Georgia’s defense could soon be catching a big break as true freshmen defensive lineman Julian Rochester and defensive back Chad Clay appear close to having their felony weapons charge dropped by the Athens-Clarke county district attorney.
The two freshmen were arrested April 12 on charges of possession of a weapon (a BB gun) in a school zone and the other with criminal damage. During last week’s SEC Meetings in Destin, Fla., Georgia head coach Kirby Smart was non-committal in regards to potential discipline the two players face.
The attorney for the two players, Kim Stephens, told the Macon Telegraph he expects a resolution in the case “very soon” and that both players will ultimately receive “dismissal, restriction or expungement” of their records following an 18-month “pre-trial diversionary program” has been complete.
If Stephens is correct and the felony charge is dropped, how Smart approaches any further discipline will be interesting to see. Under former head coach Mark Richt, Georgia set a hard stance against off-the-field behavior and seemingly always had players suspended to start the season.
Something Steve Spurrier famously poked fun of once, saying: “I sort of always liked playing (Georgia) that second game because you could always count on them having two or three key players suspended.”
However under a new regime, will Georgia set a more lax attitude when it comes to player discipline in pursuit of a league and ultimately a national title?
The Bulldogs open the season against the reigning ACC’s Atlantic Division champion North Carolina in Atlanta.