ATHENS - Joseph Ledbetter was meeting the media Monday for the first time since his sudden arrival at Georgia, when the junior tight end said as an aside: “My brother is a football player at Tucker.”
Oh, we know. So do Georgia coaches.
Ledbetter's arrival at Georgia a few days before preseason practice, was a headline not just because of the unusual late addition of a scholarship player. It also happens that his younger brother Jonathan is a highly-recruited defensive end, a four-star recruit in the upcoming recruiting class.
He's also committed to Alabama. That didn't stop Georgia fans from speculating, for obvious reasons, that the younger Ledbetter might now be tempted to flip back to the home-state team.
Never miss a local story.
So would Joseph joining the Bulldogs help with his brother, a media member asked?
“I don’t know," Joseph Ledbetter said. "I would hope so But that’s something you’d have to talk about with him.”
(Normally NCAA rules prevent current coaches or players from discussing a recruitable player, but Joseph is permitted because of the pre-existing relationship clause. Similarly, last year then-Georgia assistant coach Chris Wilson was allowed to talk about his son Tyler's recruitment.)
Georgia has been known to bring in players either related or close friends with an elite recruit: Zander Ogletree, twin brother of Alec; Quintavius Harrow, best friend of Isaiah Crowell; Nate Theus, older brother of John.
Josh Murray, the future reality television show, joined the team after his younger brother Aaron had already signed.
But whether or not it becomes a package deal, Joseph Ledbetter might be able to help Georgia right now. The team signed two tight ends this year, but Hunter Atkinson bailed a few days after arriving on campus, leaving the team with four scholarship tight ends. That includes Quayvon Hicks, who just moved over from fullback.
At practice, it's easy to tell that Ledbetter (6-foot-4, 235 pounds) is still raw, which isn't surprising: He hasn't played competitive football in four years.
Ledbetter spent the past two years playing basketball at a Division II school. He came on a visit with his younger brother, which was when Georgia coaches noticed his size and asked if he had any interest in playing football. He did, and here he is.
“I just saw it as an opportunity, and decided I wanted to take advantage of it,” he said.
He last played football in the 10th grade at Tucker. He transferred to Oak Hill Academy in Virginia for his junior year, then back to Tucker as a senior, where he concentrated on basketball.
Why did he give up basketball so quickly this summer?
“I just saw it as a dead-end role for me, personally,” he said.
So now he's a full-fledged Division I football player. The question now is how much he sees the field, and whether he's the last of his family to change his mind and come to Athens.