Julian Rochester soon could be cleared to play in 1st game

Freshman Julian Rochester has been getting work with the No. 1 defense at tackle. SPECIAL / JOSHUA L. JONES

ATHENS – While the case has not been formally wrapped up yet, indications are that Georgia defensive lineman Julian Rochester will no longer face felony charges for the BB gun shooting incident.

If the case is closed by the end of this month, that would potentially free up Rochester to play in the season opener Sept. 3 against North Carolina. The freshman from Powder Springs has been running first-team defensive tackle in the absence of junior John Atkins, who is currently sidelined with a minor knee injury,

Rochester’s lawyer, Kim Stephens, said Monday he is in final discussions with the district attorney’s office to have the player receive pre-trial intervention (PTI).

“We hope to get it handled very soon,” Stephens said. “It’s more a discussion of the terms and conditions now.”

The PTI would result in the charge, which had been classified as a felony, being dismissed. If PTI is fulfilled, the charges would be expunged from Rochester’s record.

The same goes for Chad Clay, the defensive back who was charged in the same incident. Clay was dismissed by Georgia in June after an arrest on a theft by taking charge, and has subsequently transferred to a junior college.

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart has not announced any discipline for Rochester, apparently because the case was still unresolved. But Stephens said “my understanding is (Rochester has) already resolved” what he needs to with UGA.

Rochester and Clay were each charged with two felonies, as UGA police detailed damage from BB gun shots in and adjacent to their dorm rooms.

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