Richt offseason update: Juniors and NFL, Keith Marshall, Sturdivant's future

semerson@macon.comJanuary 9, 2012 

ATHENS - Mark Richt just finished a media teleconference to wrap up the season and look to the next one. Here are the highlights:

- Nothing firm on underclassmen mulling the NFL draft. Richt said he hasn’t had any conversation with players definitely leaving. He did know of some players staying, but didn’t want to announce it.

All of the juniors were at a pre-semester team meeting on Sunday night.

“That doesn’t’ guarantee all those guys are gonna stay. But at least all those guys were there,” Richt said. “I guess it just meant they weren’t 100 percent sure what they were gonna do yet.”

The deadline for players to declare is Sunday.

- There also isn’t any firm news on the future of backup quarterback Hutson Mason, who is deciding whether to transfer somewhere to start, or take a redshirt in 2012.

“I’ve talked to Hutson a couple times,” Richt said. “I’m not sure he’s 100 percent settled on what he’s gonna do at this moment. If that time comes we’ll let everyone know.”

- Keith Marshall, Faton Bauta and Mark Beard attended the team meeting and have begun practices. Marshall, the highly-touted tailback, was already looking at a playbook at the meeting, which Richt said “gave me a moment to grin.”

“He’s a very talented young man,” Richt said. “He’s very focused.”

As for Bauta, he will be a quarterback at Georgia, Richt said. He had been labeled an athlete who could play fullback or linebacker.

More importantly, his first name is pronounced Fa-TONE.

- It appears Trinton Sturdivant’s career is over. The senior offensive tackle, who has had three major knee surgeries, has been back and forth on whether to apply for a sixth year. But Richt answered “I don’t think so” when asked if Sturdivant would be a member of the 2012 team.

- When asked the first area of concern for next season, Richt mentioned special teams. While some fans have clamored for a special teams coach, Richt indicated the preferred method of fixing the problem will be personnel.

“All hands on deck when it comes to special teams. Whatever it takes, personnel-wise,” Richt said.

- Echoing what he told A.D. Greg McGarity last week, Richt doesn’t expect any changes to his coaching staff.

“I’ve had no indication otherwise. I guess I’ll just leave it at that,” Richt said. “I feel like everyone’s excited about the future here.”

- Richt had this to say about sophomore cornerback Jordan Love, who decided to transfer: “Jordan’s a really great kid, and I want to wish him well.”

Richt said he didn't know of any other players who were transferring at this point.

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