ATLANTA — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart is ready to welcome Demetris Robertson home, but getting the Cal transfer on the field for the Bulldogs this season is another matter.
“I’m excited about Demetris, I think he’s a really competitive kid that I’ve known since his ninth grade year, I recruited him a long time,” Smart said Tuesday at the Omni Hotel.
“I really believe when you recruit a kid, especially the time I spent (coaching) at Alabama, going to Savannah, getting to know him in the ninth and 10th grade, those things pay off, treating people the right way and having a good relationship with them.”
Robertson announced Saturday he would be returning to his home state of Georgia to play receiver for the SEC Champions. According to multiple reports, Robertson’s decision to return to the Peach State relates to a family illness.
Robertson was granted a medical redshirt last season after appearing in only two games, but he would need an NCAA waiver to be eligible to play this season.
“I don’t know much about the waiver, that’s out of my department, that will be in the NCAA’s hands,” Smart said. “That’s outside of my control, and it’s not something we’re really concerned with right now. We’re preparing with the guys that are going to be eligible to play and can play.”
It was yet another big recruiting win for Smart, who landed the No. 1 signing class in 2018. Robertson had announced on June 21 his decision to transfer out of Cal, triggering immediate speculation that Georgia and Alabama would be in a head-to-head battle for his talents.
Robertson had 57 catches for 837 yards and seven touchdowns during his two seasons with Cal, but 50 of those catches and 767 yards came his freshman season.
Last season, Robertson had only seven catches for 70 yards and two runs for 40 yards in the first two games before undergoing surgery for a lower-body injury.
Many expected Roberston to choose Georgia coming out of Savannah Christian Prep in 2016, when he was a 5-star prep prospect ranked as the No. 1 receiver in the nation according to the 247Sports composite.
A U.S. Army All-American, Robertson was reportedly to choose between Georgia, Notre Dame and Alabama according to 247Sports.