ATHENS — The first winner of The Albany Herald’s People’s Choice Player of the Year award may be popular in Southwest Georgia, but he has fallen out of favor with the Georgia Bulldogs.
Redshirt freshman Sanford Seay, the former Lee County star receiver who became the first Trojan in school history to sign a football scholarship with UGA last season, was kicked off the team Friday morning by coach Mark Richt, according to a statement from the school.
Seay, however, wasn’t alone. Nick Marshall, a former basketball and football superstar at Wilcox County who is a freshman that played mostly on special teams this past season,- also got booted, as was Tucker native and fellow freshman Chris Sanders.
The school said the dismissal’s were for “a violation of team rules” in its press release, but multiple reports claim that Seay and Marshall were involved in a theft from a teammate’s dorm room. It wasn’t immediately clear if Sanders was also involved.
No charges were filed in the alleged theft case, nor have any arrests been made, UGA police chief Jimmy Williamson told multiple media outlets.
“It’s a privilege to play college football and to be a part of this team and University,” Richt said in statement released by the school. “Along with that privilege comes certain responsibilities. Mistakes were made and part of our job is helping them learn from mistakes. Going forward, we are committed to assisting them find opportunities where they can continue their education.”
Seay, a former Dynamite Dozen selection who earned The Herald’s inaugural People’s Choice Player of the Year as a senior — a fan poll for Southwest Georgia readers to vote on who they thought the Player of the Year should be — made it a clean sweep for Lee County last year in the POY awards. Seay’s teammate, QB Justin Walker, was named the sports staff’s John Reynolds Player of the Year.
Seay, 6-foot-2, 196 pounds, was expected to contend for playing time — and possibly a starting job — next year for the Bulldogs. He went to Georgia on a full scholarship after one of the greatest senior seasons in Lee County history. As a senior, he led his team to the playoffs for the first time since 2005 with 68 catches for 1,105 yards and 15 TDs. He was named to The Herald’s All-Area First Team, All-Metro First Team and the AJC’s Class AAAA First-Team offense.
Lee County head coach Dean Fabrizio called the news of Seay’s dismissal “very disappointing” when reached by The Herald on Friday.
Primarily a special teams player, Marshall played in 13 games this past year for UGA as a freshman, making five tackles. He came to Georgia as one of the prized recruits and was considered part of last year’s “Dream Team” class Richt and the Bulldogs managed to secure. Marshall led Wilcox County to the Class A state championship his senior year, passing for 2,956 yards and 32 TDs.
“Me and Nick’s mother were informed this morning by Georgia that Nick was no longer on the team,” Wilcox County coach Mark Ledford told ESPN.com, but he declined to talk about the reports that Marshall and Seay were kicked off the team after getting caught stealing. “Any other details would need to be released by the university.”
Sanders made three tackles last season in three games played, then injured his shoulder and did not play again last season.