The NCAA had cleared outside linebacker Jarvis Jones after the school’s internal investigation.
“It was a pretty good celebration,” Richt said.
Jones talked to reporters the day after Georgia compliance director Eric Baumgartner informed him that the NCAA determined that he did not commit any violations after an investigation into whether he received improper benefits including paid airline tickets.
The NCAA agreed with Georgia that Jones had pre-existing relationships with employees of the Columbus Parks & Recreation Department before his status as a college football prospect.
“I never stressed about it, not one day,” Jones said. “It was something I never really worried about. …God put me in the best place and the best position and the people that handled it, they handled it really well. I think it was a great day.”
Jones showed why coaches had reason to be excited to have him available when he made six tackles and rang up three sacks in Georgia’s first preseason scrimmage on Wednesday in Sanford Stadium. The NCAA decision cleared the way for Jones to play starting Sept. 3 against Boise State.
“I’ve been off for a year and a half, you can say,” said Jones, who transferred from Southern California, where he sustained a neck injury. “So to step back on the field and get to play again especially at home at Georgia, one of the best places in America, it’s got to be exciting.”
Jones said the pre-existing relationships in Columbus were with people "in my life since I was a young age,” when he was about “11 or 12.”
“It’s been quite a while,” he said. “The people, they still are mentoring me. I still talk to them. They’re still my family.”
Where Sanders Commings lines up at a game this season may depend on which team the Bulldogs go up against.
“There will be certain matchups along the way where he may need to play corner,” Richt said. “There may be certain times where we feel like he’d do good at safety. He’s just smart enough and versatile enough to do that.”
Commings said he played more Wednesday at corner, where he started last season.
Starting safety Shawn Williams sounds like he has solidified his spot.
“He had a tremendous offseason physically,” Richt said. “You can see signs of him in the spring wanting to really get serious about wanting to win a job, wanting to play great football, but he’s bigger, stronger, faster. I think he’s tougher, I think he’s smarter. I think he’s more mature.”
Another 2015 opponent
Georgia has lined up another future football game for a big payday.
The school has a memorandum of understanding to play Louisiana-Monroe in 2015 for a $1.2 million guarantee, according to a copy obtained by the Athens Banner-Herald. That would be the largest payout Georgia has ever paid an opponent to schedule a game.
The game against the Sun Belt Conference opponent is slated for Nov. 7, 2015.
The terms include a $1.2 million cancellation buyout, according to the document signed by both schools’ athletic directors on July 12.
Also in 2015, the Bulldogs are tentatively scheduled to play Southern on Sept. 5.
Georgia and Louisiana-Monroe last played in 2005. The Bulldogs won 44-7 and are 3-0 all-time against the school.
Georgia had already hit the $1 million mark for guarantees. It will pay $1 million to play Florida Atlantic in 2012.
This and that
Kicker Blair Walsh booted a 58-yard field goal in the scrimmage and went 7 of 8 on field goals. …Cornerback Brandon Boykin, safety Jakar Hamilton and linebacker Cornelius Washington did not scrimmage due to pulled hamstrings. Richt said Boykin and Washington are “very close” to returning. …Richt said redshirt freshman Michael Bennett “has had a really good camp,” and is in the top three receivers after Tavarres King and Marlon Brown. Tight end Aron White led all receivers with three catches for 47 yards and Brown had two for 46.