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Top signee back in Dogs' good graces

ATHENS, Ga. – For five mornings, Georgia freshman safety Alec Ogletree had to wake up to run at 5 a.m.

UGA freshman Alec Ogletree was rated as one of the nation's top defensive back prospects.

“Today was my last day,” he said Wednesday.

After an early hurdle, Ogletree is again a full-fledged member of Georgia’s football team, having served a one-game suspension after an arrest one day before this season’s first game. He debuted on special teams during Saturday’s defeat at South Carolina and could play more on defense as the season progresses.

“This week, I’ve been getting more reps than I was the past few weeks,” Ogletree said. “So maybe I might get an opportunity this week to get out there. I’m not real sure now. We’ll just have to find out Saturday.”

One of the most touted members of the Bulldogs’ 2010 signing class, Ogletree was expected to debut in the season-opener against Louisiana-Lafayette. But the day before the game, news broke that he was being arrested after a warrant had been issued for him on a theft charge. It allegedly involved another student's scooter helmet.

Ogletree declined to discuss details of the incident when asked Wednesday to give his side of the story. Asked if it was a misunderstanding, he replied, “Yeah, pretty much.”

“It was pretty tough,” Ogletree said. “I hate it happened, but I just had to deal with the consequences and move forward. … It’s out there on the Internet, so everybody knows about it. But I don’t really play into all that media and all that stuff. I just try to move forward and just keep working hard in practice, trying to put it all behind me and just keep working to contribute out there on the field.”

Georgia coach Mark Richt immediately suspended Ogletree for the opener, “calling it an unfortunate sequence of events.”

Richt said Wednesday that Ogletree was in the clear as far as in-house punishment.

“It’s not a factor in our world right now,” Richt said. “I don’t know if it’s 100 percent resolved, but as far as we’re concerned, unless something new happens – which I don’t think it will – we’ve handled it in our world.”

Bulldogs coaches have been impressed throughout the season by Ogletree, who was rated the nation’s No. 4 safety and No. 29 overall prospect last year by ESPN.com.

“He’s practicing well,” Richt said. “He is one guy that will strike you, there’s no doubt about that. He loves to hit. Even when we do our full-speed thud, you can see if a guy enjoys contact, and he does.

“Because of that, I’m anxious for him to learn what to do and continue to get work and hopefully get to the point where he can get some scrimmage downs.”

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