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It has been a long time since we have seen Deangelo Gibbs (8) on the field in uniform with the Georgia Bulldogs. The latest developments indicate that he'll be back in the fold this fall.

About Roquan Smith’s perp, Deangelo Gibbs’ return and those scholarship numbers

Chip Towers

ATHENS — It has been another eventful week for Georgia athletics, and that’s saying something still early in May. But there never seems to be a dull moment for the Bulldogs, and that definitely has been the case this past week.

Let’s review.

Roquan’s perp identified

Roquan Smith got his stuff back, and now the Athens-Clarke County Police finally can tell us who they think took it.

This is the booking photo of Landyn Shane Durham provided by Athens-Clarke County Jail on Friday.

That’d be Landyn Shane Durham, 20, of Athens. He’s currently listed as a UGA student, according to the registrar’s office, but I’m just guessing that won’t be the case much longer.

Never mind that Durham is facing three felony theft/entering auto charges. If proven guilty — and based on Athens-Clarke County’s police work, it sounds like they’ve got this kid dead to rights — I’d imagine that might impact his status as a UGA student in good standing. There is a separate judiciary process for UGA students accused of felonies. But regardless, I would imagine Durham’s general safety and well-being might be jeopardized now that everybody knows who he is.

Can you imagine the looks this kid would get when a professor takes roll at the beginning of a semester? I’m not sure if he goes by Landyn or Shane, but I’d consider reverting from one to another if he remains at UGA this fall.

Anyway, in case you missed it — and how could you? — Durham turned himself in to the Athens-Clarke County Jail at 10:51 p.m. Thursday after he was served warrants that were signed earlier in the day. He was released at 2:14 a.m. Friday, just 3 hours and 23 minutes later, on $32,200 in bonds. That all this occurred in the middle of the night was likely no coincidence.

During the course of the investigation, police learned of a second car break-in the same night at The Mark apartments parking deck, according to Officer Epifanio Rodriguez. That vehicle, which also was unlocked, belonged to a UGA lacrosse player named Austin Eiseman, who had his UGA jersey taken as well as several other items. The jersey was also recovered during a search of Durham’s residence.

So this kid has a Butkus Award-winning linebacker, a lacrosse player and all of DawgNation mad at him. Methinks a transfer is inevitable.

The return of Deangelo Gibbs

While UGA might lose that student, it gained another one this week. As first reported by the Athens Banner-Herald, Deangelo Gibbs is back in school. Or, to be accurate, I should say that he will be.

The UGA registrar’s office confirmed Friday that the beleaguered Georgia safety is registered for summer semester classes. They couldn’t say whether that was for the May mini-semester or regular summer session classes that start in June. In any case, this very good news for your Georgia Bulldogs, or potentially could be.

Coach Kirby Smart has never fully elaborated on Gibbs’ status, other than to say he was still considered a member of the team. But that was more than a little in question as Gibbs was not enrolled in school spring semester and, likewise, didn’t participate in spring football practice.

This was no small thing, considering that Gibbs is a former 5-star prospect who happens to play a position at which the Bulldogs desperately need help. Lest we forget, Gibbs was working with Georgia’s No. 1 defense at the crucial Star defensive back position as an early enrollee last spring. Accordingly, he entered last fall considered a potential starter.

Then the oddest thing happened. Gibbs went from playing in the first game and six of the first eight to not playing or even traveling with the team in the last seven. His status with the team has been a question ever since.

There have been rumors aplenty as to why Gibbs wasn’t enrolled spring semester. Regardless, we know now that he had surgery on his left shoulder in December. Gibbs has been rehabilitating from that procedure in the five months since. Getting cleared from that injury is thought to be the reason for the tweet Gibbs posted earlier this week.

We soon should have a better idea what all that means. On the surface, it indicates that the Bulldogs will have a rather high-profile addition to their defensive backfield competition when preseason camp opens. But the ball is in Gibbs’ court, as the saying goes.

It’s really critical that this 6-foot-1, 208-pound athlete from Grayson make the best of his latest opportunity. There were a lot of rumblings last fall about Gibbs’ attitude and other unverifiable factors that may or may not have kept him off the field before the injury. In the meantime, the Bulldogs have continued to aggressively recruit defensive backs, which currently account for more scholarship allocations on Georgia’s roster (17) than any other position.

At this point, Gibbs is behind most of those guys when it comes to on-the-field training. If he wishes to not get passed over, then Gibbs needs to make up for lost time. That will start with summer workouts, in which he can now participate.

Bulldogs get numbers right

Speaking of scholarship numbers, as a result of the recent comings and goings of players, it appears the Bulldogs are now safely under the NCAA maximum of 85 scholarships. That’s a good thing since that’s a requirement by the time the remaining 17 members of the 2018 recruiting class enroll the first of June.

By my count, Georgia should be at a total of 84 scholarships. This is assuming that a couple of medical disqualifications are imminent. I’m expecting that for punter Marshall Long, who announced earlier this week that he had recently undergone a third knee surgery. And Smart indicated last month that a similar outcome was possible for senior receiver Michael Chigbu.

If that is indeed the case, this how I count Georgia’s scholarship distribution for the coming season:

  • 17 defensive backs (9 corners, 8 safeties)
  • 14 offensive linemen (7 guards, 5 tackles, 2 centers)
  • 11 wide receivers
  • 8 inside linebackers
  • 7 outside linebackers
  • 5 tight ends
  • 5 defensive tackles
  • 5 running backs
  • 4 defensive ends
  • 4 nose guards
  • 2 quarterbacks
  • 2 kicking specialists
  • 84 total

That’s unofficial, of course. And, as we all can attest, Smart and the Bulldogs always seem to surprise with one or two additions we didn’t see coming. Stay tuned.

Can’t wait to see what happens next week.