Georgia football coach Kirby Smart admitted that he has yet to sufficiently address a widespread problem his problem has had with unsafe driving.
Eleven Georgia football players have been cited with some form of moving violation since Jan. 15, the night offensive lineman Devin Willock and recruiting staff member Chandler LeCroy died in a car wreck allegedly caused by street racing.
“I’ll be the first to admit we haven’t solved that issue or problem,” Smart said at a press conference Tuesday. “I don’t honestly know that anybody has, but certainly for us, it’s important to acknowledge it first. We’ve had a lot of intervention in terms of talking and visiting, and discipline measures have been implemented in terms of education. We’ll continue to do that.”
The most recent player cited by police was freshman outside linebacker Samuel M’Pemba, who was caught driving 88 mpg in a 55 mph zone, sheriff’s records showed.
Wide receiver Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint pleaded guilty to driving 90 in a 45 mph zone this spring.
“It’s not necessarily just the volume of the speeding tickets, it’s the speed of the speeding tickets,” Smart said. “And that’s a bigger concern to me — the speed of the speeding tickets. Because high speeds, according to the Georgia State Patrol, which talked to our team, is where you get bigger accidents. That’s the biggest concern we have in regard to that.”
Smart said the staff has handed out internal discipline to players who’ve received speeding tickets, attempted to educate them about safe driving and urged them via text to drive safely over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
“I wish that we could prevent speeding issues and learn from a horrific and tragic event,” Smart said. “I’m still wrestling with that, and we talk about it as a staff and all the things we can do. We’ve got issues with traffic citations and speeding issues that we have to improve on. We have to get better at those, and I’m constantly looking and searching for that.”
The coach added that some players at the two-time defending national champion program have been able to buy new, faster cars with money earned through NIL deals.
The highest-profile case was the crash that took the lives of Willock and LeCroy and also involved first-round draft pick Jalen Carter. Police have alleged that LeCroy’s SUV was racing Carter’s vehicle and that she was traveling more than 100 mph when it slammed into power poles and trees.
LeCroy had a blood alcohol concentration of .197 percent, police said.
Carter, now with the Philadelphia Eagles, left the NFL scouting combine to turn himself in to police in March and pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing.
–Field Level Media