Dave Tulis/Associated Press
Jeremy Pruitt will face issues in the secondary in his first season at Georgia.
As previously mentioned, Todd Grantham didn’t exactly endear himself to Georgia fans last fall. So there were few tears shed when he left for Louisville and was replaced by Jeremy Pruitt, fresh off a BCS National Championship as Florida State’s defensive coordinator.
However, the change that swept Pruitt into Athens was followed by change, change and more change.
The Bulldogs lost 31 starts from what was a young secondary in 2013 for a variety of reasons. Safety Josh Harvey-Clemons, a former 5-star recruit, was dismissed in mid-February for “an unspecified violation of team rules,” and safety Tray Matthews was dismissed for similar reasons in early June, with coach Mark Richt telling The Macon Telegraph, “we are trying to make room for guys who want to do things right.”
Harvey-Clemons joined Grantham at Louisville, as did cornerback Shaq Wiggins. Matthews will transfer to Auburn, which is ironic since he, along with Harvey-Clemons, failed to bat down the ball caught for the Tigers’ miraculous victory over UGA at Jordan-Hare Stadium last November.
Both Harvey-Clemons and Matthews were facing disciplinary issues. Harvey-Clemons would’ve served a three-game suspension to start the season due to his second violation of UGA’s student-athlete drug policy, while Matthews was arrested, along with four other UGA players, after he tried to cash scholarship checks on multiple locations, doubling the checks’ value. He received pretrial intervention in the case earlier this month.
However, the cupboard isn’t bare in Georgia’s secondary. A pair of returning starters in cornerback Damian Swann and safety Corey Moore return, while tailback J.J. Green has moved to corner and receiver Tramel Terry has moved to safety. Incoming defensive back recruits Malkom Parrish and safety Shattle Feteng are also well-thought-of players.
Beyond the secondary, seven defensive starters return, led by senior linebacker Ramik Wilson, who's considered one of the SEC’s best linebackers.
However, the questions in the secondary could mean a step back before a step forward for the Bulldogs defense, which could lead to some growing pains for Pruitt in Athens.