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Monday, August 16, 2010

Morant speaks

We got our first chance this afternoon to speak to Dexter Morant, the true freshman who left the Georgia football team two weeks ago, then changed his mind three days later.

Morant talked in depth about his back-and-forth, and said that quitting the team was something that ultimately he had to do in order to truly appreciate football.

“I regret what I did, but it’s like I don’t at the same time,” Morant said. “Because it made me realize that this not playing football is not for me. I’ve gotta play football. As soon as I got home I was like, Why am I here right now. I was just sitting there with nothing to do.”

Initially, Morant left the team because he said he was “a little homesick.” He had been in Athens all summer, but as practice arrived the feeling of missing home got worse. It finally reached a crescendo before the second day of practice, when he finally told head coach Mark Richt he was heading home.

“My stomach just started feeling crazy and stuff. I don’t know what it was, but it just pushed me to go home, I don’t know why,” Morant said.

But when he got back to Manning, S.C., he realized there was nothing there for him. His high school coach was critical of his decision. Friends asked why he wasn’t back in Athens.

“Everybody was like, ‘Don’t tell me you quit football. We’re depending on you,’ ” Morant said.

He called players asking if they thought he could come back. They didn’t know. He prayed, then called Richt, who told him he couldn’t say yes right away, and would have to think about it. Morant waited all day, then finally got a call from Richt telling him to come back the next morning.

“But once I came back, everybody welcomed me with open arms, everybody was checking on me to ask if I was all right. So it kind of made me feel at home.”

Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham did kiddingly ask him if he was back.

“He was like, ‘Are you gonna stay this time?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I’m gonna stay this time,'" Morant said.

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