Ward leaving Georgia

Ward leaving Georgia

ATHENS – Don't look now, but Georgia will have a tight end shortage in the upcoming football season.

Redshirt freshman tight end Na Derris Ward has requested a release from his scholarship so he can transfer to a school closer to his home in Oakland, CA, the Bulldogs announced Tuesday.

That moves leaves Georgia with just two scholarship tight ends heading into next season. The shortage is compounded by the last-minute decision of coveted high school tight end Dwayne Allen to back out of his verbal commitment to Georgia and sign with Clemson earlier this month.

Ward was ranked as one of the top tight ends in the country in 2006, but his Georgia career never found any traction due mostly to a shoulder injury that forced him to sit out the 2006 season and limited him into 2007. He did not catch a pass for the Bulldogs.

Ward told The Telegraph in December that he planned to stay in Athens despite feeling homesick at times. He lost two relatives to acts of violence since leaving Oakland, he said.

Neither Ward nor head coach Mark Richt could be reached for comment Tuesday. Ward's request was confirmed by athletics department spokesperson Claude Felton.

Senior starter Tripp Chandler and sophomore Bruce Figgins will be the only tight ends next year barring a position change by another player.

The Bulldogs begin spring practice Monday.

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