It appears inside linebacker Natrez Patrick’s fate with the Georgia football program has yet to be decided following a third arrest involving possession of marijuana.
On hand at the Charlotte Convention Center as the keynote speaker for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy presentation, Smart offered the latest on Patrick’s situation. Although this is the third time Patrick has been arrested for possession of marijuana, Smart has not publicly announced whether he is still with the team.
Early Monday evening, Smart was asked directly if Patrick remains on the roster.
“To be honest with you right now, we’re still gathering information and we’ll handle all that stuff when it comes about,” Smart said.
The UGA student-athlete handbook states that three drug-related offenses result in dismissal from the team.
Patrick was a passenger in a vehicle driven by teammate Jayson Stanley, a junior receiver, when they were pulled over late Saturday after the car was determined to be traveling 87 mph in a 65 mph zone. The Barrow County sheriff’s deputies who made the stop along Ga. 316 noticed that the car smelled like marijuana and searched the vehicle.
Various amounts of marijuana, totaling less than an ounce, were found in the car, and both Patrick and Stanley were arrested. Stanley was also charged with suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs, possession of less than an ounce of marijuana and speeding.
These two arrests came only a matter of hours after Georgia defeated Auburn 28-7 in the SEC Championship. The two were traveling westward on Ga. 316 and were stopped by the intersection of Jackson Trail Road at 11:50 p.m. Saturday.
Patrick was first arrested in 2015 after he and former teammate Chauncey Rivers were caught in possession of marijuana in a campus parking deck. Later that season, Patrick was in a vehicle Rivers was driving when he was pulled over and subsequently arrested for marijuana possession. Patrick was not charged in that incident.
Patrick was also subject to a brief on-campus investigation involving possession of marijuana in his dorm room in 2016 but was cleared.
Patrick found himself in trouble again in October when he was arrested for possession of marijuana after police observed it in his vehicle following a parking violation in downtown Athens.
Smart said it was unfortunate to learn of Patrick and Stanley’s arrests the morning after Saturday’s SEC Championship victory.
“Absolutely, (it’s disappointing) any time you get a situation like that,” Smart said. “But we still got things we’re finding out. We’re trying to discover everything involved. We’re disappointed in both young men but we’ve got a lot of information to still find.”
According to a sheriff’s report obtained by The Telegraph, officers found marijuana pieces on the floorboards, a Tropicana orange juice bottle with burnt marijuana and a bag of end pieces of marijuana cigarettes and packages of marijuana cigarettes.
Stanley was shaking when deputies approached the driver’s side window and was later administered a field sobriety test when deputies searched the vehicle and found the Schedule I narcotic.
Stanley was not observed to have any of the six clues for potential horizontal gaze nystagmus, a vision condition in which the eyes make repetitive, uncontrolled movements, and was not seen to have any vertical nystagmus present either.
Deputies, however did write that Stanley had reddening of the conjunctiva, with his left eye not converging as directed. He was also described to have had “glassy, watery, bloodshot” eyes. Stanley was placed under arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs. Stanley consented to a blood and urine test, although the police report did not list the results.
In addition to suspicion of DUI, Stanley was charged with possession of less than an ounce of marijuana and speeding.
Patrick’s only charge was possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.
Since this is Stanley’s first arrest, and since it carries a DUI charge, he is subjected to a suspension of 20 percent of Georgia’s games. That would make it likely that Stanley will not be able to participate in Georgia’s upcoming Rose Bowl game against Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff.