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January 3, 2013Georgia can thank some due diligence by Hargrave assistant coach Scott McConnell for helping John Atkins get an earlier than anticipated jump on his Bulldog football career.
According to Atkins, he and McConnell decided to take a second look at his transcripts, the one he had from Thomson High and the one examined by the NCAA Clearinghouse and subsequently sent to Georgia which stated the big defensive tackle was not yet eligible to begin classes in Athens.
They soon noticed something wasn't adding up.
"We went down and compared every grade and he saw that I had a C," Atkins said in a telephone interview Thursday night. "My grade was a 74 and it had not changed. In high school, a 70-73 was a D and a 74-79 was a C. The Clearinghouse had it as a D when it was supposed to be a C, so they went back and changed it."
With that, Atkins was on his way to Athens, driven to Charlotte by a Hargrave coach to meet the player's sister, who was passing through South Carolina when he spoke with UGASports.
"I feel like a thousand pounds has been lifted off my shoulders," Atkins said. "I thought I had it all along. I'm just glad it's over with and I can start my Georgia career."
Atkins' arrival means the 6-foot-4, 310-pounder will get to go through spring practice for the Bulldogs, who will be looking to replenish their defensive line following the graduation of John Jenkins and Abry Jones, and the possibility that Kwame Geathers will leave school a year early for the NFL.
"I'm ready to go," Atkins said. "I've been ready for a while."