Once again, another one of Georgia’s disciplinary castoffs will be wearing the colors of one of the Bulldogs’ SEC rivals.
Safety Tray Matthews, who was dismissed by Georgia coach Mark Richt on June 3 for behavior issues, tweeted on Saturday that he has decided to transfer to Auburn.
“Ready to be an Auburn Man. I’m very humbled by all that has happened. Truly blessed. Au family and fans we in this together. WDE!! #Blessed,” was the post on Matthews’ Twitter account, @TriggaTray28.
Matthews did not answer phone calls seeking comment.
Matthews, who started six games at free safety as a freshman last season, was one of four Bulldogs arrested on theft-by-deception charges in a meal-money, check-cashing scheme this past March. He was kicked off the team two months later when Richt was informed Matthews had caused a classroom disruption and was ordered to leave the class. Matthews accepted a pre-trial diversion plea in Athens-Clarke County court last week.
A year ago, Auburn accepted another former Georgia player who had been dismissed for bad behavior. Nick Marshall was among three players accused of stealing cash from a teammate. Marshall, who played cornerback for the Bulldogs, spent a year at junior college and switched to quarterback. He led the Tigers to the national championship game and a 13-1 record this past season.
Matthews has already contributed to Auburn’s cause. Last November, he was one of two defensive backs who got beaten on a 73-yard touchdown pass with 25 seconds remaining in Georgia’s 43-38 loss at Jordan-Hare Stadium. He and fellow safety Josh Harvey-Clemons both tried to intercept the ball when they needed only to knock it down. They collided and Auburn’s Ricardo Louis caught the deflection for the game-winning score.
Matthews is the third Georgia defensive back to transfer to another school after last season. Harvey-Clemons also was kicked off the team after violating UGA’s marijuana-use policy and transferred to Louisville. Cornerback Shaq Wiggins left of his own volition and also transferred to Louisville.
Matthews will have to sit out next season via the NCAA’s transfer rule. He had also considered transferring to Louisville, where former Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham now resides. He also considered Alabama.
“I’m truly blessed for this opportunity and second chance that God and Coach Gus (Malzahn) has blessed me with. I’m excited and ready to Excel at AU,” Matthews tweeted.