LEMON TO LEMONADE: University of Georgia D-lineman Michael Lemon became the seventh Bulldog to be arrested this offseason. But, hey, they’ll still likely manhandle the SEC this fall.
Gone to the Dawgs
The University of Georgia Bulldogs football team has a fun fall to look forward to — it’ll probably be the number-one team in the polls when the season kicks off, and may very well manhandle the SEC this year. But the 2008 campaign is getting off to an inauspicious beginning, thanks to a series of arrests.
Most recently, the school took a hit with the arrest of defensive lineman Michael Lemon, a strongside end from Stratford Academy in Macon who was expected to be a rotation player this year. Lemon was arrested and charged with two counts of battery, one of them a felony, in connection with a campus fight that took place in Athens on June 28.
In that incident, Lemon allegedly broke the eye orbit of his victim, a UGA student named DeMarius Jackson. Georgia suspended Lemon from the team indefinitely as a result — the second such transaction coach Mark Richt had to pull this past week. Offensive lineman Clint Boling, who was busted earlier in the spring for a DUI, was given a two-game suspension.
But that wasn’t the only off-the-field news involving UGA football this week. Police also announced that they were dropping charges against yet another defensive end, Jeremy Lomax, who had been arrested for carrying a concealed weapon and speeding in June.
Lemon is the seventh Bulldog arrested this offseason, following offensive guard Justin Anderson (simple battery), defensive back Donovan Baldwin (DUI), fullback Fred Munzenmaier (underage possession of alcohol), and offensive tackle Trinton Sturdivant (simple battery), as well as Boling and Lomax. Despite the spate of arrests, Richt doesn’t think his team has a problem, telling reporters that the amount of effort his club is putting in in the weight room is a testament to its superior character.
“I’m extremely excited about what the vast majority of our team has been doing on a daily basis this summer,” Richt said.
Meanwhile, across campus . . . it seems that the school’s basketball squad is also having its problems. Senior Bulldog guard Billy Humphrey, Georgia’s second-leading scorer in 2007–’08, was kicked off the team after being arrested for a DUI, his third bust in 18 months. Humphrey had already been on probation as a result of an alcohol-related arrest and for the seemingly silly charge of having a butterfly knife in his room (the latter charge he shared with teammate/roommate Mike Mercer, who was kicked off the team this past season).
Credit coach Dennis Felton for having a couple of big ones between the legs. In addition to kicking Humphrey and Mercer off the team, Felton also bounced Albert Jackson (for violations of class-attendance policy) and leading scorer Takais Brown, a big man who was perhaps Georgia’s only legit prospect of the bunch. Given the stink from the previous regime — former coach Jim Harrick resigned amid a cloud of scandal, accused of widespread academic fraud — Felton should get props for coaching a tourney team while upholding some sort of standard.