UGA News to Know: May 9


A recap of useful news and nuggets from Georgia athletics

Here are some leftover interview details from Tuesday’s UGA Day gathering in Macon:

* Georgia football coach Mark Richt said the coaching staff still believes that all 19 signees will qualify academically and enroll this summer.

“Every once in a while there’s a guy that doesn’t make it until second summer [semester],” Richt said. “There’s been guys that haven’t made it until camp started. We’ve had some of that, but I’m not anticipating that.”

Richt said typically the coaching staff has a good idea whether a player will qualify well before this point -- sometimes as early as signing day, as happened last year with defensive lineman Chris Mayes, who is now at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and has re-committed to join the Bulldogs in 2013.

“Sometimes we know even at signing day that a guy might end up being junior college or prep school or whatever it may be, so we can still say we’re batting 1.000 on a class like that if we knew going in that was going to be the case,” Richt said. “It was part of the plan.”

The last year that Georgia’s entire signing class qualified was 2009, although one of that year’s signees, Dexter Moody, never enrolled because his scholarship offer was revoked following off-the-field issues.

* Richt reiterated that Branden Smith and Malcolm Mitchell are the top two candidates to return punts for the Bulldogs this fall. He said even defensive backs Bacarri Rambo or Sanders Commings could be candidates for the spot because of their outstanding ball skills.

* Basketball coach Mark Fox confirmed that his program will not sign any more players between now and the start of the season. The Bulldogs signed four newcomers, most recently forward Houston Kessler.

“This class is done,” Fox said. “I don’t think we have anyone that’s departing so we don’t have any scholarships available. We’ll add some walk-ons in there somewhere, but as far as recruiting, this class is done.”

* Richt said his wife Katharyn has completed her first year of nursing school, in a two-year program, and has fared well thus far.

“She was taking over a year’s worth of prerequisites to get in,” he said. “It seemed like she was going for two years before she applied, but it wasn’t quite that long. She’s been working hard at this for a while. It was very, very difficult. She worked her tail off.”

* Richt rode to Tuesday’s event with Fox and basketball assistant coach Philip Pearson. The two coaches obviously have limited time available for most of the year, but often travel together to the summer Bulldog Club meetings and seem to enjoy each other’s company.

Fox attended Georgia’s game at Tennessee last fall and Georgia’s football coaches often take visiting recruits to Georgia basketball games.

Richt said Tuesday’s two-hour drive to Macon was filled with small talk about family, summer plans, the BCS and the SEC’s lack of a divisional alignment in basketball.

“This is the time of year we do spend time doing that kind of thing,” Richt said. “Any chance we can to travel, we opt for that.”