ATHENS — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart indicated disciplinary issues that cropped up this spring will be “handled the right way.”
The Bulldogs had four players arrested on various misdemeanor charges between Feb. 28 and March 24.
“Obviously, I’m extremely disappointed,” Smart said on Tuesday, after the Bulldogs’ fourth spring practice. “There’s a standard of behavior that’s expected of student athletes at the University of Georgia.”
The Bulldogs are allowed 15 spring practices including the annual G-Day scrimmage at 2 p.m. on April 20.
The four UGA players who have been arrested this offseason are:
• Redshirt sophomore DB Latavious Brini, Miami Gardens, Fla.
• Redshirt sophomore LB Jaden Hunter, Atlanta
• Freshman DB Tyrique Stevenson, Homestead, Fla.
• Senior WR Tyler Simmons, Powder Springs, Ga.
All four players have continued to practice with the team.
Stevenson and Simmons were involved in the most recent incident — which remains under investigation — in the early Sunday morning hours at The Cloud Bar in Athens.
Both players were charged with disorderly conduct last Sunday after what Athens-Clarke County police referred to as a “chaotic” scene that spilled out into the street.
Smart said there were other players at the bar when a skirmish broke out, but it’s his understanding Stevenson and Simmons were the only two involved.
The players did not go to the establishment together, though they ended up there at the same time.
“My concerns are the decisions that are made to put yourself in that situation,” Smart said. “When you go downtown you’ve got to behave. You’ve got to act the right way and be law-abiding citizens. That’s the expectations we have for our players, and to be honest with you, most of our guys do that.
“But when they don’t, we’re going to try to correct it, and we’re going to try to do it the educational way.”
Simmons was taken to the hospital for injuries after he was allegedly involved in the bar fight. Smart said the injury could be related to his ear, but he indicated it won’t affect him at practice.
Stevenson, one of 22 UGA players who earned a 5-star recruiting ranking, is an early enrollee from Miami Southridge High School.
Hunter, the son of the late Bulldogs’ legend Brice Hunter, was arrested last Wednesday for illegally stopping, standing or parking a vehicle and driving with a suspended/revoked license.
Brini’s arrest on Feb. 28 was for simple battery, after he allegedly slapped a South Carolina man outside of the Silver Dollar Bar in downtown Athens.
Smart issued a statement after the Brini incident saying “This type of behavior is extremely disappointing and not representative of the standards for our football student-athletes. His discipline will be handled internally and hopefully good lessons will be learned that will lead to better choices moving forward.”
Georgia is considered among the favorites to win the SEC in 2019, bringing back a veteran offensive line, a third-year starting quarterback in Jake Fromm and a 1,000-yard rusher in D’Andre Swift.
The defense, while lacking the apparent star power of a returning first-team All-SEC pick, features eight players in its front seven with starting experience.
Georgia also features one of the top returning safety duos in the league in senior J.R. Reed and junior Richard LeCounte.
Leadership, however, has been a question with 10 starters having departed for the NFL, including four underclassmen and three of the four permanent captains from the 2018 season.
Fromm is the only returning permanent captain, with seniors Lamont Gaillard and Jonathan Ledbetter, along with junior Elijah Holyfield, aiming for the 2019 NFL draft.