ATHENS — Warrants for Georgia senior receiver Demetris Robertson were issued earlier this week on the felony charge of interference with government property and the misdemeanor charge of theft by taking, according to the University of Georgia Police Department log.
Robertson is in trouble after an investigation into the theft of a parking boot in the East Campus Deck between 11:30 p.m. on Feb. 5 and 8 a.m. last Monday, of which he is the alleged perpetrator, as reported by the UGA Parking Services.
The former 5-star receiver from Savannah Christian has struggled to get on track at Georgia after transferring back to his home state following his FWAA Freshman All-American season at Cal in 2016.
Robertson’s football future was in doubt after he caught just 12 passes for 110 yards last season, losing his starting job for most of the 2020 season.
Robertson started in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in what many thought might be his last game. He had just 1 catch for 4 yards, a reflection of his bleak NFL prospects.
Georgia appears loaded with young talent at the receiver position entering the 2021 season, many of them having passed by Robertson on the depth chart with their speed, size and catching ability.
The Bulldogs receiver room has had recent attrition, as junior Matt Landers has transferred to Toledo and junior Trey Blount is now at Old Dominion.
Many were surprised to see junior Tommy Bush still on the updated roster. Bush, a former 4-star, Top 200 national player per 247Sports, has caught just one pass and played in only three games in three years.
Robertson, many thought, would be headed to the transfer portal after 2020 in search of a school where he could start and get multiple targets to enhance his pro prospects.
But Coach Kirby Smart has been loyal to Robertson, defending him when questions about his relative lack of productivity have emerged.
“Look, y’all put all this hype and pressure on D-Rob, D-Rob practices hard each day,” Smart said midway through the 2018 season. “Y’all have made the kid where it’s like, ‘what’s wrong with D-Rob?’ D-Rob works to get better.
“D-Rob is in a receiver room full of guys that block, catch, run, play special teams, and he’s doing the same thing they are.”
But, Smart explained, “He’s got to out-compete the guys in front of him, he’s got to block, he’s got to know the plays and run them, he’s got to be better than the guys in front of him.”
The same holds true 2 1/2 years later, and Smart and the UGA staff have obviously put enough faith in Robertson to bring him back despite the Bulldogs having priority needs at other positions.
Smart, who recruited Robertson back to his ninth grade year, recently explained the high expectations many Georgia fans and media have had for Robertson were unfair.
“He’s a kid that probably came in with unrealistic expectations, which I think is so unfair and causes these kids so much undo, unrest,” Smart said late this season.
“What happens is all the people around them and all the support elements they have, their family, friends, put this pressure on them,” he said. ” D-Rob did nothing to deserve that. All he does is work really hard for us. He’s a good football player and been really helpful and even more recently started to make some more plays. We are hoping he can continue to do that.”
Robertson, who was the nation’s No. 1-rated receiver in the 2016 class, caught 50 passes for 767 yards as a freshman at Cal.
But that was in the Pac-12, not in the SEC, and the Golden Bears offense was very different than the one UGA had when Robertson arrived.
Robertson was still recovering from the surgery that ended his 2017 season at Cal when he arrived at Georgia for the 2018 season. Having missed spring drills, Robertson was not physically ready to compete with what was then a deep and physical UGA receiving corps
“It was difficult,” Robertson said last season, reflecting on his first year in Athens. “I took a couple of months off, so, me being in shape… and how coach Smart and his standard of practicing and executing, I wasn’t up to par with that.”
Though he was granted a waiver for immediate eligibility, he failed to catch a pass in the nine games he played that season.
Robertson appeared to turn the corner in the 2019 season, catching 30 passes for 333 yards and 3 TDs, being named the co-winner of the team’s Offensive Most Improved Player award.
There were great hopes with new offensive coordinator Todd Monken’s arrival, as the Bulldogs’ current offense utilizes Air Raid principles, spreading the field more and adding value for a smaller, faster receiver like Robertson.
Instead, 2020 represented a statistical regression, as Robertson played in 10 games but had just 12 catches.
Georgia likely made the decision to keep Robertson on the roster for 2021 hoping he would provide some senior leadership in addition to turning himself into a draftable NFL prospect by applying his veteran knowledge and skills on the field.
UGA is scheduled to open spring drills on March 16, with the annual G-Day Game Scheduled for April 17.