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Latest from Logan Booker

    The University of Georgia has named its new senior vice president for academic affairs and provost.  From the University of Georgia:  S. Jack Hu, vice president for research at the University of Michigan, has been named the University of Georgia’s next senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, effective July 1.    Hu was chosen among four finalists identified through a national search to fill the institution’s chief academic officer role. Libby V. Morris, veteran administrator, scholar and director of UGA’s Institute of Higher Education, has been serving as interim provost this academic year.   “The University was fortunate to have four outstanding finalists for this most important position,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “I believe Dr. Hu possesses the unique background and experience to continue elevating our national prominence in research, innovation and graduate education while building on our superior undergraduate learning environment. I am excited to welcome him to campus this summer.”   Hu, who also serves as J. Reid and Polly Anderson Professor of Manufacturing in the College of Engineering at Michigan, oversees a robust research enterprise that spans the university’s campuses in Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint and generates annual expenditures exceeding $1.5 billion.    In addition, Hu is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and currently serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the National Academies’ Transportation Research Board.   “I am humbled and honored to join the University of Georgia as its next provost,” Hu said. “As the birthplace of public higher education in America, the University of Georgia has a tremendous reputation for its commitment to excellence in education, research and innovation, and public engagement. I look forward to working with the campus community to build upon the university’s momentum in these important areas.”   Hu is the recipient of numerous prestigious academic awards, including the William T. Ennor Manufacturing Technology Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Gold Medal from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.     His many accomplishments at Michigan include leading the development of Mcity—an initiative focused on connected and automated transportation—into a leading public-private partnership for research. He also has led the development of international collaborations in China, Israel and Germany.   “The University of Michigan has cherished Jack Hu’s outstanding contributions for more than three decades, and I congratulate the University of Georgia community on his selection as provost,” said U-M President Mark S. Schlissel. “Vice President Hu’s innovative leadership elevated University of Michigan research to new levels of excellence, through collaborations that engaged multiple disciplines in seeking solutions to major societal challenges and an unwavering commitment to integrity and public impact.”   Before becoming vice president for research, Hu served as associate dean for academic affairs and associate dean for research and graduate education in Michigan’s College of Engineering.   Mary Sue Coleman, president of the Association of American Universities, has worked closely with Hu, particularly in her previous role as president of the University of Michigan.   “Jack Hu is an excellent choice as provost for the University of Georgia,” said Coleman. “He is an outstanding, nationally recognized engineer who, as VP for Research at the University of Michigan, promoted interdisciplinary initiatives, nurtured innovation, promoted safety and championed integrity. His broad experience will inform and enhance the work of faculty and staff as UGA implements its vision for the future.”   The search process was overseen by a 24-member committee, led jointly by Dean of the Terry College of Business Benjamin C. Ayers and Dean of the College of Education Denise A. Spangler. The Parker Executive Search firm and UGA Search Group assisted with the search.   Morehead thanked the members of the committee for their leadership and service. “I want to extend my deepest appreciation to Dean Ayers, Dean Spangler, and every member of the search committee for their hard work and commitment to this process,” Morehead said. 
  • Georgia’s Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan and current Major League Baseball stars teamed up last Saturday in Athens to raise money for perhaps Athens’ most-favorite charity, Extra Special People.  ATLANTA, GA— (February 11, 2019) On Feb. 9, Georgia’s Lt. Governor, Geoff Duncan, and several other MLB players were guest judges for Extra Special People (ESP) Big Hearts at Bat. The line-up included Duncan, who played for the Florida Marlins early in his career before being elected as Georgia’s Lt. Governor. Kyle Farmer of the Cincinnati Reds, Gordon Beckham formerly with the Atlanta Braves and now with the Detroit Tigers, Brooks Brown formerly with the Colorado Rockies, and Trevor Holder of the San Diego Padres were also guest judges. “ESP is making dreams come true for kids with special needs, and I was honored to be a part of the inspirational night,” Farmer, who also played in two World Series’ for the Los Angeles Dodgers, said. “I’m excited to see kids of every ability have the chance to step up to the plate and play the sport I love.” “One of the best parts about being lieutenant governor is having the opportunity to find out about organizations like ESP and the huge impact they have on a community and the joys they bring to people’s lives,” Duncan said. In its 12th year, ESP’s Big Hearts pageant showcases kids of all abilities as they perform for thousands of guests in Athens, Ga. This year, money was raised to build a Miracle League baseball field and sports complex. Through generous donations at Big Hearts at Bat, ESP reached the $1.1 million mark of a $1.4 million campaign goal. The Miracle League sports complex will bring the magic of baseball to kids of all abilities in Northeast Georgia. Additionally, funds were raised at the pageant and silent auction to send hundreds of kids to summer camp. “Big Hearts at Bat was focused on bringing to life the dream of typical kids and those with special needs playing alongside one another, no longer benching those who have different abilities,” said Laura Whitaker, ESP Executive Director. “Our Miracle League sports complex will be for everyone—a fully-accessible baseball field, making it possible for every child to play America’s favorite pastime, as well as a playground and splash pad for everyone in the community.” ESP is committed to fostering genuine friendships and memorable moments between all citizens who want to play and aims to see the bases loaded at the newly-constructed complex by Spring of 2020. About Extra Special People Extra Special People, Inc., (ESP), a 501 (c)(3) is a nonprofit serving families and children with special needs in the 26-county area surrounding Watkinsville, Ga., since 1987. With ever-expanding after-school programs, weekend clubs, an eight-week long summer camp and family resources, ESP now reaches more than 425 children, with an ongoing dream of reaching every Northeast Georgia family that has a need and a desire to help their special child grow and thrive. Contributing to this dream was the addition of 70 acres in Jackson County in December 2014. Camp Hooray will one day continue the ESP mission by hosting overnight camps, weekend retreats and events for children and families of all abilities. About The Miracle League The Miracle League removes the barriers that keep children with mental and physical disabilities off the baseball field and lets them experience the joy of America’s favorite pastime. Miracle League teams play on a custom-designed, rubberized turf field that accommodates wheelchairs and other assistive devices while helping to prevent injuries. The first Miracle League field opened in Conyers, Ga., in April 2000. Now there are more than 300 Miracle League Organizations across the country including Puerto Rico and Canada, serving more than 250,000 children and adults. Miracle League is not only partnering with ESP for the first local field in the Athens area, but will also be a part of the expansion of Camp Hooray, an innovative, state-of-the-art camp for individuals with disabilities.
  • Former University of Georgia running back and now Super Bowl champion Sony Michel joined Jimmy Kimmel last night to talk about the big win in Atlanta.
  • Tickets are going fast, as few remain for the upcoming Big Hearts fundraiser benefiting Extra Special People More details:  Athens, GA -- Extra Special People (ESP) will be holding its 12th annual Big Hearts fundraiser at the Classic Center Theater on Feb. 9, 2019.   Big Hearts, voted Athens Best Fundraising Event 2 years in a row, is soon to come to bat. Through a performance, silent auction and banquet, the evening shines a light on children and young adults on The Classic Center stage as they leave their disabilities in the wings. The goal of the event is to fund summer camp, allowing every child of every ability and financial need the opportunity to experience the joys of camp.   “This night is simply spectacular,” said Executive Director, Laura Whitaker. “Not only do our individuals make you laugh and cry, but I love hearing from new people after their first Big Heart's experience. The joy of the event is palpable and contagious.”   The pageant portion of Big Hearts features dance numbers, skits and opportunities to highlight each of ESP’s 70 performers and contestants. Contestants will be escorted on stage by familiar faces including pageant queens and UGA football players. Between contestant groups, the ESP performers will take to the stage sharing a story in line with this year’s Big Hearts’ baseball theme. “Our fictional baseball team, the Hipsters, sets out to form a team unlike anything baseball has ever seen. There’s just one obstacle---some people believe baseball isn’t made for everyone,” says Program Coordinator, Kalon Carpenter.   After twelve years, the pageant remains a special night full of surprises for spectators. These include Fox Sports South host and Atlanta Braves field reporter Kelsey Wingert overseeing the pageant as one of the special emcees. A mystery emcee, one Georgia fans will be excited to welcome, promises to surprise pageant attendees. Another public figure, recently elected and still under wraps, will join the panel of Big Hearts judges.   Another unique aspect of this year’s Big Hearts is the theme: Big Hearts at Bat.   Whitaker shared, “This year, we are thrilled to share with the community our love for America's pastime and our dream for ESP’s future baseball complex.” The At Bat theme recognizes ESP’s ongoing relationship with the Miracle League, a national organization that brings accessible baseball and inclusive play to individuals of all abilities. ESP is in the process of bringing a Miracle League field to the Athens community. Several exciting Miracle League announcements including the proposed location will be made during the Pageant.   Big Hearts is an evening that brings friends and family together for a cause that’s close to the hearts of Athens’ natives. Attendance is open to the public on February 9 at the Classic Center Theater. Pageant tickets can be purchased through the Classic Center box office.    About ESP Extra Special People, Inc., (ESP), is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit serving families and children with special needs in more than 30 counties surrounding Watkinsville, Ga., since 1986. With ever-expanding after-school programs, weekend clubs, an eight-week long summer camp and family resources, ESP now reaches more than 300 children, with an ongoing dream of reaching every Northeast Georgia family that has a need and a desire to help their special child grow and thrive.   Contributing to this dream was the addition of 70 acres in Jackson County in December 2014. Camp Hooray will one day continue the ESP mission by hosting overnight camps, weekend retreats, and events for children and families of all abilities.
  • A University of Georgia student was killed overnight while driving his car on I-20 just west of Atlanta. The Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office identified the victim as 20-year-old William Whitaker, of Carrollton. Whitaker was driving in the westbound lanes on I-20 when a tractor trailer crashed with two cars in the eastbound lanes. Debris from the wreck was sent into the westbound lanes, striking two vehicles, including the car driven by Whitaker,  who died on the scene.  The driver of the truck has been identified as Mario Polier, 53, of Hialeah, FL. He now faces numerous misdemeanor charges including second degree homicide by vehicle  
  • The Athens-Clarke County Police has named a new Chief.  Cleveland Lee Spruill, Sr. will begin his duties as of February 4, 2019. From the ACCPD: Manager Blaine Williams has appointed Cleveland Lee Spruill, Sr. as the Chief of the Athens-Clarke County Police Department. He will begin his duties as of February 4, 2019.  “After careful consideration and based on extensive feedback from the citizens and officers about what they want to see in our new Police Chief, I believe that Chief Spruill will be an exceptional fit for Athens-Clarke County,” says Williams. “He stood out among an extremely well-qualified group of candidates as the right person to lead our Police Department, uphold our community-oriented policing philosophy, and serve as an ambassador to the community.” Chief Spruill had served as the Huntersville, North Carolina Chief of Police from May 2014 until January 2019. In his position, he led the 111 member (102 sworn and 9 civilian) Huntersville Police Department in a town with a population of 60,000 and an annual police budget exceeding $12.8 million. “It is an honor and a privilege to be selected as the next chief of the Athens-Clarke County Police Department,” said Spruill. “I look forward to leading the talented and capable men and women of the department and pledge my best effort to train them and enrich their careers. Together, we will strive to build on organizational successes and enhance trust and relationships with the community to make Athens-Clarke County among the safest places in Georgia to live, learn, work and visit.” Prior to his time in Huntersville, Spruill served the Alexandria, Virginia Police Department for nearly 27 years. This included more than 17 years of command level experience with assignments in each of the major bureaus. In his final assignment with the Alexandria Police, Spruill served as the Executive Deputy Chief, managing more than 320 sworn and 105 civilian employees, with an annual police budget that exceeded $57 million and serving a population of more than 150,000. Spruill retired from the Alexandria Police Department in 2014 to become the Chief in Huntersville.  “Throughout his 31-year police career, Chief Spruill has established a reputation as a reformer and change agent,” notes Williams. “He has shown that he can support his officers effectively in reducing crime and enhancing the quality of life, while at the same time building trust and strengthening community relationships with law enforcement.”  As part of the process of selecting a new Police Chief, Williams collected public input from residents, as well as current and past police officers. Residents submitted over 150 online form submissions and voicemails, while a panel of Police Department Command Staff also provided feedback and recommendations.  “Chief Spruill embodies the characteristics that both the community and the government are seeking,” said Williams. “I believe he can connect well with the community - including underserved populations, will support the officers, will communicate in a transparent fashion, is fair and builds trust, will emphasize training and 21st Century Policing principles, and has demonstrated an experienced career leading community policing.” Spruill was born in Queens, New York, in 1964 and relocated with his family to Richmond, Virginia in 1978. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army where he was assigned to the 3rd U.S. Infantry Battalion at Ft. Myer, Virginia. He was honorably discharged in 1986 and joined the Alexandria Police Department the following year.  Chief Spruill is a graduate of the 217th Session of the FBI National Academy in 2004 and completed the Police Executive Research Forum Senior Management Institute for Police in 2012. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master’s degree, both in Business Management, from Johns Hopkins University.  Spruill is a member of the Police Executive Research Forum, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, and the North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police. Chief Spruill has three adult children and two grandchildren. During his spare time, he enjoys participating in church youth mentoring programs and coaching youth football. “Interim Chief Mike Hunsinger has done a commendable job of managing
  • The Athens-Clarke County police responded to an in-progress aggravated assault on Lexington Road this week.  From the ACCPD:  On January 6th at 2:34 am, ACCPD responded to an Aggravated Assault in progress at a residence on Lexington Road. Upon arrival, ACCPD could hear a struggle inside the residence. ACCPD dispatchers advised our officers that the victim, a 46-year-old female from Athens, reported that she was being attacked. Dispatchers relayed to our officers that she said, “He’s got a baseball bat.” Due to the exigent circumstances, ACCPD forced entry into the residence, locating the suspect and victim. The suspect was detained and ACCPD began providing aid to the victim. To provide quicker access for an EMS crew, an ACCPD officer forced the back door of the residence open. EMS entered through this door and began providing aid. The EMS crew determined that the victim needed immediate transport and the ACCPD officer helped move and load the stretcher into ambulance. Noting the victim’s condition and need for immediate care, the ACCPD officer drove the ambulance while the EMS crew provided life-saving care. The victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment. After an ACCPD investigation, the suspect, 51-year-old Christopher Warden of Athens, was arrested for Aggravated Assault and Aggravated Battery
  • ATHENS, Ga. --- Twenty-nine University of Georgia student-athletes will receive undergraduate or graduate degrees Friday morning during the fall commencement exercises at Stegeman Coliseum.   Among the 29 UGA student-athlete graduates are nine from football; seven from track and field; three from baseball; two each from men’s golf and swimming; and one each from gymnastics, soccer, softball, volleyball and women’s basketball. In addition, three sports communications student assistants and one compliance student assistant will be receiving their degrees.   Baseball (3): Chase Adkins, General Business; Blake Cairnes, Consumer Economics; Mitchell Webb, Sport Management.   Football (10): Kendall Baker, Sociology; Michael Barnett, Communication Studies; Rodrigo Blankenship, Journalism; Lamont Gaillard, Sociology; J.R. Reed, Communication Studies; Keyon Richardson, Sociology; DeAngelo Tyson, Housing Management and Policy; Steven Van Tiflin, Real Estate and Finance; Nick Williams, Communication Studies; and Shakenneth Williams, Sociology.   Gymnastics (1): Gigi Marino, Human Development and Family Science.   Men’s golf (2): Zach Healy, Sport Management; Jaime Lopez Rivarola, Kinesiology.   Soccer (1): Delaney Fechalos, Finance.   Softball (1): Lindsey Miles, Early Childhood Education.   Swimming (2): Gunnar Bentz, Management; Stephanie Peters, Sport Management.   Track and field (7): Sarah Gardner, Kinesiology; Cejhae Greene, Consumer Economics; Addy Lippitt, Management; Anna Machovec, Computer Science; Chanice Porter, Kinesiology; Karl Saluri, Food Industry Marketing Administration; Kendal Williams, Communication Studies.   Volleyball (1): Sarah Lagler-Clark, Psychology.   Women’s basketball (1): Simone Costa, Communication Studies.
  • ATHENS, Ga. --- University of Georgia sophomore Mollie Belisle earned a spot on the 14th annual women's soccer SEC Community Service team, announced by the conference on Tuesday.    Since arriving in Athens, Belisle has been a shining star on the Georgia soccer team. Her personality brightens people’s day and her heart for others is evident in everything she does. Sidelined with an ACL injury this season, Belisle has been an encouraging voice for the Bulldogs, constantly showing support and bringing an uplifting spirit to the facility.   Aside from school, soccer, and now rehab so that she can get back on the field with her fellow Bulldogs, Belisle is a mentor at Barrow Elementary School. The Atlanta native attends her mentee’s soccer games and swim meets as well. Her love for children continues with her involvement with Extra Special People (ESP) and participation in the Special Olympics Prom, where she will be getting a pie in the face in the coming weeks. Through her involvement with Wesley, Belisle is a member of GROW and served on a mission trip to Jamaica last year.   The SEC sponsors Community Service Teams for all 21 league sponsored sports. The Community Service Team highlights an athlete from each school who gives back to his or her community in superior service efforts. HOW TO FOLLOW GEORGIA SOCCER: For complete information on Georgia soccer, follow the team on its social media channels via @UGASoccer on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
  • Jefferson , Georgia based Jackson EMC is preparing for the effects of Hurricane Michael, which is expected to bring lots of rain and heavy winds to Georgia starting later today. The company issued some tips and guidelines to what you should do if you become affected by the storm.  From Jackson EMC:  (JEFFERSON, GA. Oct. 10, 2018) Jackson EMC is closely monitoring the projected forecast of Hurricane Michael and is ready to respond if Northeast Georgia is impacted. Current forecasts indicate Northeast Georgia could experience strong winds and rain beginning Wednesday evening, Oct. 10, due to Hurricane Michael.  Linemen and other support personnel stand ready to respond to our members when needed.  For information about storm preparation, to report outages and for a listing of current outages visit: www.jacksonemc.com/storm.  Resources:  Report Outages. Jackson EMC members should report outages to at 1-800-245-4044 or by visiting outage.jacksonemc.com.   Storm Center. Outage updates and a map with current outages is available at: news.jacksonemc.com/outages/.   Outage Map. Available in the Storm Center, the Outage Map provides real-time information on outages. www.jacksonemc.com/storm   @JacksonEMC on Twitter. Follow @JacksonEMC on Twitter for storm tips and outage updates, or like us on Facebook JacksonEMC.  (JEFFERSON, GA. Oct. 10, 2018) Jackson EMC is closely monitoring the projected forecast of Hurricane Michael and is ready to respond if Northeast Georgia is impacted. Current forecasts indicate Northeast Georgia could experience strong winds and rain beginning Wednesday evening, Oct. 10, due to Hurricane Michael.  Linemen and other support personnel stand ready to respond to our members when needed.  For information about storm preparation, to report outages and for a listing of current outages visit: www.jacksonemc.com/storm.  Resources:  Report Outages. Jackson EMC members should report outages to at 1-800-245-4044 or by visiting outage.jacksonemc.com.   Storm Center. Outage updates and a map with current outages is available at: news.jacksonemc.com/outages/.   Outage Map. Available in the Storm Center, the Outage Map provides real-time information on outages. www.jacksonemc.com/storm   @JacksonEMC on Twitter. Follow @JacksonEMC on Twitter for storm tips and outage updates, or like us on Facebook JacksonEMC. 
  • Logan Booker

    Logan Booker is the producer for Classic City Today on 98.7FM and AM 1340 WGAU from 6am-10am weekdays, and occasionally contributes on-air with Tim Bryant. Logan also covers the midday news on WGAU Monday-Friday. On occasion, he fills as a co-host of The Morning Show on 960 The Ref. 

    Logan has covered UGA sports since 2012, previously with Bulldawg Illustrated. 

    He is a graduate of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, where he earned a degree in magazine journalism in addition to a Grady Sports Media certificate. He was born and raised in Lawrenceville, Georgia, and in addition to his current home in Bethlehem, Georgia, he spends lots of time with his dog and his boat in Lincoln County, Georgia. 

     

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Georgia Sports News

  • Devon Gales, the former Southern University football player who was paralyzed in a 2015 game against UGA, is returning to football. Gales has been hired as an assistant football coach at Jefferson High School, per accessWDUN.com’s Bo Wilson. The new job will be around 20 miles away from UGA. Former UGA recruiting coordinator Bob Pittard is a social studies teacher at the high school. Per the website, the hiring of Gales was the idea of Jefferson superintendent Dr. John Jackson. It was after Gales shared his story with the Jefferson senior class. “It was brought to our attention upon meeting this wonderful family that Devon missed the game and practices and being part of a football team in the game he still loved so much,” Jefferson coach Gene Cathcart told the website. “Dr. John Jackson had the idea of getting him involved in our program in some way and how our young men would benefit from his living example, character, strength in facing adversity and perseverance.” UGA donors and fans raised funds to build a handicapped-accessible house in Jefferson for Gales and his family. The post Devon Gales makes his return to football appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia coach Kirby Smart has emphasized several times in several ways that championship football requires all units working together. Indeed, much of the Bulldogs’ offensive and defensive scheming is predicated on Smart and his staff analyzing strengths and weaknesses and game arriving at core alignments and plays. The sooner Georgia knows itself, the better, and that makes the Bulldogs’ 15 spring practice dates pivotal. Here’s a way-too-early positional group ranking, an order that could be affected by an updated injury report or the emergence of a newcomer. 1. Offensive line The lock: Junior left tackle Andrew Thomas, Outland Trophy candidate. The question: Sophomore Cade Mays, where does he fit in? 2. Defensive backs The lock: Senior safety J.R. Reed, team leader of defense. The question: Sophomore Tyson Campbell, will skills match elite speed and ideal length? 3. Specialists The lock: Senior kicker Rodrigo Blankenship. The question: Can Georgia adequately replace Mecole Hardman? 3. Quarterbacks The lock: Junior Jake Fromm, third-year starter, offense on his shoulders. The question: How much of the offense can freshman Dwan Mathis pick up? 4. Linebackers The lock: None. The question: Can senior Tae Crowder become the playmaker Georgia lacked last year? 5. Running backs The lock: Junior tailback D’Andre Swift, Hesiman Trophy candidate The question (s): Will production match 5-star ratings of James Cook and Zamir White in 2019? 6. Receivers/tight ends The lock: Junior receiver J.J. Holloman is the go-to target. The question: Can graduate transfer tight end Eli Wolf fill the void left by Isaac Nauta? 7. Defensive linemen The lock: None. The question: Will sophomore Jordan Davis become an SEC dominator? More Georgia football spring 2019 Georgia linebackers: most improved unit? UGA running backs 4 spring football questions 5 questions for UGA spring football, it’s Jake Fromm’s team Does Georgia have championship level Defensive line? Questions 4 questions for Georgia football O-Line 3 pre-spring football questions on Georgia QB situation Kirby Smart provides preview on young receivers  Georgia secondary still best in the SEC? The post Georgia football: Way-too-early team spring position group rankings appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Best I can tell, it has been my task to cover college football spring practices for about 26 of the 31 years that encompass my sportswriting career. There were a few years that I wasn’t covering college football. There were a few more that I bounced around and saw a little bit of a lot of different teams. Most of time, though, I’ve been charged with covering all of Georgia’s spring practices. There have been times those practice sessions have been pretty interesting, some times that they’ve been incredibly dull and all over the place between. I’m anticipating the Bulldogs’ spring practice this year to be fairly intriguing. There are a lot of reasons for that, but the main one is the influx of new players. Early enrollment was a fairly new concept in the 1990s and still a bit of a rarity then. Quarterback Eric Zeier was one of the first high-profile recruits to do it and it served him very well that first year. Zeier served notice at the 1991 G-Day Game that he was going to be a factor that season, and boy was he ever. Since then, early enrollment has become a regular part of the recruiting process. Nowadays, everybody everywhere has at least a hand full of signees that come in early and get embedded with their respective teams since the first week of January. But it remains somewhat rare to see as many new players come in early — 14 — as Georgia has this year. Fourteen is a lot. The most ever for the Bulldogs. They had 13 in that 2013 class that included 30 total signees (and experienced some of the worst attrition ever for Georgia football). It’s not the most in college football. Alabama had 16 enroll early out of its 23-man recruiting class this year. But 14 is a bunch of new Bulldogs, no matter how one slices it up. That in and of itself cranks up the competition factor. Georgia has several areas in which it’d love to get some impact from from some of these early arrivals. Quarterback, linebacker and defensive back immediately spring to mind. I’d say receiver, too. But, oddly enough, the Bulldogs weren’t able to bring in any of their wideout signees early Dominick Blaylock happens to attend a school in Walton High that doesn’t allow it. Georgia has experienced the same thing with players it has signed out of Pace Academy, including Jamaree Salyer, Andrew Thomas and Trey Blount. But that’s where spring ball has changed a good bit over the years. It’s much more competitive over the course of 15 practices than it used to be. Those sessions can go a long way to determining who is going to be starter in the fall. Not always, but often. The ideal situation is getting as many positions locked down and decided in the spring, so those guys can work together as a unit as much as possible on a volunteer basis over the summer. That way they hit the ground running in preseason practice. No doubt you’ve read numerous accounts of what various people believe the be the most pressing priorities of the spring for the Bulldogs. As for me, the order of importance goes this way: Determine a receiver rotation; Identify a backup quarterback; Establish a starting center; Settle on a right cornerback; Figure out who else will help on defense. Going with the receivers first is an easy call for me. It has been well-documented that the Bulldogs lost 106 catches and 20 touchdowns from last year’s wideouts, the majority of those being compiled by juniors Riley Ridley and Mecole Hardman. But that number actually goes up by 35 catches and 3 touchdowns when tight end Isaac Nauta and running back Elijah Holyfield are included. So the emphasis on throwing and catching the ball in spring practice is going to be heavy. It’s usually that way anyway this time of year, because it is rare for teams to pound on each other a lot this far away from the actual season. That said, Georgia will need to mindful of Jake Fromm’s arm health and be careful not to overthrow him. To that end, the Bulldogs would like to come out with a good idea who is going to be Fromm’s primary backup. I wrote extensively on Sunday about redshirt sophomore Stetson Bennett coming back via junior college and giving Georgia an immediate competent presence with regard to already knowing the offensive system. But freshman Dwan Mathis remains an intriguing figure, and one can he sure that the Bulldogs will work hard and fast to determine exactly what they have in this 6-foot-6 athlete who has run a 10.8 100 meters. Trey Hill leads the way to succeed Lamont Gaillard at center, but that’s not a given. As always, Sam Pittman probably suffer brain cramps from exploring all possibilities for determining the combination that results in the best five across the board. The competition to succeed Deandre Baker at right cornerback certainly will be intriguing. But starting with elevating Tyson Campbell there as Georgia did in the bowl game is the first in what are all positive alternatives at all the secondary positions. If early enrollees such as JUCO transfer D.J. Daniel or Tyrique Stevenson end up winning out, all the better. Same with outside linebackers. The recruiting at this position has been other-worldly. Between the 5-stars that are coming back and the ones coming in, something is going to have Conversely, that’s why I don’t list inside linebackers here. Certainly the Bulldogs want higher-level play than it got from the returnees last season. But I believe all the existing alternatives to be better than adequate and not necessarily paramount to Georgia’s cause.  And as exciting a prospect as is Nakobe Dean, ranked the No. 1 inside linebacker in America, I always think back to Roquan Smith’s struggles as a true freshman and how it was late in his sophomore season before he emerged as the star he actually was. Same on the D-line, same on the O-line, same in the offensive backfield, same on special teams. The rest of it is very much organic. That is, it’ll come together naturally through the teaching of concepts and fundamentals. The Bulldogs seek competition and improvement, but they’ll be able to go to war with they’ve got. What you’re NOT going to see is running back D’Andre Swift get much in the way of contact. I highly doubt you’ll see Zamir White get any at all. White, the heralded 2018 signee known as Zeus, is less than seven months removed from a second knee surgery that came eight months after the first. The Bulldogs will be very interested in seeing what the former No. 1 back in America can do, but that can wait until late summer, when he will have had a year to rehab and recover. Maybe the most important factor will be the Bulldogs getting used to some new voices and concepts from the coaching staff. For the first time since Kirby Smart has been head coach, somebody other than Jim Chaney or Mel Tucker will be putting together the practice script for the offense and defense, respectively. That said, I suspect it won’t change significantly from what Georgia has been doing the last four years. That’s why James Coley, Dan Lanning and Glenn Schumann were appointed coordinators. They’re going to give Smart what he wants, which is more of the same. But it’s that — the newness factor — that’s going to make this spring so fun and interesting. And then, of course, they’ll tear up all the depth charts and start from scratch in August. The post Newness factor is what makes Kirby Smart’s 4th spring practice his most interesting at Georgia appeared first on DawgNation.
  • KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) - Atlanta Braves right-hander Julio Teheran is set to make his sixth straight start on opening day. The Braves said Monday that Teheran will face the Phillies on March 28 in Philadelphia. Teheran's run ties Hall of Famer Warren Spahn (1957-62) for the longest in Braves' franchise history during the modern era. Teheran is 1-1 with a 2.73 ERA on opening day. Earlier this spring, it had been thought Mike Foltynewicz might start on opening day for the Braves. But he's likely to be out until at least mid-April with a sore right elbow. New Phillies slugger Bryce Harper is expected to make his debut in the opener. He's had a lot of career success against Teheran, going 18 for 40 (.450) with eight homers and 19 RBIs. Teheran went 9-9 last season with a 3.94 ERA in 31 starts.