ATHENS - Justin Scott-Wesley will not be ready to start the season, even if he were eligible to do so, in another hit to Georgia's receiver position.
The junior receiver tore his ACL last October, and head coach Mark Richt made clear Friday that Scott-Wesley continues to recover slowly.
"We're not exactly sure when he'll be able to play a game of football for us. But we think it'll be this season," Richt said.
That was a much bleaker outlook than what Richt and others had been saying. While they granted that Scott-Wesley's recovery had been slower than expected, the expectation was that he would be ready to play in the opener - even though he likely wouldn't be eligible. (He is facing a one-game suspension for a marijuana arrest last year.)
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But Georgia still has plenty of depth at receiver, so much so that freshman Rico Johnson was moved to cornerback for the preseason.
Richt pointed out that Reggie Davis, Jonathon Rumph, Kenneth Towns and Michael Erdman received playing time last year. He also said that Blake Tibbs, a redshirt sophomore, could be ready to step into a bigger role. Brendan Langley has moved over from cornerback. And Charlie Hegedus, a transfer from N.C. State, is eligible to play right away.
"We've got some guys who have played," Richt said.
It's a brighter outlook for a couple other players coming off injuries:
- Tailback Keith Marshall, who tore his ACL the same game as Scott-Wesley last season, is ready to go for Friday's first practice.
- Tight end Jay Rome, who had foot surgery last season, may be slightly limited because his "toe is still a little tender," according to Richt. But the coach indicated that Rome is otherwise in good condition.
Bellamy suspension, Carter opportunity
Outside linebacker Davin Bellamy, who was arrested on DUI and speeding charges last week, will be suspended the first two games, Richt confirmed. The two-game suspension is automatic due to UGA's student-athlete policy, although Richt could have gone further.
Richt made a point to defend Bellamy, who apologized via Twitter the day of his arrest.
"Bellamy made a mistake. It was stupid. He knows it. He's remorseful. But Bellamy's not a bad person," Richt said.
Bellamy was going to be the first outside linebacker off the bench. Freshman Lorenzo Carter, the team's highest-rated recruit, now has a shot at that role.
"You see Lorenzo walk down the hall and you get a little more excited than some," Richt said. "He's a smart conscientious kid and we can't wait to see what he can do."
Ledbetter officially joins program
Tight end Joseph Ledbetter was set to be at practice Friday, and wearing No. 88. He is a transfer from a Division II school where he played basketball, but Georgia offered him a scholarship late last month.
It was partly a reaction to the departure of Hunter Atkinson, the tight end who signed in February but quit the team shortly after coming to campus this summer.
Ledbetter is also the older brother of Jonathan Ledbetter, a four-star recruit currently committed to Alabama.