Natrez Patrick enrolls in spring classes at UGA
One of the unknowns about the Georgia football team and its defense for 2018 has been the status of Natrez Patrick. A starter when healthy and eligible, the question was whether the talented linebacker would still be on the team.
For now, the answer appears to be yes. Patrick is enrolled in spring classes at UGA and plans to be with the team in 2018, his lawyer confirmed on Tuesday.
“Natrez is doing very well in his treatment,” Billy Healan said in a text message. “He is enrolled in classes this semester. He is still on the football team, and is looking forward to the upcoming season.”
Patrick was not with the team for most of the College Football Playoffs, missing the trip to the Rose Bowl and not suiting up for the national championship game either, though he was on the sideline for the game.
Patrick entered a treatment facility in Augusta in mid-December as part of an agreement reached with Athens-Clarke County stemming from a probation violation for a marijuana arrest earlier that year.
It’s unclear whether Patrick, assuming he remains with the team, will face any additional suspensions for the 2018 season. He served a four-game suspension during the 2017 season for a second violation of the UGA student-athlete drug policy, and a third violation means automatic dismissal. However, a revision of the policy made last year allows for some leeway, according to associate athletics director for sports medicine Ron Courson.
In nine games this season, Patrick had 35 tackles, including 2.5 for loss and 3 quarterback pressures. He was second on the team in tackles as a sophomore, behind only Roquan Smith. In 30 games at Georgia, 18 of which Patrick has started, he has 116 tackles, two sacks and 9.5 tackles-for-loss.
Patrick’s return would bolster a defense that is losing all four linebackers who started in the playoffs, plus four more starters as well as defensive lineman Trenton Thompson. Patrick would likely return to a starting role at inside linebacker, with rising sophomore Monty Rice and rising senior Juwan Taylor also candidates to start. (Rice and Taylor each started a game this past season.)