ATHENS, Ga. -- For the second time in his brief UGA career, redshirt sophomore running back Ken Malcome has left the team in search of a transfer for more playing time.
(Photo by UGA Sports Communications)
But unlike the previous instance, this exit appears to be for good.
UGA announced Wednesday that Malcome had informed coaches of his intention to transfer. He is expected to pursue a home in a lower division, such as the NCAA's FCS, which would leave him two years of remaining eligibility beginning next season.
“I have made this decision because I think I can get more playing time some place else,” Malcome said in a statement. “I have enjoyed my time at Georgia and appreciate the opportunity that Coach (Mark) Richt and the other coaches have given me here. I look forward to my next challenge.”
Malcome ran for 272 yards this past season on 57 carries but didn't play at all in four games and appeared destined to remain third on the depth chart behind Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, each of whom are coming off impressive freshman seasons.
Wednesday's news marked the second time that Malcome left the team in search of a transfer. He did so during the 2011 season but approached Richt the following day and was accepted back on the team.
Following that development, Malcome intended to stick it out at UGA, saying “I don’t see nothing that bad that could make me leave school, even if I’m not playing.”
But he continued to express unhappiness on multiple occasions about a lack of opportunities in games, most recently in a December interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
"I'm not too happy with that situation," Malcome told the AJC. "... I'm not sure at all what I'm going to do."
“If he wants more playing time he’s got to prove it on the practice field,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said when told of Malcome's comments. “He’s given opportunities every day. He’s got a great chance to earn some playing time with this bowl practice. The best guys are going to play, really, regardless of age.”
Malcome made the trip with the team to Orlando, Fla., for the Capital One Bowl but was not made available for interviews while there.
A source close to him indicated after the bowl game that Malcome was telling others that he was tentatively planning to remain at UGA but the situation was fluid and the running back was still "confused" as to what he would wind up doing.
Evidently, Malcome opted against remaining with the Bulldogs.
"We are very appreciative of Ken's contributions to our program and will certainly assist him any way we can in finding a school to continue his career,” Richt said. “We wish him nothing but the best."
Meanwhile, Georgia's depth at running back behind Gurley and Marshall takes a hit without Malcome and Richard Samuel, a senior this past season.
Senior Brandon Harton, a former walk-on, is next in line to step into the No. 3 role, though Orlando-area running back A.J. Turman is committed to the Bulldogs' 2013 class. UGA is also actively recruiting running back Alvin Kamara of Norcross (Ga.) High School.
Asked his take Wednesday on the news of Malcome's transfer, Kamara said, "I would feel the same if he was still there. Depth is not a determining factor in my decision."
Rusty Mansell contributed to this article