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Georgia coach Kirby Smart spoke on Jamie Newman's news.

Kirby Smart issues official statement on Jamie Newman opt out

Jamie Newman sent shockwaves around the college football world on Wednesday when he announced that he would be opting out of the 2020 season to prepare for the 2020 NFL Draft.

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart has now issued an official statement on the matter, thanking Newman for his time with the program.

“One of the guiding principles of both the SEC and UGA return-to-play protocols has been the health and safety of our student-athletes” Smart said.  “We have emphasized continually that any student-athlete who decides to opt-out because of health and/or safety concerns related to COVID-19 would be fully supported to include honoring scholarships, access to academic facilities, etc., and would remain in good standing with the team.

“While we will miss him being part of our program, I fully support Jamie’s decision and we will continue to regard him as a Georgia Bulldog.  Certainly, we wish him nothing but the best in his quest for an NFL career and he knows he will always have a home at UGA.”

Related: Closer look: Georgia quarterback Jamie Newman opting out for NFL draft

Newman announced his decision on social media earlier on Wednesday, that after just 12 practices and a single scrimmage, his time at Georgia had come to a close.

“With much prayer and discussion with my family, I would like to announce that due to the uncertainties of this year amid a global pandemic I will officially opt-out of this football season to prepare for the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft,” Newman said. “I would like to thank Coach Smart for extending the opportunity for me to be a part of the University of Georgia football program.”

Without Newman, Georgia has four scholarship quarterbacks, with JT Daniels, D’Wan Mathis, Stetson Bennett and Carson Beck vying for the starting quarterback job. Daniels does have the most starting experience, as he started 12 games for USC. But he also has the least amount of time in the program, as he transferred to Georgia in July. He is also coming off an ACL injury that he has not yet been fully cleared from.

In addition to a new quarterback to replace Jake Fromm, the Bulldogs also have a new offensive coordinator in Todd Monken. He will be calling plays this year and taking over for James Coley after the Bulldogs struggled on offense in 2019.

Newman arrived at Georgia in January after transferring from Wake Forest. He had been pegged as a potential first-round draft pick, but those projections were based on a strong season at Georgia.

The Bulldogs will now have just over three weeks to find a starting quarterback, as their first game is set for Sept. 26 against Arkansas.

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