Tray Matthews’ dismissal not unexpected, probably needed


Just got back from a nice, long tropical vacation. Anything happen while I was gone?

Kidding. Of course I heard about Tray Matthews getting his walking papers. News of a starting safety at Georgia getting the boot reaches even the most remote corners the Gulf of Mexico, regardless of how hard one avoids hearing anything of the sort.

Let me take a second here to thank the AJC’s Michael Carvell and Tim Tucker for handling the initial news of Matthews’ dismissal, and then offer a hardy dose of gratitude to our Super Summer Intern Tanya Sichynsky for getting to the bottom of the matter and following that up with a report on the adjudication of the cases against Matthews and three other UGA football players for those theft by deception charges. I’d say she’s got a future in this biz.

So, yes, there was a little news last week. And my reaction to the Matthews development?

Total and complete expectation. This wasn’t an “if” situation, this was a “when” deal. It was just a matter of time before Matthews finally tripped and fell face-first over UGA’s rules and regulations. You could see it coming from miles away.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think Matthews is a bad kid. In my brief experiences with him over the last year, I found him to be very upbeat and gregarious and fairly forthright when it came to post-practice and postgame exchanges with media. But he had an other side off the field that became evident, one that I’ve seen way too many times over the many years I’ve covered college football.

He was a goof-off, a cut-up, a “knucklehead,” coaches call them. That’s not to say dumb. He just always seemed to be more interested in having a good time and enjoying the social side of college life than he did about the football and academic element of Division I college athletics. And it was always getting him into trouble, from dancing down the hallways of the team hotel after midnight before games to girlfriend drama to classroom misbehavior.

So few inside the program were surprised when Matthews was told to hit the bricks. And odds are very good he could follow Josh Harvey-Clemons and Shaq Wiggins to Louisville (though there’s also a chance he could end at Auburn, a very close second to Georgia in the initial recruiting battle). Cardinals’ coach Bobby Petrino and his defensive henchman Todd Grantham have proven more than willing to take in UGA’s disciplinary rejects. I haven’t heard much outrage from the Cardinal Nation, as it were. Then again, they didn’t have much of a problem taking Petrino back in.

For better or worse, my guess is three-quarters of the Bulldogs’ 2013 starting secondary will be manning the back third for Louisville in 2015. Time will tell who gets the best of that deal.

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