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Georgia State soccer player withdraws from school after backlash over racial epithet

A Georgia State University soccer player who was suspended from the team after she used a racial epithet on social media has withdrawn from the school, officials said.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Georgia State soccer player suspended over racial slur used on social media

Some students had called for the expulsion of 18-year-old freshman defender Natalia Martinez after the epithet appeared on her Finsta page, a secret version of Instagram that is growing in popularity among teens.

>> On AJC.com: What is a ‘Finsta'? Teens and their secret Instagram accounts

“As a progressive, diverse university, we ... feel like this sort of behavior should not be tolerated,” said India Bridgeforth, who created a petition demanding the university take a tougher approach with Martinez.

The petition had garnered more than 500 signatures by Monday afternoon when the university announced Martinez had “officially withdrawn.”

Associate athletic director Mike Holmes told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that officials were made aware of Martinez’s post Friday morning — just days after the University of Alabama expelled a 19-year-old student who posted a video of a racist rant on her Finsta page.

>> Read more trending news 

That student, Harley Barber, uploaded a second video on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in response to people who were upset by the language and threatened those who wanted to report her fake Instagram account, The Washington Post reported

In a statement, Georgia State University said the school does “not tolerate the language (Martinez) used in her post.”

Wrong guy: Ohio man tabbed as Tennessee coach on Twitter enjoying the notoriety

An Ohio man has gained notoriety in recent weeks, thanks to a college football coach with the same name.

Jeremy Pruitt of Dayton was mistaken on Twitter by football fans as being the new coach of the University of Tennessee football team, The Knoxville News Sentinel reported. Another Jeremy Pruitt was named Tennessee’s football coach on Dec. 7.

The mix-up began in November, when rumors emerged that Pruitt the football coach was rumored to be a candidate for the Mississippi State University football job before he took the Tennessee position.

A mistaken Mississippi State fan reportedly sent the Pruitt from Dayton a message on Twitter, prompting him to then tweet about the mix-up.

“No way I’m getting tweeted about accepting the Miss State coaching job lol,” Dayton’s Pruitt wrote.

A columnist at the Tuscaloosa News then retweeted the tweet to his thousands of followers, causing Dayton’s Pruitt to receive dozens of tweets from Mississippi State fans, most of whom realized the mix-up.

Since then, Pruitt has gained thousands of followers on Twitter and he has jokingly changed his profile and cover photos to include Mississippi State logos and images. Pruitt has told news outlets that he is originally from Columbus and is actually an avid fan of Ohio State University.

Along with his explosion of online followers, Dayton’s Pruitt has also received mentions on TV from ESPN and on the sports website SB Nation.

And the “other” Jeremy Pruitt? Here is his introductory news conference when he was named the Vols’ head coach:

Georgia star LB Roquan Smith announces he will enter NFL draft

Georgia Bulldogs-Roquan Smith-All-American

ATHENS — After a brilliant season in which he helped Georgia to within a play of a national championship, Roquan Smith is taking his talents to the NFL draft.

Smith announced through UGA on Monday morning, just a little over four hours before the deadline. While he was considered a certain first-round pick, multiple sources said the Montezuma native remained torn, and a statement he released reflected that.

Smith’s statement:

“I think back to growing up in Macon County and all the family and community people of my hometown that provided so many opportunities.  The teachers who educated me, the coaches who taught me how to play the games, and those who taught me how to play football all contributed to where I am today. And I can’t believe how fortunate I have been to be part of the Georgia Bulldog family these past three years.  I owe so much to the Athletic Association, our academic staff, student services, and the University faculty and administration for the environment in which I’ve been able to grow.

“I’m so grateful for my teammates who have always supported me every step of the way.  And no thanks are enough for the coaches and staff who have provided the leadership, inspiration, and tireless hours in helping me develop as a player but also as a man. What we accomplished this year is only the beginning of what’s to come for this program.  I’m proud to be a part of the foundation that Coach Smart is building on and his leadership and direction are going to bring many more great times and memories to the Bulldog Nation.

“As you know this is somewhat of a crossroads for me. I’ve had discussions with coaches and family and a lot of thought and prayer. The decision to leave is not easy but I know it is the right one.  Georgia will always be my school and my home and I sincerely wish all the best to the coaches, staff, and players as they continue to reach higher goals in the years to come.”

The post Georgia star LB Roquan Smith announces he will enter NFL draft appeared first on SEC Country.

Sony Michel’s NFL value rising after strong postseason

Every year we see a handful of prospects drastically improve their NFL draft stock with huge bowl game performances. This season, no player’s stock was helped more by a huge postseason than Georgia’s Sony Michel, according to a report by NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah

Jeremiah polled a handful of NFL executives, asking which player helped himself the most in bowl season, with three of the five executives naming Michel as the biggest winner. One called Michel a “three-down back,” while another took things a step further by saying that Michel “separated himself from [Nick] Chubb.” 

In his two College Football Playoff games, Michel totaled 320 yards from scrimmage and 4 touchdowns. His performance against Oklahoma was particularly monstrous, as he ran for 181 yards and 3 touchdowns on just 11 attempts, while also adding 4 catches for 41 yards and another touchdown. 

At the moment, Michel is likely to go in Round 2 or 3, though he could continue to improve his stock with a big NFL combine or Georgia pro day.

Legendary sportscaster Keith Jackson dead at 89

Keith Jackson, whose Southern drawl and homespun, folksy phrases endeared him to college football fans for more than half a century, died Friday night, ESPN reported. He was 89.

>> Read more trending news

Jackson died surrounded by his family, according to NBC Sports' Todd Harris.

Born in Roopville, Georgia, on Oct. 18, 1928, Jackson was also the first play-by-play broadcaster for “Monday Night Football” when it debuted in 1970 and covered a wide range of sports. He was known for his signature phrase “Whoa, Nellie!” after a big play. Jackson said the origin of the phrase came from his great-grandfather. He also coined the phrase “Big Uglies,” and christened Michigan’s football stadium “The Big House,” ESPN reported.

Jackson called 15 Rose Bowl games and was credited with calling the New Year’s Day game “The granddaddy of them all,” The New York Daily News reported. The final game he broadcast from Pasadena was the 2006 game in which Texas rallied to defeat USC for the national title.

Jackson was named national sportscaster of the year five times, the Daily News reported.

Jackson spent four years in the Marines and later graduated with a journalism degree from Washington State University, where he broadcast the team’s games.

He joined ABC’s college football announcing team in 1966, but also called NBA games, auto racing and was a staple on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports.” He also announced World Series games, 10 Olympics and traveled to 31 countries, ESPN reported.

Jackson also had fun playing off his signature phrase, as this commercial for Miller Lite demonstrates:

Tributes to Jackson rolled in on Twitter:

Alabama center proposes to girlfriend after winning national title

It was a great day for Bradley Bozeman — winning a national championship, followed by getting engaged.

>> Read more trending news

The Alabama center proposed to his girlfriend on the field at Mercedes-Benz Stadium after the Crimson Tide beat Georgia 26-23 in overtime to win the College Football Playoff National Championship Game on Monday night.

Bozeman’s girlfriend answered his proposal with a yes, putting a cap on the senior’s great day.

Watch Bozeman’s proposal, courtesy of Sports Illustrated:

Bozeman just completed his second season as Alabama’s starting center. Last year, he was part of the Crimson Tide team that lost to Clemson in the National Championship Game. Let’s just say the game this year ended much better — in more ways than one.

Alabama's Bo Scarbrough denies yelling expletive directed at Trump in pregame video

Bo Scarbrough says there’s been a big misunderstanding, and it involves what he supposedly said about the president.

>> Alabama beats Georgia to win College Football Playoff National Championship

>> Photos: Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Georgia Bulldogs

Shortly after the College Football Playoff national championship game started on Monday evening, Sporting News posted a video that appeared to include Alabama RB Bo Scarbrough shouting "[Expletive] Trump!" as he walked with his teammates through the tunnel.

>> Click here to watch (WARNING: Profanity)

The video, which was not even clear enough to definitely say the words came from Scarbrough, was just nine seconds long, but it made its way across the internet as the nation was captivated by President Donald Trump’s trip to watch the Crimson Tide take on Georgia at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

>> Visit SECCountry.com for more coverage

>> Visit AJC.com for complete coverage of the national championship game

>> Visit WSBTV.com for more Georgia Bulldogs news

>> More coverage from DawgNation.com

Following the game, Scarbrough admitted to being the voice dropping the expletive on the video. However, he tweeted that the recipient of the curse was actually not Trump.

>> Read more trending news 

“If y’all really listen I said Georgia,” Scarbrough wrote on Twitter after winning the national title. “smh [Shaking my head] about y’all people in this world.”

Read more here.

Photos: UGA vs. Bama 

A big night in Mercedes Benz Stadium as UGA competed for a National Title

Report: Georgia QB Jacob Eason expected to transfer to Pac-12 school

Georgia-Georgia Bulldogs-indoor practice facility-Jacob Eason

Georgia’s season came to an end on Monday night. And it appears that the Georgia career of quarterback Jacob Eason could have ended as well.

Eason is expected to transfer to Washington, barring a last-second change of heart, according to a report from Adam Jude of the  Seattle Times. Eason started the first game of the season for Georgia, but he sustained a left knee injury in the first quarter of that game and was replaced by Jake Fromm.

Even when Eason was healthy enough to return, Georgia coach Kirby Smart stuck with Fromm. Fromm started the final 14 games of the season.

After Georgia’s 26-23 loss to Alabama on Monday night, Eason declined to comment on his future, per Seth Emerson of  DawgNation.

Eason is from Lake Stevens, Wash., which is about 35 miles northeast of Husky Stadium. He was a 5-star quarterback in the Class of 2016. Georgia has signed another 5-star quarterback, Justin Fields, in the 2018 class.  Fields already has enrolled at Georgia.

The post Report: Georgia QB Jacob Eason expected to transfer to Pac-12 school appeared first on SEC Country.

Alabama, Georgia teams stay in locker rooms for anthem, but it had nothing to do with Trump

Before Alabama and Georgia played the NCAA Football National Championship game, the Zac Brown Band took the field to sing the national anthem. They were joined on the field by President Donald Trump, who attended the game.

>> Alabama beats Georgia to win College Football Playoff National Championship

>> PHOTOS: Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Georgia Bulldogs

However, some were quick to point out some notable absences on the sidelines: both teams.

Players for Alabama and Georgia were nowhere to be seen as the anthem was played, prompting some to wonder if they’d been kept in the locker rooms to avoid an unsightly protest in front of Trump.

>> Visit AJC.com for complete coverage of the national championship game

The Trump administration has made national anthem protests in the NFL an intense focus point in the first year in office, with Vice President Mike Pence attending a Colts game in October only to leave as players protested during the national anthem. At the time, Pence said, “I left today’s Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our flag, or our national anthem.”

>> Visit WSBTV.com for more Georgia Bulldogs news

The walkout — which the administration denies was planned — reportedly cost taxpayers $242,000.

But there was to be no walking out for any players at the NCAA National Championship game. Unlike the NFL, almost no college football teams take the field until after the national anthem, according to The Associated Press.

>> More coverage from DawgNation.com

In all, eight of the 14 schools in the Big Ten are on the field for the national anthem. In the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), just two teams take the field. And no teams in the Big 12, PAC-12, or Southeastern Conference (SEC) are on field for the national anthem.

>> Read more trending news 

“Most schools are wise enough not to play the national anthem while players are on the field,” Kansas State coach Bill Snyder told the AP at the time, adding, “I concur with that.”

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