While much of the college football landscape has turned its attention to Cade Mays and what the SEC will do regarding his appeal to play, Otis Reese is still awaiting word on whether or not he will be able to play at Ole Miss.
And Reese went public on Tuesday night discussing his time at Georgia as well as the fact that he claims Georgia is opposing his transfer to Ole Miss.
“The reason I chose to transfer is because my 1 1/2 years at UGA took a devastating mental toll on me,” Reese wrote in a statement released on Twitter. “From my first moments I stepped on campus, it was not what I expected , The Racist events that I kept experiencing weighed on me heavily and seemed never ending.”
Reese added that he texted Georgia coach Kirby Smart on Oct. 4 of 2019 with his intent to leave the Georgia program. Reese claimed that he was “manipulated to play the very next day, when I truly was at my darkest moment.”
Last season Georgia played Tennessee on Oct. 5.
Reese also detailed two alleged incidents of police harassment as well as two events of racism on the Georgia campus.
“None of these things were ever addressed by the coaches at UGA,” Reese wrote in a statement posted on Twitter. “There was literally nobody to speak to about these types of things without having fear of losing your position on the team.”
— O Dog™.. (@otisreese13) September 22, 2020
Reese concluded his note with a plea to play.
“All I am asking for is what is fair and be given the opportunity to take the field this with my brothers,” Reese said.
Reese announced his transfer to Ole Miss in January. He was a 4-star safety in the 2018 signing class from Leesburg, Ga. He played in 14 games last season for the Bulldogs, registering three tackles.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart was asked on Tuesday about the “toxic environment” at Georgia — a claim made by Mays’ lawyer — and responded that he could not comment on the situation and that it would play itself.
A number of Georgia players such as Monty Rice and Malik Herring retweeted Reese’s statement. Wide receiver Kearis Jackson also quote-tweeted the statement and adding, “I remember that …… smh.”
I remember that night …… smh https://t.co/H9pf9sqDs8
— Kearis Jackson (@king_kearis) September 23, 2020
Reese’s new coach Lane Kiffin — who Reese praised in his letter — came out with some pretty strong words on the NCAA’s transfer policy in August.
“These guys that are sitting, they’re sitting and really losing that year,” Kiffin told reporters in August. “Take someone that’s sitting and has one year to play, next year. Well, they would’ve gotten a free year this year so they’d have two seasons to play. Now someone like that only has one season to play.
“Or Otis, he would have three seasons to play now. Now he’s going to sit and only have two. It’s pretty neat for everyone else but it’s really screwing these guys.”
The NCAA has said that this fall season will not count against an athlete’s eligibility clock, as they have five years to play four seasons.
Reese claimed in his letter that if he had been allowed to leave when he wanted to last season, he would be eligible at Ole Miss this season.
Ole Miss opens the season against Florida on Saturday, while Georgia takes on Arkansas. Ole Miss and Georgia do not play each other this season.
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