UGA kicker charged with boating under influence

It appears another very important member of the Georgia football team is going to be sidelined for disciplinary reasons when the Bulldogs open the season against Clemson on Aug. 31.

Marshall Morgan, Georgia’s starting place-kicker, was arrested this past weekend for boating under the influence (BUI) on Lake Sinclair. UGA athletic department policy calls for an automatic suspension from competition for all alcohol-related arrests. A DUI arrest mandates a suspension from 20 percent of competition dates, according to UGA’s student-athlete handbook, but it’s unclear if a BUI will meted out the same way.

If so, that would mean at least two games out of a 12-game schedule. The Bulldogs play Clemson and South Carolina the first two weeks of the season this year.

Georgia coach Mark Richt could not be reached for comment, but UGA spokesman Claude Felton said Richt “is aware of the situation.”

UGA Athletics Director Greg McGarity said “BUI” is not addressed in the student-athlete handbook and he is not sure what guidelines might apply. He said the case would be reviewed by the “comprehensive action committee,” a panel of senior administrators, which would make a disciplinary recommendation to him and Richt.

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“It’s under review and, at some point in time, it will be dealt with appropriately,” McGarity said.

Georgia already knows it will be without starting strong safety Josh Harvey-Clemons and backup tight end Ty Flournoy-Smith for the Clemson game. Harvey-Clemons was assessed a one-game suspension and Flournoy-Smith was dismissed from the team for a marijuana-related incident that occurred in a dormitory this spring. Neither player was arrested at that time.

Morgan was processed at Putnam County Sheriff’s Office on June 29 and charged with operating a watercraft under the influence of alcohol and towing a skier without an observer onboard, Putnam County Chief Deputy Russell Blenk said. Morgan reportedly was observed by Department of Natural Resources officers monitoring lake activity from a helicopter. He was released on property bonds of $1,556 and $168, police said.

Morgan, a rising sophomore from Coral Springs, Fla., was 8 of 14 on field-goal attempts and 63 of 67 on extra points while starting all 14 games for the Bulldogs as a freshman. His 87 points were second only to tailback Todd Gurley (108) in scoring.

According to a depth chart released by Georgia this summer, Morgan’s backups are Patrick Beless, a 5-foot-9, 162-pound sophomore from Atlanta, and Thomas Pritchard, a 5-foot-10, 164-pound redshirt freshman from Jefferson County, Ga. Sophomore punter Colin Barber also can kick.

Check back for updates.

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