Hebron, an 18-year-old who signed with the Bulldogs in 2006 out of Gaithersburg, Md., was arrested at 4:40 a.m. Sunday and charged with underage possession of alcohol. He was briefly detained at the Clarke County jail. His arrest put him in violation of an Athletic Association policy that calls for automatic suspension from 10 percent of his team’s games, or 1.2 games next year, and head coach Mark Richt rounded that up to a full two games.
“We regard this as a serious matter,” Richt said in a statement released through the school. “There are team rules as well as civic laws that have to be adhered to. Akeem will have to pay a price, and hopefully he has learned a lesson that will serve him not only during his college career but for the rest of his life.”
Hebron also will face internal team discipline and be required to perform community service. The incident comes at a bad time for Hebron, who was a USA Today first team and Parade Magazine first team All-American at Good Counsel High School.
The Bulldogs lost three senior linebackers from the 2006 team and will be looking for new faces when spring practice begins Monday. Hebron, a 6-foot-1, 220-pound speedster who redshirted in 2006, is listed as the second-team weakside linebacker heading into spring drills. Now he will have to wait until after the Sept. 1 Oklahoma State and Sept. 8 South Carolina games to get into the mix.
According to a report by the University of Georgia police department, which made the arrests, a UGA police officer was told by a “concerned citizen” that three men who appeared to be drunk were trying to get into the Butts-Mehre Building, which houses the Bulldogs’ locker room as well as offices for its football coaches and athletic administration. When the officer responded, he saw a green GMC Sierra pull into the Butts-Mehre parking lot, and when he approached that car, three men came out a side door of the Butts-Mehre building.
The officer smelled alcohol, the report stated, and charged the driver, Michael D. Smith, with DUI, underage possession of alcohol and possession of a fraudulent identification. Smith was identified as a visitor to the university. Hebron and fellow students Talmadge C. Everett and Rubert T. Bennett were charged with underage possession of alcohol.