ATHENS - The shattered depth in the Georgia secondary is being helped by one of the players who caused the issue in the first place.
Safety Marc Deas has elected to return to the team, after deciding to transfer halfway through spring practice. Deas indicated the news himself via his Twitter account on Tuesday morning: "I will remain a Dawg" he posted in answer to a fan's question.
UGA later confirmed Deas' return, saying the player "has had a change of heart."
Deas' departure was announced on March 31 by head coach Mark Richt, who said Deas cited playing time as the reason. Deas was working as a backup to starters Bacarri Rambo and Shawn Williams, with Corey Moore and walk-on Connor Norman getting most of the second-team looks. But Rambo is facing a four-game suspension for a drug violation.
(Speaking of Rambo, his high school coach, Alan Ingram, once again on Tuesday downplayed the possibility of Rambo pursuing the NFL supplemental draft if his appeal is denied. It's uncertain whether Rambo would even be allowed to be in the draft.)
Deas isn't the first Bulldog to change his mind after having his transfer announced. Last fall tailback Ken Malcome returned the next day, and two years ago defensive end Dexter Morant also changed their minds. Malcome and Morant are still with the team.
Deas discussed his decision after Tuesday's practice. (And to his credit, since Tuesday was just supposed to be a day for offensive players and coaches.)
Deas said he had already looked into schools to transfer to, and had whittled his choices to Central Florida and Georgia Southern. But in the end he decided he was better off sticking it out at Georgia.
"I'm going into another program and this is going to be my second time. What if it's not what I'm expecting it to be," Deas said. "I have opportunity here, and all I have to do is patient and work hard. So why go through the whole thing over again? I felt like it wasn't worth it, you know what I mean? I felt like I had to step up, and be a man."
Yes, he's had some internal punishment: Deas had to get up at 5 a.m. to do some discipline runs, and he'll have more of those in his future.
"It's been a long day. But I can't stop smiling," he said. "I'm just happy to be back."
At one point, when Deas was running, he ran into defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, who asked him where he was transferring.
"I just pointed at the ground," Deas said. "I said, 'I'm not going anywhere.' He got a big smile on his face."
Deas' stated reason for leaving was playing time. That seemed a strange rationale in the first place, considering the attrition in the secondary, with Bacarri Rambo facing a suspension, and Deas having three more years of eligibility left.
"I was really wondering, what is gonna happen this year," Deas said. "I was kind of second-guessing myself: Do I deserve to be at this program? It was a lot to think about. It was a point of being selfish and saying I'm gonna go somewhere else and start over, and just try to work on something now. Instead of me trying to fight it. ...
"Taking that time off, it really helped me to see things through. So I'm sticking here and seeing through."