Newnan’s Matthews dismissed from UGA team
by Chris Goltermann
Tray Matthews’ brief, and at times bright, days in a Georgia football uniform came to an abrupt end on Tuesday when the former Newnan High standout safety was dismissed from the team.
Matthews was one of four players that were arrested just prior to spring practice and is now among four starting defensive backs who have either left or have been dismissed from the program.
“We are trying to make room for guys who want to do things right,” Richt said in a statement released by Georgia late Tuesday afternoon.
Richt, who attended Tuesday’s annual Peach State Pigskin Preview, had not addressed Matthews at the event. The former Cougar, who earned Times-Herald Player of the Year honors as a senior in 2012, was an early enrollee and attended spring practice in Athens as a true freshman before recording 36 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble while starting at cornerback last fall for the Bulldogs. He started six games, but missed two due to a hamstring injury and did not play in this year’s spring game for what Georgia coaches called a similar ailment.
Last week, Richt told Seth Emerson of the Macon Telegraph that he felt Matthews had been “on a turning point of maturing some.”
"Yeah. I think he really wants to be great," Richt also told Emerson about Matthews. "But he's learning that it comes with a price, it comes with sacrifice, it comes with maturity, it comes with doing things a certain way. And I think he's figuring that out."
The rising sophomore announced he was leaving Georgia Tuesday afternoon on his Twitter account, writing “I’m sorry UGA family.I swear to God I love yal.I’m crying right now but I won’t forget. Love the dawgs.Auburn or Louisville will be my home”
Attempts to reach Matthews late Tuesday were unsuccessful, but he told Georgia beat writer Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald that he could not talk about what led to his dismissal.
Matthews also told Weiszer that there were more schools that “I’m talking to,” but enrolling at Louisville could reunite him with former teammates as well as defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, who left Georgia to join the Cardinals staff in mid-January.
Former Sandy Creek standout Shaq Wiggins recently announced he would transfer to the school. Another member of the Bulldogs’ starting secondary, safety Josh Harvey-Clemons, was dismissed shortly following the 2013 season and also enrolled at Louisville after receiving multiple suspensions in Athens.
Georgia hired Florida State defensive coordinator Greg Pruitt as Grantham’s replacement. During the spring, Matthews and Wiggins were listed behind walk-ons Aaron Davis and Lucas Redd headed into the annual G-Day spring game.
Matthews was likely facing at least a game suspension following an arrest on multiple counts of deception for allegedly cashing university-issued stipend checks twice. Both the Macon Telegraph and Atlanta Journal Constitution reported he was due to be arraigned on Thursday in Athens-Clarke County court with three other players including receiver Uriah LeMay, who has left the team and transferred to Charlotte.