UPDATED: No suspension for UGA linebackers Natrez Patrick, Roquan Smith

Natrez Patrick (6) and Roquan Smith (3) will be able to play for Georgia against Florida.

ATHENS — Georgia will have its two leading tacklers at its disposal when it faces No. 14 Florida in Jacksonville on Saturday.

“After receiving an incident report last week, we determined that neither Roquan Smith nor Natrez Patrick had violated any Athletic Association rules that would require suspension,” UGA Athletic Director Greg McGarity said in a statement released by the school.  “This included drug testing, which was negative for both student-athletes.”

Patrick and Smith were detained by police on Oct. 15, the night after the Vanderbilt game, while Patrick’s room was searched. Police had been called to the East Campus residence hall because a resident assistant reported she smelled marijuana coming from the fourth floor.

Police did not locate any marijuana but confiscated items associated with marijuana use. Neither player was arrested.

Patrick, a sophomore linebacker, was suspended for one game as a freshman for violating the athletic association’s marijuana-use policy.

“Since November 2015, I have dedicated myself to moving forward,” Patrick said in a statement released by the athletic association. “I’m blessed to have done that despite hurdles I’ve had to clear. This incident was simply another hurdle and I was confident I would successfully clear it. I’ll continue to move forward and I’m anxious to play on Saturday.”

Georgia coach Kirby Smart addressed the situation at his weekly news conference on Monday.

“We brought the matter to a conclusion today,” Smart said. “I’m happy for these two young men. They get to move on to football and not have to deal with the distraction. I will say, on the field, these two young men have been exemplary leaders, especially for sophomores.”

Patrick leads the Bulldogs with 42 tackles and has 4.5 tackles for loss. Smith, also a sophomore, is second on the team with 39 stops. He has started four games and is part of a three-man rotation at inside linebacker that includes junior Reggie Carter.

“As a student at the University of Georgia and a member of the football team, I take this opportunity very seriously,” Smith said in a statement released by the school. “I have followed the rules of the Athletic Association and I am happy this situation has been rightfully resolved. I look forward to representing my school and my team on Saturday in Jacksonville.”

 

 

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