECRUITING (the recent reads on DawgNation.com) Who is Chaz Chambliss? Carrollton staff shares the goods on the new Bulldog commit BREAKING: Chaz Chambliss commits to Georgia football Taking a deep dive at how well Georgia has been recruiting Metro Atlanta of late Elite 2022 defensive athlete Daniel Martin already has a 'family' feel at UGA HEDGES: The rival national programs between UGA and another No. 1 class Brock Bowers: Nation's No. 3 TE knows what he needs to do before his college decision De'Jahn Warren: The 'nugget' for the nation's No. 1 JUCO prospect with UGA Elite cornerback Marquise Groves-Killebrew is a 'No. 1 priority' for 2022 Decrypting that recent tweet from 5-star LB Smael Mondon Jr. Prince Kollie: The ILB target who had 1,085 yards as a receiver in 2019 Lovasea Carroll: DawgNation goes one-on-one with the 2021 RB commit Dylan Fairchild: Elite O-line target includes UGA among his top six schools What exactly are these virtual recruiting visits like right now? The post BREAKING: Georgia football adds an anchor 2022 commit in CB Marquis Groves-Killebrew appeared first on DawgNation.