- Seth Emerson DawgNation
ATHENS — There remains no firm word on the status going forward for two potentially key Georgia defensive players: Deangelo Gibbs and Natrez Patrick.
Both players have dealt with off-field issues and were not with the team during Georgia’s run to the national championship game. Head coach Kirby Smart was asked Wednesday how Patrick and Gibbs were doing and whether he expected them to be able to contribute this upcoming season.
“I think both those kids are working really hard, doing the things we’ve asked them to do,” Smart said. “And to be honest with you we’re trying to help them as much off the field as on the field right now.”
Gibbs is not enrolled in classes for the spring semester, the school confirmed last month. The reason for his absence was termed a “medical issue.” Gibbs posted that he was back in Athens this past weekend on his social media account, though there was no other context.
Gibbs was a highly-sought recruit last year, enrolling early and contending for a starting spot in the Georgia secondary. He played in six games off the bench, then was not with the team down the stretch.
Patrick’s lawyer, Billy Healan, confirmed last month that Patrick is enrolled in classes for the spring semester and plans to be with the team this upcoming season. Patrick entered treatment in December after another marijuana-related incident. He was with the team for the national championship game, albeit in street clothes.
When on the field, Patrick can be a key player for Georgia, especially on a defense losing most of its starters. He was the team’s second-leading tackler in 2016, behind only Roquan Smith. He had 35 tackles in nine games this past season. He has started 18 out of the 30 games he’s played in his career, notching 116 tackles, 2 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss.
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