Malcolm Mitchell, who was Georgia's top receiver as a freshman in 2011, will be a cornerback this spring. How long the move lasts, however, is up in the air.
Head coach Mark Richt said Monday that Mitchell will participate in the defensive back meetings in spring practice, which begin March 20. That doesn't forestall Mitchell playing receiver, but essentially they had to pick one position.
"I don't know what's going to happen in the fall whether he'll go exclusively defensive back or not yet, but you can't be in both meetings at the same time," Richt said. "Early on, we're going to have to have him help at corner."
Mitchell, who played cornerback and receiver in high school, had already lobbied Richt to play defense in 2012, at least in a part-time role. Then came the departures of a number of cornerbacks, and the two-game suspension of starting cornerback Sanders Commings.
And now the other starting cornerback, Branden Smith, is facing suspension because of a marijuana arrest.
"Malcolm is going to play a big role, I think, at corner, regardless of what happened with Branden. He's a very talented football player," Richt said. "It's already been established he's going to help us on the defensive side of the ball, and our goal is for him to help us on both sides of the ball.
Richt said Mitchell had "enough working knowledge" of the offense that he wouldn't have to practice as much there in order to get receiver snaps in the fall.
Essentially, Georgia is training Mitchell at cornerback so they can use him there if needed against Buffalo and especially Missouri. And it appears they will.
Richt also said he was confident in the depth at receiver, even if Mitchell doesn't play there full-time.
"Coach Bobo and Coach Ball weren't thrilled about my decision to move Malcolm to cornerback, but that's how it goes sometimes," Richt said, referring to offensive coordinator Mike Bobo and receivers coach Tony Ball.