ATHENS, Ga. – Safety Shaquille Fluker is home in Mississippi and has started the process of transferring from Georgia to a new school for the upcoming semester.
Shaquille Fluker didn't practice with Georgia's team basically after the midpoint of this past season. (Photo by Steve Colquitt/UGA Sports Communications)
Fluker confirmed his departure to Dawgs247 on Tuesday afternoon, saying his decision had to do with a lack of playing time stemming from a lack of opportunity being given during his one season at UGA.
“It didn’t go how it was supposed to go when they recruited me,” Fluker said.
A 2013 junior college signee who was expected to compete for a starting spot in Georgia’s secondary, Fluker instead was to redshirt and didn’t practice from early October through the end of the year for medical reasons.
He dealt with back spasms at times during the season, but he said he suffered a seizure at one point during practice while in Athens. UGA’s medical staff, according to Fluker, was looking into causes. He maintained that it was simply dehydration.
“I told them (other causes) had nothing to do with it,” Fluker said, “but they think it did.”
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) prevents UGA from commenting publicly about a medical condition involving a student-athlete, according to a team spokesman.
Bulldogs coach Mark Richt released a statement Tuesday afternoon.
"Many times transferring to another school is for the best," Richt said, "and we certainly wish Shaquille nothing but success in achieving his academic and athletic goals."
UGA listed Fluker as having an "illness" on official injury reports. Though Fluker says he was to be medically cleared, UGA did not allow him to practice after the midpoint of the season.
Fluker said he only suffered one seizure during his time with UGA’s team. He said he had a similar thing happen during his 11th-grade season when he ingested an energy drink before the game.
“I didn’t put enough fluids in my body,” Fluker said.
Fluker's disappointment, he says, stems from the fact he heard through the summer and preseason that he had a chance to start, but it didn't happen against Clemson in the opener. After that point, Fluker says he tried to get a role on special teams, such as the kickoff unit, only to not have that pan out.
Asked if he thinks UGA would have allowed him to play had he stayed his final two years, Fluker said “How I was seeing it, I don’t know if they probably would have.”
Saying he grew frustrated by the lack of opportunity, Fluker chose to leave the team for good during Thanksgiving break and begin looking for another school.
He doesn’t have a list of possible destinations yet, he said, but he hopes to be able to play at another Division I institution with continued aspirations of an NFL career.
“I think I am a Division I prospect,” he said. “I know I can be playing at a D-I school somewhere.”
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