Georgia Football: Who Will Replace Tray Matthews in the Starting Lineup?

Brian JonesContributor IJune 3, 2014

Georgia safety Tray Matthews (28) celebrates after their 44-41 win over LSU in an NCAA football game, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
John Bazemore/Associated Press

Things have gone from bad to worse when it comes to the Georgia Bulldogs secondary. It was announced today that Tray Matthews has been dismissed from the team by Mark Richt, according to Seth Emerson of the Macon Telegraph. Matthews did confirm this on his Twitter account but would not elaborate on why he is leaving Athens.

This could not come at a worse time for the Bulldogs. Richt recently kicked Josh Harvey-Clemons off the team, and shortly after that, Shaq Wiggins decided he was going to transfer. Both players have transferred to Louisville.

So the question now is who is going to take the place of the sophomore? 

Tray Matthews: "I'm leaving. I can't really talk about that right now. But all I can confirm is I'm leaving."

— UGA Football News (@UGAfootballLive) June 3, 2014

That is an interesting question because the depth at the safety position is very thin. Quincy Mauger is the top backup, and he’s likely going to be the No. 1 free safety when preseason practice begins. Like Matthews, Mauger is a true sophomore that played in all 13 games and started in seven of them. He recorded 42 tackles, one interception and one forced fumble.

Having Mauger starting is fine because he has experience. However, when it comes to his backup, the options are not very plentiful.

Jan 1, 2014; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs free safety Quincy Mauger (20) tries to tackle Nebraska Cornhuskers wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (18) as he runs the ball after a catch for a touchdown during the second half at EverBank Field . Mandator

Lucas Redd would be the next option. The senior has only played in 12 games his entire career, and all of them came last season. He was a member of the scout team in 2012 and in 2011.

Another option is Tramel Terry, who played wide receiver last season. Terry took the redshirt last year because he was recovering from a knee injury.

When it comes to newcomers, there is only one signee that is a true safety. Dominick Sanders from Tucker, Ga., is not as big as Matthews, but he has the ability to make plays, which is something defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt is looking for. In fact, this may be a very good thing for Sanders because Richt told Gentry Estes of 247 Sports (subscription needed) that every position in the secondary is wide open, and it’s a good time to be a young defensive back at Georgia.

But no matter how young the players they have out there are, there will have to be some adjustments made in the secondary. J.J. Green, who played running back last season, was listed as the No. 1 strong safety this spring. There could be a chance he could move to free safety and have Corey Moore play strong. Another option is have Brendan Langley move back to defense and be a backup to both safety positions.

Right now, it’s too early to tell what will be the next move for Mark Richt’s crew. But if there is one thing that is certain, Richt wants the players that are going to do the right things on and off the field, and he won’t hesitate to tell players to hit the road if they don’t agree.