“He kind of took some of the same steps that I took throughout little league, throughout middle school, throughout high school,” Swann said. “The kid had a bright future.”
Swann will return to the Atlanta area today for Turman’s funeral.
De’Antre “Tre Tre” Turman died after sustaining a spinal cord injury in a preseason game while playing for Creekside High on Aug. 16.
The 16-year old junior fractured vertebrae in his upper spinal cord, investigators in the Fulton County’s Medical Examiner’s office told the Associated Press.
The funeral will be in Austell. Swann said he’ll be excused from practice.
Swann, who played at Grady High, and Turman both grew up around Ben Hill Recreation Center. Swann said he first knew Turman when he was about six and Swann was 10.
“I used to mentor `Tre Tre,” Swann said Friday. “We played at the same park and he always grew up under me. I used to watch him play all the time. …We communicated often, we talked a lot. It was one of those things that was really hard for me when I did get the phone call or when I did wake up to all those missed calls the next morning.”
Swann tweeted last Saturday morning: “Today was the first time I shed tears in a while.”
Swann said he views what happened to a player he called “my brother” as a freak accident. Turman reportedly had a scholarship offer from Kentucky.
“They said it was just a routine tackle, heads up and it was something that just happened,” Swann said. “It’s kind of hard to think about because it kind of brings fear into people and it makes people have injuries playing scared. That’s how a lot of people get hurt.”
Georgia freshman cornerback Shaq Wiggins, from Sandy Creek, also grew up around Ben Hill, where hundreds came Sunday for a vigil.
“God,” Swann said, “has a plan for everybody.”
Richt: `Good chance' Matthews will play
Safety Tray Matthews didn’t practice again Friday, but Richt said the freshman’s hamstring injury shouldn’t keep the freshmen out of the opener.
Does Richt have confident that he’ll be able get plugged in and get the job done in the secondary?
“Part of it is going to be determined on when he actually does get back and how many reps he gets prior to the kickoff,” Richt said. “We hope he’s healthy enough to play and we think they’ll be a good chance of that, but how much practice time prior to that, I don’t know what he’s going to get.”
Safety Corey Moore (knee) remains out. Shaquille Fluker (groin strain/illness) practiced in a non-contact jersey.
Theus taking push from Houston in stride
John Theus figured when Kolton Houston rejoined the offensive line mix when it was determined he was eligible to play, he would find a spot somewhere on the line.
Turns out it’s at Theus’ right tackle position, where they are sharing first-team practice reps.
“Everybody wants to play every down, there’s no doubt about that,” Theus said. “A competitor is going to want to play every down, but then you sit back and look at it, if you’ve got a rotation going, whether you’re in 20 percent of the reps or 80 percent of the reps, you’re fresher.”
Theus said he wouldn’t’ be surprised to play both right tackle and right guard against Clemson. He is getting first and second-team reps at right guard to spell starter Chris Burnette, who’s coming back from shoulder surgery.
This and that
A Marshall Morgan suspension for the Clemson game for his boating under the influence arrest could put more pressure on the offense in field goal range with a new kicker. “I’m not too worried about that,” receiver Malcolm Mitchell said. “Our kicker, I believe in him. I think he’ll hit it without a doubt. So I don’t think there’s any pressure when it comes down to that. If we get that close, we might as well get the most points.” Richt hasn’t said Morgan is indeed suspended and Mitchell didn’t mention which kicker he was referring to, but Adam Erickson is considered a top candidate.
Mitchell said he will return kickoffs and split punt returns with Damian Swann.
Richt on Auburn starting quarterback Nick Marshall, a defensive back at Georgia who was dismissed after being accused of stealing money from another student: “I like Nick. I hope has success other than our game. I like the kid.”
Richt reiterated that Leonard Floyd is poised for plenty of playing time, perhaps in a starting role at outside linebacker.
It’s not too early for Richt to start looking at the forecast for the opener, a week from today at 8 p.m. in Clemson. “It looks like during pregame warmup, it could still be in the low 80s and still be very humid,” Rich said. “Even if it’s 78 degrees, that’s still relatively warm if you add the humidity to it. It will test everybody.” Georgia practiced with temperatures in the lower 90s on Friday. “It’s practice 23 and that was the second day that we had that was actually hot,” Richt said.
Georgia practices Saturday morning and then has Sunday off before holding its last full pads practice before the opener on Monday.