Richt & Company to head back to Honduras

ATHENS – Last year, when Georgia head coach Mark Richt took his family on a mission trip to Honduras, the locals marveled at his son Jon.

Jon - 6-foot-1, 190 pounds and a Division I quarterback prospect – wowed crowds with his relatively large stature and his ability to throw a football.

Wait until the Hondurans get a load of what's coming this time. Richt is heading back to Guaimaca, Honduras, in the middle of May, and this time he's taking about 20 of his Bulldog football players with him.

"They will freak out when they see how big these guys are," Richt said. "When they see these guys, their jaws will drop… and then they'll thump us in soccer."

Richt expects this year's trip to be the same as the one he went on last year, when his family spent their mornings doing odd jobs like construction or painting or working with hospital patients and their afternoons playing soccer and then ministering or attending church services.

"When I was there last year, I thought it would really be awesome for our guys to experience," Richt said.

When he originally asked his team about it, 26 players signed up, he said. Three have since dropped out, and Richt expects more attrition before the trip, he said. Defensive end Rod Battle, running back Richard Samuel, punter Brian Mimbs and offensive lineman Ben Jones are among the players making the trip, Richt said.

The trip would not have been possible earlier this decade, but the NCAA recently eliminated a mileage restriction on permissible events, said Eric Baumgartner, Georgia's director of compliance.

The trip falls under NCAA rule as a charitable, non-profit promotion, said Baumgartner, who has called the SEC office to verify his belief the trip is within the rules.

"I know this is going to be pretty high profile, and I didn't want to miss anything," he said.

The players can have trip expenses paid by a non-profit organization (World Baptist Missions) but not by the school, Baumgartner said.

"They have to go through a process of getting approved," he said, "and we are working on that with them."

The players will stay in a male-only barracks that holds 24 beds.

"Obviously, the coaching staff can't engage in any practice actives," Baumgartner said, "but I don't think they'll have time for anybody like that."

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