ATHENS -- T.J. Stripling gently slapped his right knee and gave the estimate.
“I’ll give it 85 (percent),” the Georgia linebacker said, then amended it up a bit: “Eighty-five or 90. By the season I should be fine.”
That was how Stripling termed his progress from serious knee surgery -- officially he suffered a ruptured patella tendon last year in Week 5 at Colorado. After rehab and sitting out spring practice, the sophomore is now poised to play a bigger role this season.
The attention this preseason is on two hyped newcomers at outside linebacker: transfer Jarvis Jones and freshman sensation Ray Drew. Junior Cornelius Washington has also started nine games in his career.
But the 6-foot-6, 222-pound Stripling thinks he can be a factor, too.
“I can definitely be in that mix,” Stripling said. “No doubt those guys do have a lot of hype right now, and they deserve it. They work hard. I haven’t been around to get a lot of praise, but I feel like I’ll be in the mix this year.”
Stripling said he feels just as fast as he was before the surgery. Head coach Mark Richt has also watched Stripling during the first two practices to gauge his progress.
“I think you can see that he’s able to get out there and go, which is great. But you can see that he’s still trying to feel his way around,” Richt said. “We hope that he moves into the 90-95 range here by the time we get started, because we’d like to get him on the field.”
Turene now ‘doubtful’ to join team
Richt isn’t optimistic anymore that inside linebacker Kent Turene will be able to join the team this year. The freshman from Lauderdale Lakes, Fla., has been in limbo with the NCAA Clearinghouse, and Richt said it was now “doubtful” that Turene would join the team in 2011.
“The frustrating part is that he’s not here with us now,” Richt said. “He wants to be. He’s done everything that he could possibly do to be here. But things don’t always roll as fast as you want, you don’t always get the answer as fast as you want. I’m just frustrated for him, really, more than anything.”
Bulldogs get another recruit
Greg Pyke, an offensive lineman from Baltimore, became the 13th commitment for Georgia’s 2012 class on Friday. The 6-foot-5, 290-pound Pyke is rated a four-star prospect by 247sports.com and Scout.com.
Georgia now has three offensive line commitments: John Theus, one of the nation’s top overall prospects, and Chester Brown of Hinesville.
He said it
“He did a good job the first two practices of running and cutting. So I think he’s legit.”
-- Redshirt freshman Ken Malcome, speaking of fellow tailback Isaiah Crowell