ATHENS — Georgia coach Kirby Smart knew the questions about Demetris Robertson would be flying at him after the Bulldogs’ scrimmage on Saturday. So he was ready for them and he disposed of them quickly.
Georgia confirmed on Friday that Robertson’s waiver requesting immediately eligibility with the Bulldogs this season had been approved by the NCAA.
“Obviously, I’m really excited for Demetris because he’s a great kid,” Smart said Saturday at Sanford Stadium. “He’s blended in well with our team.”
Robertson played at Cal his first two years in college but chose the Bulldogs over Alabama, Texas and West Virginia on July 14 after he announced that he’d be leaving Cal earlier this summer.
Smart confirmed that UGA found out only Friday that Robertson has been cleared. He said he was “restrained” in what he could discuss regarding the details and nature of Robertson’s appeal.
As for how Robertson might help the Bulldogs, Smart said, “we’ll see.”
“The one thing I wasn’t aware of he’s has really good toughness,” Smart added. “He’s gone out and competed every day. He’s probably not in the shape that our guys are, because our guys go through the summer running and conditioning and he didn’t. … But I’m really pleased with his work ethic.”
Robertson has been practicing with the Bulldogs since preseason camp began on Aug. 3 while awaiting word from the NCAA. So he is quickly getting up to speed on the offense.
Because he was granted a medical redshirt last season, Robertson has three years of eligibility remaining with the Bulldogs. Robertson was sidelined after two games last season due to what was determined to be a “sports hernia.” He had off-season surgery and reportedly participated in the Bears’ workouts this past spring.
Robertson had 837 yards receiving on 57 catches at Cal, with 50 of those catches coming his freshman season. He scored a total of 8 touchdowns, including a 34-yard run last season. Robertson caught seven passes for 70 yards and two runs for 40 yards in the first two games of 2017 before undergoing surgery for a lower-body injury.
As for how confident he was Robertson would be eligible this season, Smart said, “I really had no idea.”
“When those other ones went through you started to think his might, I thought that might be presumptive,” he said. “I am happy he’s going to be able to be closer to home and play in front of his family.”
Smart insisted he actually didn’t know much about the nature of Robertson’s appeal.
“I don’t really know what the basis was for it,” he said. “It was independent and they decided they were going to grant it. It is pretty obvious that they’re granting more of them if you look across the board. They seem to be more lenient when it comes to it. But like I said a while back, each case is independent of the previous. So they’ve got their reasoning for looking at it, I don’t necessarily know that. I’ve got a lot more pressing things to worry about. I can only go with what they decide when they do but it certainly looks to be that way.”