‘Won’t stop’ is tattooed on his left.
That ‘don’t give up’ attitude meant enough to the redshirt sophomore safety for him to have it permanently marked on his body.
Despite that mentality literally travelling with Deas everywhere he goes he did stop playing for a week during Georgia’s spring practice.
“I admit at the beginning I was a little selfish,” he said.
A native of Kissimmee, Fla., Deas appeared in all 14 games last season, recording three tackles while playing mostly on special teams. This offseason was rough on a secondary that had previously been teaming with depth. Two members were dismissed and three others suspended games for the upcoming season.
Still, Deas wasn’t happy with his standing on the depth chart and started wondering if he stood a better chance for playing time elsewhere.
After wrestling with the decision Deas approached coach Mark Richt on March 30 to ask for his release.
“It was hard for me already because I love the school and it’s a good program,” he said.
Richt was supportive for the get go. He told Deas about his own struggles as a backup quarterback at Miami, about how he, too, had labored with the same thoughts of transferring.
“I can’t even describe just how much appreciation I have for him and his program,” Deas said. “He’s willing to help me and guide me while I wanted to leave.”
Deas was granted a release the following day.
He stayed away from the team for a week, but remained in Athens. He didn’t practice and worked out by himself. Schools began to contact him, but Deas didn’t feel right after having numerous conversations with other coaches.
“It was like, can I trust this guy?” Deas said. “Is he telling me lies? It was really a difficult process to go through.”
Deas also stayed in contact with his Georgia teammates. Tight end Arthur Lynch had previously come close to transferring and had some perspective on the situation. He told Deas to call him if he needed advice.
“It’s one of those things where you’ve got to trust yourself, your family and your faith,” Lynch said. “It comes down to basically a gut feeling. Hopefully it will work out.”
A week after deciding to quit, Deas attended a cookout with several Georgia players. The guys were talking about what had happened earlier in the day during the team’s second scrimmage of the spring. There were a lot of jokes, laughs and smiles.
Deas felt at home again, felt comfortable. He also felt guilt for leaving.
“That’s when I realized this is where I need to be,” he said. “Like God put me in this place and I shouldn’t worry and try to force myself into decisions I’m not sure about.”
And so a trip back to Richt’s office was scheduled. During his time off Deas acknowledged he was being impatient. He was looking out for only his own interest – which is understandable, but in Deas’ mind wasn’t the right way to live.
“I had to sit back, look at myself and try to better myself and better my team and help out,” he said. “Whatever I can do to try to help out win a national championship because that’s what we want to do.”
Richt welcomed Deas back with open arms, and he returned to practice earlier this week.
“It shows something to the recruits,” Deas said. “They’re going to have a comfort level going to a place where they have somebody they can trust. It’s real genuine. I feel like that really stands out.”
As for what role and how much playing time is in store for Deas going forward doesn’t seem to matter as much as it did just a few weeks ago. He’s happy to be at practice and knowing that he’ll be at the next team cookout.
“Everyone in this program becomes a family,” he said. “I really didn’t know what I had until I stepped away from the program. I feel like it’s a blessing to be accepted back, not just by coach Richt and my coaches, but my teammates and everybody.”