Georgia nose guard John Atkins won’t face a loss of playing time after he was arrested Friday by university police during a traffic stop because he was driving only with a learner’s permit.
The freshman who spent last season at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia before enrolling at Georgia in January was pulled over for a seat belt violation and it was determined he did not have a valid driver’s license. He had a learner’s permit but didn’t meet the requirement for that because he was driving by himself, UGA police chief Jimmy Williamson said.
“I am aware of the situation involving John Atkins, and the discipline will be handled internally,” coach Mark Richt said in a statement. “It will not involve any playing time.”
When he was pulled over, Atkins was actually on his way to meet his mother at the Georgia driver’s license/state patrol office in his hometown of Thomson to take care of the license issue, according to a Georgia athletic department spokesman. His mother was going to provide him his birth certificate and social security card.
Atkins, 20, instead was booked into the Clarke County Jail at 3:32 p.m. and was released 35 minutes later on bonds totaling $1,000, according to the jail’s online booking report.
Richt typically has not suspended players arrested for license issues, but those issues have caused headaches before and he has vowed “to get it straight.”
During the 2009 season after a couple of license-releated arrests, he said: “These are misdemeanor issues, but it’s an arrest nonetheless and it’s embarrassing to the program and to them.”