Apr 15, 2023; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart on the field  during the Georgia Spring Game at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Smart: Bulldogs haven’t cured traffic violations issue

Georgia football coach Kirby Smart admitted that he has yet to sufficiently address a widespread problem his problem has had with unsafe driving.

Eleven Georgia football players have been cited with some form of moving violation since Jan. 15, the night offensive lineman Devin Willock and recruiting staff member Chandler LeCroy died in a car wreck allegedly caused by street racing.

“I’ll be the first to admit we haven’t solved that issue or problem,” Smart said at a press conference Tuesday. “I don’t honestly know that anybody has, but certainly for us, it’s important to acknowledge it first. We’ve had a lot of intervention in terms of talking and visiting, and discipline measures have been implemented in terms of education. We’ll continue to do that.”

The most recent player cited by police was freshman outside linebacker Samuel M’Pemba, who was caught driving 88 mpg in a 55 mph zone, sheriff’s records showed.

Wide receiver Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint pleaded guilty to driving 90 in a 45 mph zone this spring.

“It’s not necessarily just the volume of the speeding tickets, it’s the speed of the speeding tickets,” Smart said. “And that’s a bigger concern to me — the speed of the speeding tickets. Because high speeds, according to the Georgia State Patrol, which talked to our team, is where you get bigger accidents. That’s the biggest concern we have in regard to that.”

Smart said the staff has handed out internal discipline to players who’ve received speeding tickets, attempted to educate them about safe driving and urged them via text to drive safely over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

“I wish that we could prevent speeding issues and learn from a horrific and tragic event,” Smart said. “I’m still wrestling with that, and we talk about it as a staff and all the things we can do. We’ve got issues with traffic citations and speeding issues that we have to improve on. We have to get better at those, and I’m constantly looking and searching for that.”

The coach added that some players at the two-time defending national champion program have been able to buy new, faster cars with money earned through NIL deals.

The highest-profile case was the crash that took the lives of Willock and LeCroy and also involved first-round draft pick Jalen Carter. Police have alleged that LeCroy’s SUV was racing Carter’s vehicle and that she was traveling more than 100 mph when it slammed into power poles and trees.

LeCroy had a blood alcohol concentration of .197 percent, police said.

Carter, now with the Philadelphia Eagles, left the NFL scouting combine to turn himself in to police in March and pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing.

–Field Level Media

Jan 8, 2023; Los Angeles, CA, USA; A Georgia Bulldogs helmet at the 2023 CFP National Championship head coaches press conference at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia LB ticketed for driving 88 in 55 mph zone

Georgia linebacker Samuel M’Pemba is the latest member of the team to run into trouble behind the wheel.

Police ticketed the freshman for driving 88 mph in a 55-mph zone on Wednesday morning, according to the Oconee (Ga.) County Sheriff’s Office.

The incident occurred the same day Bulldogs receiver Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint pleaded guilty in an Athens, Ga., courtroom to driving 90 in a 45 mph zone on May 23.

ESPN reported last month that Georgia football players have been involved in “at least 10” reports of moving violations in the Athens area since Jan. 15, the date when offensive lineman Devin Willock and football staff member Chandler LeCroy died in a reckless driving incident hours after celebrating the team’s second straight national championship.

Police alleged that former Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter, a rookie with the Philadelphia Eagles, was racing the SUV driven by LeCroy at high speeds before the vehicle ran off the road and struck power poles and trees.

The UGA Athletic Association issued a statement to ESPN in June about the rash of incidents.

“The Athletic Association recognizes the severity of reckless driving and is actively addressing recent incidents with educational measures, mentorship, and when necessary, punitive action. Baseless reports that suggest we tolerate this behavior are categorically false. Our coaches and administrators are deeply disappointed by the persistence of reckless driving and other misbehavior.”

M’Pemba, a four-star recruit who played at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., was stopped by police at 10:31 a.m. ET on Wednesday.

–Field Level Media

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart speaks with the black team during the UGA G-Day spring football game at Sanford Stadium in Athens on Saturday.

News Joshua L Jones

Georgia earns commitment from four-star DL Jordan Thomas

Jordan Thomas, a four-star defensive lineman in the Class of 2024, committed to two-time defending national champion Georgia on Tuesday.

Thomas is ranked No. 105 overall in his class and the No. 13 defensive lineman, per the 247Sports composite rankings. He is the top-ranked player from New Jersey entering his senior year at football power Don Bosco Prep.

Thomas chose the Bulldogs over finalists Florida, Rutgers and Tennessee.

“The thing that stood out about them is how the coaches hold their players to a high standard,” Thomas told On3 Sports regarding Kirby Smart and his staff. “They are great and I’m really close with them.”

The 6-foot-6, 315-pounder will head to a Georgia program that has churned out NFL players, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The Bulldogs had five defensive players drafted in 2023, eight in 2022 and six in 2021.

–Field Level Media

Apr 16, 2022; Athens, Georgia, USA; Georgia Bulldogs wide receiver De   Nylon Morrissette (23) tries to make a catch against defensive back Daylen Everette (6) during the Georgia Bulldogs Spring Game at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia WR De’Nylon Morrissette arrested on multiple charges

Georgia wide receiver De’Nylon Morrissette is facing multiple charges, including driving under the influence of drugs, after his arrest early Monday.

A sophomore from Stone Mountain, Ga., Morrisette also was charged with misdemeanors for driving too fast for conditions, driving after curfew (Class D license) and following too closely.

Morrissette was driving a 2019 Dodge Charger at about 3:30 a.m ET. Monday, when he crashed into the rear of a 2022 Subaru Outback on Highway 316 in Watkinsville, Ga., according to a report from the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office obtained Wednesday by the Athens Banner-Herald.

The 50-year-old female driving the Outback was treated for unspecified injuries, according to the accident report.

The Banner-Herald reported that police responded to the accident and smelled the “strong odor” of green marijuana at the car. Morrissette had red bloodshot eyes and had “a greenish film on his tongue,” according to the police report, and that when Morrissette got out of his car, he had a black digital scale.

Morrissette agreed to give a blood sample and was taken into custody for suspicion of DUI (a misdemeanor) and taken to a hospital to give the sample.

Morrissette was also “suspected at fault,” according to the accident report. He was released on bonds totaling $1,721 on Monday.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Georgia athletics department had not commented about the arrest.

Morrissette played in 11 games as a reserve last season and made four receptions for 34 yards. The true freshman missed four of the team’s final five games due to what head coach Kirby Smart called a hamstring and knee injury.

–Field Level Media

Jan 9, 2023; Inglewood, CA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Nolan Smith (4) celebrates after defeating the TCU Horned Frogs during the CFP national championship game at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia won’t visit White House; suggested date ‘not feasible’

The national champion Georgia football team declined an invitation to visit President Joe Biden at the White House.

In a statement Tuesday, an unnamed athletics department spokesman said the White House offered to host the team for a visit on June 12.

“Unfortunately, the date suggested is not feasible given the student-athlete calendar and time of year,” the statement said. “However, we are appreciative of the invitation and look forward to other opportunities for Georgia teams moving forward.”

Georgia won the national title for the 2021 season as well, but the Bulldogs weren’t invited to Washington that year, with the White House citing COVID-19 restrictions.

When February 2023 rolled around, Georgia defensive lineman Warren Brinson took to Twitter to point out that his team still hadn’t received an invitation, which garnered attention and prompted Georgia congressional leaders from both parties to send the Biden White House a letter asking him to welcome the team.

That week, a White House official released a statement saying, “The President looks forward to welcoming the Georgia Bulldogs to the White House.”

The Bulldogs went a perfect 15-0 in 2022, a season that culminated in them trouncing No. 3 seed TCU 65-7 in the championship game.

On Monday, the White House announced it had scheduled a White House welcome for the UConn men’s basketball team and the LSU women’s basketball team on May 26 to celebrate their national championships.

–Field Level Media

Jan 9, 2023; Inglewood, CA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs defensive back Christopher Smith (29) celebrates after defensive back Javon Bullard (22) made an interception against the TCU Horned Frogs during the second quarter of the CFP national championship game at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 Georgia manhandles No. 3 TCU for second straight national title

Stetson Bennett passed for four touchdowns and rushed for two and top-ranked Georgia won its second straight national title by steamrolling No. 3 TCU 65-7 in the College Football Playoff championship game at Inglewood, Calif.

Bennett completed 18 of 25 passes for 304 yards and finished his career with a 29-3 record as a starter as the Bulldogs (15-0) trampled the Horned Frogs (13-2) from the outset. Bennett’s six total touchdowns match the mark set by LSU’s Joe Burrow in 2020 for most during the nine-season CFP era.

Brock Bowers caught seven passes for 152 yards and one touchdown and Ladd McConkey had five receptions for 88 yards and two scores for Georgia. Branson Robinson rushed for two scores, Kendall Milton added one and Adonai Mitchell had a touchdown grab for the Bulldogs, who outgained TCU 589-188.

Georgia’s Javon Bullard had three takeaways before intermission with two interceptions and one fumble recovery before missing the second half with a shoulder injury.

Heisman Trophy runner-up Max Duggan was 14-of-22 passing for 152 yards and two interceptions for TCU, which was unable to match up with the Bulldogs. Derius Davis caught five passes for 101 yards.

Standout Horned Frogs running back Kendre Miller (knee) missed the game after being injured during the CFP semifinal win over Michigan on Dec. 31.

The Bulldogs wasted no time asserting themselves as Bennett ran 21 yards for a touchdown less than four minutes into the game and Jack Podlesny added a 24-yard field goal with 6:51 left in the opening period.

TCU showed life when Duggan scored on a 2-yard run with 4:45 remaining before Georgia scored the game’s final 55 points.

Bennett drilled a 37-yard scoring pass to McConkey with 2:43 left in the first quarter, and ran 6 yards for another score to make it 24-7 with 8:30 left in the half.

The next two Bulldogs’ touchdowns followed interceptions by Bullard. The first set up Milton’s 1-yard run with 1:19 left and the other came two plays before Bennett hit Mitchell for a 22-yard score with 26 seconds remaining for a 38-7 halftime lead.

Bennett connected on a 22-yard touchdown pass to Bowers with 10:52 remaining in the third quarter. He added a 14-yard scoring pass to McConkey with 2:17 left in the period and Robinson later added two scoring runs.

Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart called timeout with 13:25 remaining in the contest to remove Bennett and give him a curtain call from the Georgia faithful. Bennett, a former walk-on, finished fourth in the Heisman balloting this season.

The Bulldogs defeated Alabama 33-18 in last season’s title game.

–Field Level Media

Jan 10, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; The Georgia Bulldogs mascot Uga on the sideline during the first half in the 2022 CFP college football national championship game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia mascot Uga won’t make trip to national title game

Georgia touched down in Los Angeles on Friday ahead of Monday’s national championship game, but university officials said that Uga X, its live bulldog mascot, will not be joining the program out west.

No. 1 Georgia faces No. 3 TCU on Monday at SoFi Stadium, home of the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams and Chargers in Inglewood, Calif.

Uga’s owners, the Seiler family, told WTOC in Savannah, Ga., that a cross-country trek to California wouldn’t be feasible for the 9-year-old bulldog, whose real name is Que.

Uga X, a grandson of Uga IX, has held down the mascot gig since 2015. He attended to last year’s national championship game in Indianapolis and once traveled to the Los Angeles area when Georgia played a CFP semifinal at the Rose Bowl.

The Bulldogs (14-0) will shoot for their second consecutive national title on Monday.

–Field Level Media

Nov 24, 2022; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs quarterback Will Rogers (2) moves in the pocket while defended by Ole Miss Rebels defensive end Tavius Robinson (95) during the first quarter at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Mississippi State rallies past No. 20 Ole Miss in second half

Will Rogers threw two touchdown passes and the Mississippi State defense shut down No. 20 Ole Miss’ running game in a 24-22 victory in the Battle for the Golden Egg on Thursday night in Oxford, Miss.

The Bulldogs (8-4, 4-4 Southeastern Conference) held the Rebels’ running back tandem of Quinshon Judkins and Zach Evans, who came in averaging a combined 208 rushing yards, to 87 yards and ended a two-game losing streak in the long-time rivalry.

Ole Miss (8-4, 4-4) led 16-14 at halftime. After a scoreless third quarter, Massimo Biscardi kicked a 34-yard field goal to give Mississippi State a 17-16 lead with 13:46 left in the game.

On a third-and-7 play, Rogers threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Rara Thomas to extend the lead to 24-16 with 7:58 left.

After a Rebels fumble, the Bulldogs had a chance to score again, but Rogers lost a fumble at the Ole Miss 1-yard line.

The Rebels drove 99 yards and Jaxson Dart threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Dayton Wade with 1:25 left, but a potential tying two-point conversion pass failed. Mississippi State recovered the ensuing onside kick to hold on.

On the first possession of the game, Ole Miss needed just three plays to drive to a first down at the Mississippi State 15. However, the Rebels stalled and Jonathan Cruz kicked a 32-yard field goal.

The Bulldogs responded quickly, driving 61 yards on the ensuing possession, which ended with Jo’quavious Marks running 1 yard for a touchdown and a 7-3 lead.

Ole Miss drove to a first down at the Mississippi State 18 on its third possession and stalled again. Cruz’s 33-yard field goal trimmed the lead to 7-6 at the end of the first quarter.

Cruz added a 49-yard field goal to give the Rebels a 9-7 lead early in the second quarter.

The Rebels drove to the Mississippi State 1, and on fourth-and-goal Dart threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to JJ Pegues for a 16-7 lead.

Rogers tossed a 19-yard touchdown pass to Lideatrick Griffin with eight seconds left, cutting Ole Miss’ lead to 16-14 at halftime.

–Field Level Media

Georgia defensive lineman Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins (93) dives for possession of the ball during Tennessee's game against Georgia at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022.

Kns Vols Georgia Bp

Georgia outclasses No. 1 Tennessee in convincing showdown victory

Stetson Bennett passed for two touchdowns and rushed for one to lead No. 3 Georgia to a convincing 27-13 victory over top-ranked Tennessee in Southeastern Conference play Saturday afternoon at Athens, Ga.

Bennett completed 17 of 25 passes for 257 yards and Ladd McConkey caught five passes for 94 yards and a touchdown as the Bulldogs (9-0, 6-0 SEC) defeated Tennessee for the sixth consecutive time. Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint also had a scoring reception.

Jalen Carter forced two fumbles, Javon Bullard had two sacks and Kelee Ringo had an interception for Georgia, which held the Volunteers to 2 of 14 on third-down conversions.

Hendon Hooker was 23-of-33 passing for 195 yards and one interception for Tennessee (8-1, 4-1). Hooker had thrown a touchdown pass in 20 consecutive games prior to being unable to find the end zone against the Bulldogs.

Jaylen Wright rushed for a touchdown for the Volunteers, but standout receiver Jalin Hyatt had just six catches for 63 yards.

Georgia played without standout linebacker Nolan Smith, who will miss the rest of the season with a pectoral injury. But the Bulldogs still outgained Tennessee 387 to 289.

Tennessee landed the No. 1 spot in the first College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday, but was routinely outclassed by the Bulldogs.

Jack Podlesny booted a 38-yard field goal with 1:09 left in the third quarter to give Georgia a 27-6 lead. Tennessee attempted to rally in a driving rainstorm, but Wright’s 5-yard scoring run with 4:15 left was all the Volunteers could manage.

Georgia outgained the Volunteers 306 to 139 while building a 24-6 halftime lead.

Tennessee struck first on Chase McGrath’s 47-yard field goal before the Bulldogs scored the next 21 points.

Bennett scored on a 13-yard keeper with 8:32 left in the first quarter and later connected with McConkey on a 37-yard scoring pass to make it 14-3 with 3:32 left in the period.

Georgia tacked on another score when Bennett hit Rosemy-Jacksaint on a 5-yard touchdown pass 43 seconds into the second quarter.

McGrath’s 36-yard field goal cut the Volunteers’ deficit to 21-6 with 9:36 left in the half. Podlesny kicked a 19-yarder for the Bulldogs as time expired in the half.

–Field Level Media

Auburn Tigers quarterback Robby Ashford (9) throws the ball as the Auburn Tigers take on Arkansas Razorbacks at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022. Arkansas Razorbacks defeated Auburn Tigers 41-27.

Auburn’s Cadillac Williams to make head-coaching debut vs. Mississippi St.

Auburn interim coach Carnell “Cadillac” Williams will hope to salvage the Tigers’ season, beginning with a game at slumping Mississippi State on Saturday night in Starkville, Miss.

Williams, who was in his fourth season of coaching the Tigers’ running backs, replaced Bryan Harsin after he was dismissed on Monday after less than two seasons on the job.

“I truly believe Auburn has the potential to be a championship program once again,” Harsin wrote in a statement on Tuesday. “The resources, financial support and fan base are in place.”

The Tigers (3-5, 1-4 SEC), mired in a four-game-losing streak, went 9-12 under Harsin, with losses in 10 of their past 13 games dating to last season.

Mississippi State (5-3, 2-3) is coming off a 30-6 loss at then-No. 6 Alabama, the Bulldogs’ second straight loss after opening the season 5-1.

The Bulldogs and Tigers play contrasting styles of offense.

Led by Will Rogers, who has thrown for an SEC-high 2,555 yards and 23 touchdowns with just four interceptions, the Bulldogs average 410.8 yards per game but have rushed for a league-low 713.

Auburn has struggled throwing the ball. Robby Ashford has completed 52.6 percent of his passes for 1,299 yards and five touchdowns with five interceptions. Auburn averages just 217.3 yards through the air, ahead of only Missouri and Vanderbilt in the conference.

However, Auburn has been successful running the ball. That’s a major reason why Williams — a former All-American running back at Auburn — was promoted while offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau and tight ends coach Brad Bedell were among several assistants who were fired on Monday.

Tank Bigsby has averaged 5.3 yards per carry, rushing for 587 yards and seven scores on 110 carries. Ashford has added 397 yards and three touchdowns on 93 carries.

“Auburn’s full of a bunch of players who had offers all over the conference,” Mississippi State coach Mike Leach said. “Us and everybody else wanted those guys on their team.”

–Field Level Media