ATHENS - The Georgia football team has taken the field for its first spring practice ... without Carlton Thomas.
The diminutive tailback has elected to transfer elsewhere for his senior year, Georgia announced prior to the start of practice. Thomas said in a statement he wanted a better chance to play during his senior year.
"This decision was based solely on the fact that this is my last year to play and my parents and I felt like it was the right move to make," Thomas said. "I want to make more of an impact on the field. I didn't want to disrupt Georgia's team and preparation for next season so I made the final decision to leave earlier rather than later in the year."
Thomas was suspended for three separate games last year, when he had 361 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 64 carries. He finishes his Georgia career with 725 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 159 carries.
Thomas' best game came last year against Auburn, when he rushed for a career-high 127 yards, including his career-long carry of 27 yards.
The Bulldogs have a crowded backfield this spring, with one more important piece coming this summer: Richard Samuel, Isaiah Crowell, Ken Malcome and Brandon Harton are back, and they've been joined by early enrollee Keith Marshall.
Then another highly-touted recruit, Todd Gurley, arrives in the summer.
"Carlton came to me recently to discuss his thoughts," head coach Mark Richt said in a statement. "I understand his decision and appreciate all the contributions he's made to our program. We wish him nothing but the very best in continuing his football career."