Hunter Atkinson was a late addition to Georgia’s recruiting class on the eve of national signing day, but the tight end from West Hall High School in Oakwood has decided to walk away from the Bulldogs and football.
“We will miss Hunter in our freshman class but understand his decision and wish him nothing but the best in achieving his career objectives,” coach Mark Richt said in a statement released by the school Wednesday afternoon.
The Bulldogs, a team he said he always wanted to play for, offered a scholarship to Atkinson the Tuesday before signing day. He quickly backed off a commitment to Cincinnati. He joined most of the rest of the Bulldogs’ signees in arriving to campus this month.
“I’m excited, I’ve been putting in the hard work on the workouts and the running,” Atkinson said in May after competing in the shot put at the Georgia state track meet in Jefferson. “I’m excited to get up there in June and show what I can bring to the table and give them my best look.”
Something changed in the weeks since.
“Georgia is a great school with both athletic and academic opportunities and I want to thank Coach Richt and the other coaches for their interest and all they have done for me over the past few months,” Atkinson said in a statement. “I realized I have other career goals and want to pursue those interests.”
The 6-foot-5 Atkinson said he was down to 240 pounds in May after coming down with a stomach virus.
He had 51 catches for 704 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior and was viewed as a possible offensive tackle prospect in the future if he got bigger.
Georgia will have four scholarship tight ends if you include Quayvon Hicks, the fullback who worked at the position this spring.
The tight ends are led by redshirt junior Jay Rome, who didn’t practice this spring after foot surgery. The Bulldogs also have redshirt freshman Jordan Davis and freshman Jeb Blazevich, a four-star recruit from Charlotte, N.C. The Bulldogs have a 2015 commitment from Jackson Harris out of Tennessee.