'The players know what the punishment is': UGA football's Kirby Smart on recent arrests

MIRAMAR BEACH, Fla. — The latest two arrests of Georgia football players came during a time when team activities were mostly on pause.

Coach Kirby Smart addressed the arrests of wide receivers Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint and De’Nylon Morrissette Tuesday at the SEC’s spring meetings.

They are the most recent in a spate of Georgia football driving-related arrests this offseason.

“My biggest concern is what our guys are doing when they are not with us, when they’re not on the field,” Smart said at the Hilton Sandestin Beach resort early Tuesday afternoon at the SEC spring meetings. “They’ve been home probably, for I don’t know, three weeks now? That’s been a big concern. It’s a big concern when they’re with us.”

Smart preached educating and disciplining players in March after reckless driving and racing incidents brought added scrutiny to his program and the deaths of offensive lineman Devin Willock and recruiting staffer Chandler LeCroy in a January crash after a night of partying following national championship celebration. Police said LeCroy and defensive tackle Jalen Carter were racing.

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Smart again spoke of measures taken to educate players when speaking about the May arrests.

Morrissette was arrested after his 2019 Dodge Charger crashed into the rear of a vehicle on 316 in Watkinsville and charges included DUI drugs, driving too fast for conditions, and following too closely. Rosemy-Jacksaint was arrested after his 2020 Dodge Charger weaved through traffic going 90 MPH in a 45 MPH zone, Athens-Clarke County police said

"The education piece is the first thing, because everybody wants to know what the punishment is,” Smart said. “Well, the players know what the punishment is and that’s important for our guys to acknowledge that and understand it. I want to educate further and make sure they understand. No one is more embarrassed than Marcus Rosemy and his parents. Oh my gosh, they’re just crushed. But Marcus has to learn from this, so does DeNylon."

Since January 2022, 11 Georgia players are known to have been arrested with seven of those for driving-related charges including racing.

They include four for reckless driving and two DUIs.

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Two of those arrested had just finished their Georgia careers — Carter and quarterback Stetson Bennett who was arrested for public intoxication.

Morrissette and Carter were pulled over for going at high rates of speed in other incidents, but avoided arrests then.

Athens-Clarke County police cited Morrissette for going 81 in a 45 on Epps Bridge Parkway on Feb. 23. He told the officer he played football.

“Y’all got to slow down,” the officer who works in traffic enforcement said on a body cam video obtained by the Athens Banner-Herald. “We’ve been getting all of y’all a lot. You obviously know about the other wreck and stuff. Y’all got to slow down. I’m sure Kirby wouldn’t be happy about all this. Especially 81 in a 45.”

Carter was also pulled over in Athens by police in September for going 89 in a 45 zone and received three citations including speeding.

Willock and LeCroy were killed in the early morning of Jan. 15 after police said LeCroy and Carter were street racing before LeCroy lost control of a UGA-rented Ford Expedition that was going up to 104 miles per hour. Her blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit. Willock was a passenger in the vehicle LeCroy was driving. Carter plead no contest to two misdemeanor charges and received a year’s probation.

On Tuesday, Smart said his players need to continue to learn.

"Part of being an 18-19-year old young man, a 20-year-old young man is, you have to learn from your mistakes,” Smart said. “I was that age once, too. We don’t condone anything. They’ve got to do a good job of making good decisions off the field and we’ve got a lot more education things lined up about to come. But it’s not just about that, it’s about everything that they can get into in terms of gambling, drugs and alcohol and treatment of the opposite sex. We have a ton of speakers during our summer circuit program and we’ve ramped that up."

This article originally appeared on Athens Banner-Herald: What Georgia football coach Kirby Smart said on recent UGA arrests