Tailback Ken Malcome and cornerback Derek Owens, both reserves, are leaving the program, coach Mark Richt said Wednesday night after practice.
Owens is transferring and Malcome walked into Richt’s office prior to Wednesday's practice and informed him he was leaving, too.
Richt said Malcome “felt like he had gotten so far behind in the competition at his position that he felt like he needed to go to another school and get a fresh start and maybe get a better opportunity to play.”
Malcome and Owens are the second and third players to leave the program in a little more than a week.
Georgia confirmed injured safety Jakar Hamilton's transfer Tuesday of last week.
“All it’s going to do is allow us to sign a full boat of recruits again,” Richt said.
Georgia has had 12 players leave the program since the end of last season not including A.J. Green and Justin Houston, who entered the NFL draft after their junior seasons.
Before the season, six players transferred out (Nick Williams, Logan Gray, A.J. Harmon, Brent Benedict, Washaun Ealey, Marcus Dowtin), one was academically ineligible (Caleb King) another did not return for his senior season after dealing with injuries (Tanner Strickland) and another took a medical disqualification (Jeremy Longo).
Richt said the attrition could be attributed to both coaches demanding more and players wanting more opportunity.
“Most everybody we recruit was probably the best player on their (high school) team or one of the best players on their team,” Richt said. “Then they get into a situation where they’re around other athletes like them and now you’ve got to compete. Learning how to do that is very difficult sometimes. Some guys will see the mountain too high to climb and decide to go somewhere else.”
Malcome, from Southwest DeKalb High, is the third tailback to depart since last season, joining Ealey and King, but Richt did not close the door on him returning.
“If Ken came to me tomorrow and said `Coach, I lost my mind I’m sorry and I’d love to come back and compete here at Georgia,’ I’d hug his neck and say come on,” Richt said.
The redshirt freshman had dropped to fifth-string on the depth chart this season behind Isaiah Crowell, Richard Samuel, Carlton Thomas and former walk-on Brandon Harton.
Malcome was bothered by a groin injury and sustained a concussion last season and had trouble staying on the practice field this season.
His only carry this year went for no gain against Coastal Carolina.
Owens did not practice this week after not playing against Ole Miss. He had two tackles in three games this season after making six tackles last year. Owens was academically ineligible for the Liberty Bowl.
Robinson in line for limited action
Inside linebacker Christian Robinson is set to return from a chipped bone in his left foot for Saturday’s game against Mississippi State.
Robinson was injured in the fourth quarter against South Carolina on Sept. 10.
He said he figures he would get in for “15 to 20 plays at the most,” but doesn’t think he’ll be “the main guy,” at the position.
Amarlo Herrera and Mike Gilliard started at inside linebacker last week.
“Even if I’m not moving like I did the first two games, I feel like I have a good grip on what they’re going to do and it will help me react,” Robinson said.
He added: “I feel better. It’s healing up. I’m strengthening it.”
Tailback Isaiah Crowell woke up Sunday morning with his a sore right wrist.
He practiced Wednesday with a wrap on what he said is a sprain.
“I just didn’t want it to get any worse so that’s why I had something on it to cover it up,” he said.
Crowell said he can still tuck the ball normally.
“It’s all right,” he said. “I’m good now.”
Richt said he expects receiver Marlon Brown (ankle) to play, but receiver Rantavious Wooten (concussion) is expected to miss his second straight game. Offensive guard Chris Burnette (knee) missed practice again Wednesday, but Richt said he “is making progress.”
Focus still close to home
The addition of Texas A&M to the SEC will allow Georgia to have more of a presence recruiting in the state of Texas, Richt said, but the Bulldogs focus will remain in its own backyard.
“Georgia’s what we’re going to recruit the most,” Richt said. “We’ve traditionally recruited Georgia and every state that touches us and is within striking distance of us. That’s where you really get most of your success because guys do in the end want to play near the people that love them.”
Former Bulldogs quarterback Matthew Stafford is from Dallas.
This and that
Receiver Malcolm Mitchell had a hamstring tighten during Wednesday’s practice and Richt said “we decided not to push it.” … Due to unclaimed student tickets, Georgia will put 300 remaining tickets for Saturday’s game on sale this morning at 9. They are $45 each and available at 706-542-1231 or Georgiadogs.com.