"He has decided he wants to go to East Carolina University, which is closer to his home," Richt said in the statement. "We certainly respect his decision and wish him the best in the future."
Later in the day, Hargrave Military Academy coach Robert Prunty confirmed that Moon had failed to meet NCAA qualifications and was enrolling at his school.
"We're getting his paperwork done, and we'll get him in here," Prunty said.
Moon missed a qualifying SAT score by "40 or 50 points," Prunty said.
"He came real close," the coach said.
Bryant and Moon became the fourth and fifth members of Georgia's 19-man signing class to be denied admission for academic reasons. Bryant, Moon, Peach County linebacker Darius Dewberry and Douglass defensive lineman Brandon Sesay all failed to meet NCAA requirements. Fort Pierce, Fla., linebacker Jamar Chaney qualified but was denied admission by UGA because his SAT score was flagged for suspicion of cheating.
Bryant, Peach County linebacker Darius Dewberry and Douglass defensive lineman Brandon Sesay all failed to meet NCAA academic requirements. Fort Pierce, Fla., linebacker Jamar Chaney qualified but was denied admission by UGA because his SAT score was flagged for suspicion of cheating.
Bryant's case never reached Georgia's admissions committee because the school never received a qualifying test score from him. He can be accepted at East Carolina as a non-qualifier, but Georgia does not accept non-qualifiers.
Counting defensive back Antavious Coates, who will be forced to redshirt this season due to a knee injury he suffered in the summer conditioning program, Georgia will have lost more than 30 percent of its signing class if Moon does not gain admission.
There has been some good news recently, though, as both Mike Moore (Fort Lauderdale, Fla., wide receiver) and Kade Weston (Red Bank, N.J., defensive lineman) received qualifying scores and were accepted to the school. Moore and Weston will begin the second session of summer school Friday. Most of the rest of the Bulldogs' incoming freshman enrolled in the first session of summer school and have been participating in the team's summer conditioning program.
Bryant, 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, might have helped the Bulldogs at wide receiver or in the secondary had he been able to qualify. He played quarterback, running back, receiver, linebacker and defensive back two years ago at Richmond Senior High School and was a finalist for North Carolina's Class AAAA Mr. Football Award. After failing to qualify last season, he spent a year at Hargrave Military Academy, where he was a wide receiver. As a high school senior, Bryant passed for 1,276 yards and 12 touchdowns and rushed for another 864 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Moon, 6-5, 240 pounds, was a first-team all-state player in Class AA and was ranked among the top seven defensive ends in the south by Scout.com. He had 220 tackles and 25 sacks in his final two seasons at Decatur.
NOTE: Georgia does not expect to receive any penalty from the SEC for a self-reported extra-benefit violation earlier this year. The school reported that family members of five of its players had taken a book, valued at $20, from a financial planner at the school's annual "Agent Day" in April. The school, which asked for and received all the books back, was not aware the books were being handed out. The act was ruled to be a level 2 violation, which means it is not serious enough to reach the NCAA level.