Georgia corner back Branden Smith flirted with the NFL Draft this year. In the end, Smith made the wise decision to return to school and give it one more year to impress the scouts and GMs. This weekend, he made the opposite type of decision. Smith was pulled over late Sunday night in Henry County Alabama and a search of the car produced a bag of marijuana. The Zach Mettenberger incident was just two years ago (there is a reason he’s playing for LSU now and not Georgia). It’s sad to see guys make similiar mistakes. One thing is clear, spring break is not good for the Dawgs.
This is just the latest in a long-line of issues that have come up recently with the Georgia secondary. Over the last year, Georgia has had three kids transfer out because of the depth that Georgia had in the secondary which led to their lack of playing time. That killed the depth in the position and then highly touted prospect Nick Marshall and Chris Sanders got booted off the team by Mark Richt. Then starting corner back Sanders Comings got suspended for two games for a late-night altercation he had with his significant other. Now, we’ve got Smith getting arrested.
So what will Smith’s punishment be? Last year, we saw a trio of Georgia running backs get suspended for a failed drug test and they got suspended one game. Smith is yet to fail a drug test but he did get arrested so you can bet the minimum sentence here will be one game if not more depending on what else comes out of this situation.
Where does that leave the depth chart? I would expect rising sophomore Damian Swann will move into the #1 corner role for the first game or two. There has been talk about rising sophomore wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell getting play on both sides of the football. I think that has just been accelerated and we should expect to see him in that role if not moving over to the defense side of the football completely for at least the first few games. Beyond those two guys Georgia has rising sophomores Quintavious Harrow (played special teams as a frosh, highlighted by his destruction of an Auburn return man in possibly the hit of the year for Georgia), Devin Bowman (cousin of former Oklahoma State star receiver Adarius Bowman) and Corey Moore (projected as more of a Safety). They also have rising junior Blake Sailors who has been a special teams wizard in his two years on campus but it might be time to see what he can do in the nickel spot. Connor Norman and Marc Deas who are listed as safeties. Norman looked good in the spring game last season but didn’t see any memorable action in 2011 for Georgia. Another possibility is incoming true freshman Sheldon Dawson of Memphis. He’s a four-star prospect and could come in and contribute immediately in a limited role in the secondary.
One thing is clear, off-season issues have reared their ugly head again in Athens this off-season and now it is threatening what looks like a promising season ahead for Georgia.