ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia will have at least one more member of the secondary earlier than anticipated.
Smith was arrested for marijuana possession in Alabama in March, and eventually received pre-trial intervention. Normally under UGA Athletic Association policy, a misdemeanor arrest triggers a suspension of 10 percent of the season (one game for football), but Richt said they had received enough information to let Smith play.
"After just gathering all the information, determining what happened, we've got peace that we're doing the right thing on Branden," Richt said.
Smith said he passed drug tests administered after the arrest both by the court and UGA.
"As soon as possible when I got back to the university I got tested. It was clean. I went to court, got tested, it was clean," Smith said. "So right now I've just moved on. Like I said, I apologize to the university and my family for being at the wrong place at the wrong time."
He added later: "I don't do drugs."
Smith said he only found out recently that he was cleared to play.
"It's always going to be tough, people thinking you do drugs and you don't," Smith said. "They just look at you different. But you know, I passed the drug test, and I'm just moving on. I'm ready for the season. I'm happy right now."