Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter (88) and Georgia linebacker Nolan Smith (4) run a drill during UGA Pro Day in Athens, Ga., on Wednesday, March 15, 2023.

News Joshua L Jones

Jalen Carter pleads no contest to charges from accident

Former Georgia defensive lineman and potential high NFL draft pick Jalen Carter pleaded no contest Thursday to misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing, his attorney told ESPN.

Carter was sentenced to 12 months of probation, a $1,000 fine and 80 hours of community service. He also will attend a state-approved defensive driving course.

Per his attorney Kim Stephens, the resolution of the matter means the state is forever barred from bringing additional charges against Carter.

“We are happy that we were able to work with the solicitor general’s office to reach a resolution that was fair and just based on the evidence in this case,” Stephens told ESPN. “Mr. Carter continues to grieve for the loss of his friends and continues to pray for their families, as well as for the continued healing for injured friends.”

Carter was arrested and booked during the week of the combine in connection with the Jan. 15 fatal crash that claimed the lives of Bulldogs offensive lineman Devin Willock and football staff member Chandler LeCroy.

Police said LeCroy’s SUV was traveling 104 mph when it veered off the road and hit two power poles and several trees. Police said her blood alcohol level was .197, approximately 2 1/2 times the legal limit in Georgia.

“If the investigation had determined otherwise, Mr. Carter would have been charged with the far more serious offenses of vehicular homicide and serious injury by vehicle under Georgia law, both felony offenses, and would have faced a lengthy prison sentence,” Stephens said in a statement to ESPN.

The 6-foot-3 Carter was a unanimous All-American in 2022 and led the Bulldogs to back-to-back College Football Playoff championships.

–Field Level Media

Jan 14, 2023; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs offensive lineman Sedrick Van Pran (63) and defensive back Christopher Smith (29) and quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) speak at the national championship celebration at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia QB Stetson Bennett on arrest: ‘I know better’

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett apologized to his family and said he’s being honest in meetings with NFL teams this week about his public intoxication arrest on Jan. 29.

The former walk-on is viewed as an NFL longshot with limited athleticism, size and arm strength by pro standards and despite winning two national championships as the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback, his path to the NFL is off to a rocky start.

Bennett was arrested on public intoxication charges and turned down an invitation to the top pre-draft prospect showcase, the Senior Bowl, leaving NFL general managers to scratch their heads about the 25-year-old’s priorities.

“It was a mistake that everybody’s aware of,” Bennett said Friday at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. “I understand why that can’t happen. I’ve talked to coaches about it, talked to GMs. Apologized to my family. That’s who I feel worst about. I felt like I let them down, because no matter where I go now — and even without all of this — I’ve got an obligation. I’m the fourth (Bennett named Stetson). Can’t do that if your last name is Bennett, and I know better.”

Bennett was a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2022 and rose to prominence because of his humble beginnings as a walk-on in Athens who fled for junior college only to return and claim the starting role. Bennett is one of at least nine Georgia players arrested in the past 14 months, but said individual decisions and not a culture issue are the problem.

“Those were individual mistakes that those individuals are responsible for. Not a culture issue,” Bennett said Friday.

Maturity wasn’t one of the issues scouts anticipated with Bennett — he’ll be 26 in October, the same age as Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson — and decision-making, at a position where each split-second call can be make-or-break, is one of the qualities Colts head coach Shane Steichen said was a must for quarterbacks.

Bennett isn’t flying solo in Indianapolis with 13 Georgia players in attendance. He’s also one of five Southeastern Conference quarterbacks invited to the combine, which offered spots to only 15 total quarterbacks.

Based on Field Level Media rankings, Bennett is projected to be picked in the final two rounds of the draft or become a priority free agent. Bryce Young (Alabama), Will Levis (Kentucky), Anthony Richardson (Florida) and Hendon Hooker (Tennessee) are projected as first- or second-round picks.

–Field Level Media

Jan 9, 2023; Inglewood, CA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs defensive lineman Jalen Carter (88) against the TCU Horned Frogs during the CFP national championship game at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia DT Jalen Carter leaves Combine, facing warrant in fatal crash

On the cusp of the biggest moment of his life, Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter faces arrest warrants for reckless driving and racing in connection with the Jan. 15 fatal crash that claimed the life of Bulldogs offensive lineman Devin Willock and football department staffer Chandler LeCroy.

Both charges are misdemeanors punishable by up to $1000 fine and one year in jail.

Carter, 21, was interviewed by police and told authorities he wasn’t present at the time of the accident, according to the report.

But details of the arrest warrant, citing video recorded before the crash, allege Carter was the driver of a 2021 Jeep Trailhawk that pushed LeCroy, who was driving a 2021 Ford Expedition, to speeds exceeding 100 mph.

“The investigation found that (Carter and LeCroy) were operating their vehicles in a manner consistent with racing shortly after leaving the downtown Athens area at about 2:30 AM,” the warrant from Athens-Clarke County Policy Department said Wednesday. “The evidence demonstrated that both vehicles switched between lanes, drove in the center turn lane, drove in the opposite lanes of travel, overtook other motorists, and drove at high rates of speed, in an apparent attempt to outdistance each other. Evidence indicate shortly before the crash the Expedition was traveling about 104 miles per hour. The toxicology report indicated that LeCroy’s blood alcohol concentration was .197 at the time of the crash. Investigators determined that alcohol impairment, racing, reckless driving and speed were significant contributing factors to the crash.”

The legal blood alcohol concentration limit in Georgia is 0.08 percent.

Police said the case was given to the Solicitor General’s Office on Wednesday.

The report was released just 20 minutes before Carter was scheduled to take the podium in a press conference setting at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. Carter is ranked among the top players in the draft and considered a likely top-5 pick in April.

Carter never took the podium because he reportedly left town on Tuesday night.

He was in Indianapolis on Monday and Tuesday and met with teams in formal interviews before the warrant was issued.

The warrant was issued just as Georgia linebacker Nolan Smith was at a podium in Indianapolis in a press conference. He was asked about the crash that killed Willock, who was a good friend.

That’s my guy,” Smith said before emotions began to overtake him, causing his hands and lips to quiver. “I get sensitive talking about it just because I love him. And he never did anything wrong in his three years. He was supposed to graduate. Most people don’t know his brother passed like that. No one should deserve to die like that.”

Smith shook his head as he continued, banging the lectern and removing his steamed glasses from his face covered in tears.

“Three years in a row, that man showed up (and) worked day in and day out. He’s a two-time natty champ, man. And it’s written in stone. Devin, I love you, baby. Seven-seven (Willock’s jersey number), you living forever. ‘Do it for Dev,’ that’s what I tell them boys at Georgia. ‘You lost a brother. Do it for Dev.’ I’m sorry to get emotional, man.”

Police said Carter also was ticketed in September for driving 89 mph in a 45 mph zone.

–Field Level Media

Jan 14, 2023; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Jamon Dumas-Johnson (10) at the national championship celebration at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia LB Jamon Dumas-Johnson arrested for reckless driving

Georgia All-SEC linebacker Jamon Dumas-Johnson was arrested Wednesday on misdemeanor charges of racing and reckless driving, according to a Clarke County online booking report.

Dumas-Johnson was released from jail roughly 40 minutes after his arrest Wednesday night.

The incident occurred Jan. 10, one day after the Bulldogs routed TCU to win the CFP national championship, according to the University of Georgia online police log, which states two cars were driving in a “reckless manner at high speeds that fled the area upon sign of the officer.”

“We are aware of a report relating to a January 10 incident on College Station Road involving one of our student-athletes,” Georgia said in a statement Wednesday night. “The alleged conduct does not reflect our program’s values or the high standards we have established. As this is an open matter involving a student, we are not able to provide any additional information at this time and will continue to cooperate fully with law enforcement.”

Dumas-Johnson was a finalist for the Butkus Award in 2022, his sophomore season, as the top linebacker in the country. He finished second on the team with 70 tackles last season, leading the Bulldogs in tackles for loss with nine.

He was credited with four tackles in the title game against TCU.

–Field Level Media

Georgia football analyst Mike Bobo speaks with an NFL scout during Georgia's Pro Day in Athens, Ga., on Wednesday, March 16, 2022.

Syndication Online Athens

Georgia names Mike Bobo offensive coordinator

The Georgia Bulldogs wasted no time replacing their offensive coordinator.

Hours after losing Todd Monken to the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, Georgia named former Bulldogs quarterback Mike Bobo its new OC in Athens, Ga.

“We are extremely thankful and appreciative of the three years Todd and his wife, Terri, have spent with our UGA family,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said in a statement.

“I am excited to name Mike Bobo our next Offensive Coordinator. Mike has a decade of experience as a successful SEC play-caller and over 20 years spent at UGA, both as a player and coach. Mike was an excellent addition to our staff last year as an analyst, and we are looking forward to his expanded leadership on the offensive side of the ball,” Smart added.

Bobo threw for 6,334 yards and 38 touchdowns in 38 games as the Georgia QB from 1994-97. He served as quarterbacks coach/OC under Mark Richt from 2001-14 before leaving to become head coach at Colorado State.

He went 28-38 in five seasons at CSU (2015-19), leading them to bowl games — all losses — in his first three seasons.

He served as OC at South Carolina in 2020 and then at Auburn in 2021.

He returned to Georgia in January 2022 as an offensive quality control analyst. Bobo and Smart were four-year teammates at Georgia.

Monken was the architect of an offense that led Georgia to back-to-back national championships. His offense scored 38.6 points per game in 2021 and averaged 41.1 this past season.

–Field Level Media

1. Todd Monken, Georgia offensive coordinator, $2,005,000

Syndication Online Athens

Report: Georgia OC Todd Monken to interview for Bucs’ OC job

Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken will interview for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ open offensive coordinator position on Tuesday, NFL Network reported Monday night.

Monken, 56, previously spent three seasons on Tampa Bay’s coaching staff, serving as the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach in 2016 and 2017 before solely serving as offensive coordinator in 2018. He now has the opportunity to return to his former position in place of Byron Leftwich, who was fired on Jan. 19.

NFL Network reported Monday that the Buccaneers had significant interest in hiring former Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore for the role, but the Los Angeles Chargers made him their new offensive coordinator shortly after.

Following his first stint with Tampa Bay, Monken spent one season as the Cleveland Browns’ offensive coordinator before joining Georgia’s staff in 2020. He also served as the Bulldogs’ quarterbacks coach and helped Georgia to two national championships (2021, 2022).

Monken also has head coaching experience, spending three seasons (2013-15) at Southern Miss, where he went 13-25.

After serving as a graduate assistant at Grand Valley State and Notre Dame, Monken has also made stops at Eastern Michigan, Louisiana Tech, Oklahoma State and LSU in addition to a four-season stay with the Jacksonville Jaguars as their wide receivers coach.

–Field Level Media

Jan 9, 2023; Inglewood, CA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) celebrates with the championship trophy after defeating the TCU Horned Frogs during the CFP national championship game at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia’s Stetson Bennett arrested for public intoxication

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett was arrested early Sunday on a charge of public intoxication in Dallas.

Dallas police confirmed that the two-time defending national champion was arrested at about 6 a.m. local time after officers responded to a man banging on doors in the Old East Dallas section of the city.

Officers found Bennett at the scene “and determined he was intoxicated,” according to a police press release.

Bennett, 25, was arrested and taken to a city detention center. Details about his release were not available.

University of Georgia officials have not responded to a request for comment made by Dallas TV station WFAA.

As a senior in 2022, Bennett went 15-0 and passed for 4,127 yards with 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

On Jan. 9, Bennett’s Bulldogs pounded TCU 65-7 to claim their second straight CFP national championship.

He finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting. Earlier this week, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. projected him as a third-round pick in the April 27-29 NFL Draft.

–Field Level Media

1. Todd Monken, Georgia offensive coordinator, Syndication Online Athens

Report: Ravens interview Georgia OC Todd Monken

The Baltimore Ravens interviewed Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken this week about their vacant OC position, NFL Network reported Saturday.

Monken, whose Bulldogs have won back-to-back national championships, is eyeing a return to the NFL and is also scheduled to meet with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, per the report.

Baltimore parted ways with Greg Roman earlier this month after his four seasons as the offensive coordinator. The Ravens finished 10-7 in 2022 and lost to the Cincinnati Bengals in the wild-card round.

Tampa Bay fired offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich after four seasons on the job following the Jan. 16 wild-card playoff loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

Monken, 56, joined Georgia coach Kirby Smart’s staff in 2020 after working as the offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns (2019) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2016-18).

The Bulldogs are 29-1 in the past two seasons. Georgia averaged 41.1 points and 501.1 yards per game during the 2022 season.

–Field Level Media

Memorial and funeral service for Devin Willock, 20 years old, at Community Baptist Church in Englewood, N.J. on Friday Jan. 27, 2023. Willock was a University of Georgia football player and Paramus Catholic football star. He died in a car crash in Georgia on January 15, 2023.

Devin Willock

Georgia: Use of SUV in fatal crash wasn’t authorized

School officials say the use of the SUV involved in an accident that killed a Georgia football player and a recruiting staff member two weeks ago was not authorized.

The university’s athletic association told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the vehicle was to be used only for recruiting activities and that personal use was “strictly prohibited.”

Bulldogs offensive lineman Devin Willock, 20, and recruiting staff member Chandler LeCroy, 24, died in the crash that occurred hours after a parade celebrating the team’s second straight national championship.

Georgia athletic director Josh Brooks confirmed earlier this week that no one riding in the vehicle was on athletic department business.

“The car driven in the accident was one of several vehicles leased by our athletic department for use during recruiting activities only,” the athletic association said in its statement.

“Policies and expectations that were well understood by athletics staff dictated that such rental vehicles were to be turned in at the immediate conclusion of recruiting duties. Personal use was strictly prohibited. Therefore, the continued use of the leased car by our staff members after their recruiting duties ended earlier that evening was unauthorized.”

Another player and staff member were injured in the accident near the campus in Athens, Ga. A police report this week cited excessive speed (64 mph) on a road with a 40-mph speed limit as a primary cause. LeCroy was driving the vehicle.

Per the Athens-Clarke County Police, the accident involving a 2021 Ford Expedition occurred around 2:45 a.m. ET on Jan. 15. The initial investigation found that the SUV left the road and struck two power poles and several trees.

Willock played in 12 games during the 2021 national championship season. The New Jersey native played in all 15 games (two starts) on the offensive line during the 2022 title-winning campaign.

–Field Level Media

Eufaula's Rodarius Thomas (9) runs the ball at Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Ala., on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. Eufaula leads Lanier 28-0 at halftime.

Georgia WR RaRa Thomas facing felony charge

New Georgia wide receiver Rodarius “RaRa” Thomas was arrested Monday on charges of felony false imprisonment and misdemeanor battery-family violence, according to authorities.

Thomas was booked into the Athens-Clarke County jail at 4:04 a.m. ET and is being held without bond, jail officials said. Details of the incident were not immediately available.

The 6-foot-1, 192-pound junior was a high-profile transfer this offseason from Mississippi State, where he led the Bulldogs with 626 receiving yards. He caught 44 passes, including seven touchdowns, in 12 games in 2022.

Thomas, a native of Eufala, Ala., posted 62 catches for 878 yards and 12 touchdowns in two seasons in Starkville.

–Field Level Media