13 Dawgs Graduate

Thirteen current or former Georgia football players graduated on Friday as the rest of the 16th-ranked Bulldogs continued preparations for their matchup with 19th-ranked Michigan State in the Capitol One Bowl.

Benjamin Boyd, Ramarcus Brown, CJ Byrd, Dannell Ellerbe, Demiko Goodman, Kenneth Harris, Corvey Irvin, Wes Jacobs, Mohamed Massaquoi, Brian Mimbs and Brannan Southerland were the current Georgia players who graduated while former players Thad Parker and Darrius Swain also wrapped up their graduation requirements.

³I¹m really proud of this group and I think it¹s a tribute to our academic staff,² said head coach Mark Richt. ³We ended up having about 48 guys or so that would have missed practice with graduation or who were injured so we decided to cancel today¹s practice.²

The UGA Athletic Association honored student-athletes from 13 different sports at the 21st-annual Graduation Breakfast at the Rankin Smith Center before they received their diploma at Stegeman Coliseum. The rest of the Bulldog football team worked out and met with their position coaches on Friday morning.

Richt was especially proud of Ellerbe¹s graduation.

³He was a guy we had some issues with early on and he was on the fence of either sticking around or not,² said Richt. ³I told him, O(The early issues) are not going to define you, people are going to remember how you finish.¹ So here he is a few years later, graduating from Georgia and probably a certain draft pick.²

Richt also mentioned that he expects split end Kris Durham, flanker A.J. Green, tight end Tripp Chandler, fullback Brannan Southerland and others to return to practice after sitting out recently with injuries.

Georgia will practice Saturday morning before taking a five-day break for the holidays. The team will reconvene in Orlando, Fla., on Friday, Dec. 26 and an evening workout is planned. Richt said there is a team meeting on Dec. 26 at 6 p.m. before the first practice.

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