South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier once quipped he enjoyed seeing the Georgia Bulldogs early in the season because of the team’s tendency to have players suspended. But this offseason it’s not suspensions ravaging the Georgia roster: a series of departures hit the Bulldogs hard, the latest of which announced Tuesday with the dismissal of Tray Matthews.
Matthews made six starts at free safety in his freshman season and looked to be a cornerstone of a young secondary. With his departure, head coach Mark Richt and defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt essentially hit the reset button on the secondary, as ESPN’s Radi Nabulsi tweeted:
#UGA's lost secondary: Josh Harvey-Clemons – dismissed Shaq Wiggins-transferred Tray Matthews -transferred Brendan Langley -switched to WR
— Radi Nabulsi (@RadiNabulsi) June 3, 2014
Richt made it clear Matthews was dismissed.
Tray Matthews has been dismissed from the team. CMR: "We are trying to make room for guys who want to do things right."
— UGA Football News (@UGAfootballLive) June 3, 2014
Matthews tweeted that he’s eyeing either Louisville or SEC rival Auburn.
I'm sorry UGA family.I swear to God I love yal.I'm crying right now but I won't forget. Love the dawgs.Auburn or Louisville will be my home
— TriggaTray28-F$C (@Trigga_Tray28) June 3, 2014
Former Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham landed at Louisville in January, and Shaq Wiggins followed in May. The connection to Matthews is obviously strong.
Shaq Wiggins says Tray Matthews is going to Louisville and apparently it's gone get ugly: pic.twitter.com/n3z1550Vid
— The Southeasterner (@Southeasterner_) June 3, 2014
Matthews has history with Auburn. He was involved in the unforgettable finish when the Bulldogs visited the Tigers in November, deflecting the pass on which Ricardo Louis scored the winning touchdown.
Already facing attrition at defensive back, Richt moved running back J.J. Green to cornerback during spring practices. JUCO transfer Shattle Fenteng’s transition to the SEC is now a priority for this Dawgs defense.