ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia is set to be without one of its top cornerbacks when it opens SEC play next year – against potentially one of the league’s top receivers.
Sanders Commings, the rising senior who was arrested for misdemeanor domestic battery last month, was suspended Wednesday for the first two games of next season. Georgia opens at home against Buffalo, and then on Sept. 8 plays at Missouri, which just notched a signature from the nation’s top-ranked receiving prospect, Dorial Green-Beckham.
Now Damian Swann, who played off the bench as a freshman in 2011, figures to move into a starting role.
Commings' suspension came as a result of an incident with his girlfriend in downtown Athens. Commings has not been charged yet, and is scheduled for arraignment on March 22. UGA spokesman Claude Felton said the suspension was not automatic, and could have been one or two games. Felton said it was just decided based on what “coach (Mark) Richt felt was appropriate.”
Georgia's secondary depth has been ravaged, dating back to last fall: Jakar Hamtilton, who was taking a medical redshirt and would have been a senior in 2012, elected to transfer; Sophomore Derek Owens also left the program. After the season Jordan Love, who was a reserve cornerback in 2011, decided to transfer.
Then on Feb. 3 freshmen cornerbacks Nick Marshall and Chris Sanders were dismissed from the team, along with freshman receiver Sanford Seay.
The Bulldogs signed only one defensive back on Feb. 1, cornerback Sheldon Dawson from Memphis. The team has also spoken with Mario Alford, a prospect who just finished his freshman year at Georgia Military Academy. But as of Wednesday the team had yet to offer a scholarship to Alford, who has enough credits to transfer to Georgia and play next fall.
Commings and his girlfriend, the alleged victim, have yet to comment publicly, and they were not reached, or at least haven't yet, by UGA. Two other witnesses who were with Commings that night did speak for an investigation by the UGA code of conduct board.Former football player Jeremy Longo, who retired from the team last year because of injuries, told the investigator that he, Commings and a third witness, Kyle Green, were leaving Magnolia's (a downtown Athens bar) when Commings' girlfriend "walked up and started talking with Mr. Commings ... she grabbed his jacket and said 'you are not leaving without me' or words to that effect." Longo then said he stepped between them, and the girlfriend again grabbed Commings' jacket. "Mr. Longo said that Mr. Commings knocked her hand off him and pushed her away, but not in a hard manner," the report reads. "Mr. Longo said that when she was pushed, that she did not fall down, but did not know where on her body Mr. Commings pushed her."