Malcome leaves; will Grantham follow?

semerson@macon.comJanuary 16, 2013 

ATHENS -- Once again, Ken Malcome has decided to transfer. And this time it figures to stick.

The Georgia sophomore tailback finished the 2011 season as the starter and started Georgia’s opener in 2012. But he was quickly supplanted this past season by freshmen Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. Malcome finished the season with 274 rushing yards on 57 carries.

“I have made this decision because I think I can get more playing time some place else,” Malcome said in a statement released by Georgia. “I have enjoyed my time at Georgia and appreciate the opportunity that (head coach Mark) Richt and the other coaches have given me here. I look forward to my next challenge.”

This is not the first time Malcome has decided to leave. He told head coach Mark Richt he was leaving midway through the 2011 season, when he was buried on the depth chart behind Isaiah Crowell, Carlton Thomas, Richard Samuel and Brandon Harton. But a day later Malcome changed his mind.

This time, however, Malcome is not likely to change his mind, because of the presence of “Gurshall” -- as well as the pending addition of recruit A.J. Turman. The Bulldogs are also pushing hard for Alvin Kamara, a highly rated recruit.

Malcome was a four-star recruit out of Southwest DeKalb in 2010. He redshirted his first season, although the coaches thought hard about playing him. He struggled most of the 2011 season to see the field, leading to his one-day decision to transfer, but he returned and benefitted from the struggles of Crowell and Thomas. He finishes his career with 446 rushing yards and two touchdowns in two seasons.

“We are very appreciative of Ken’s contributions to our program and will certainly assist him any way we can in finding a school to continue his career,” Richt said in a statement. “We wish him nothing but the best.”

Malcome’s departure, while not at all surprising, does leave the team in need of some bodies at tailback. The team projects to have three scholarship tailbacks (Marshall, Gurley and Turman) -- four if Harton is awarded a scholarship again. That’s why the team continues to pursue Kamara.

Grantham-Eagles talk

According to several reports out of Philadelphia, Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is a candidate for the same job with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles.

Grantham did not respond to a text message seeking comment.

The Eagles pulled a stunner Wednesday by hiring Chip Kelly away from Oregon. Kelly, who will be introduced on Thursday in Philadelphia, is considering switching the Eagles to a 3-4 defensive alignment -- the same system that Grantham runs for Georgia.

Grantham is no stranger to the NFL. He arrived at Georgia in 2010 after 11 seasons at the NFL, including three seasons as the defensive coordinator for Cleveland.

Burnette has surgery

Georgia guard Chris Burnette is likely out for spring practice after having shoulder surgery.

Burnette, who will be a senior next season, told a Twitter follower Wednesday that he tore his labrum. That kind of injury typically results in missing several months of football activity.

“Thanks everybody for the prayers. Shoulder is feeling better already. Long road to recovery but I’ll be back and better than ever!” Burnette posted on his account.

UGA spokesman Claude Felton couldn’t confirm the surgery yet but said he would be passing along word on surgeries -- note the plural -- in the next day or two.

Burnette is a two-year starter at right guard for Georgia and a heavy favorite to start again in 2013. The surgery should not affect his ability to be ready for preseason practice.

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