UGA says Carlton Thomas to transfer

ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia announced Tuesday before the Bulldogs' first spring practice that senior tailback Carlton Thomas intends to transfer.

Thomas ranked second on the team last season with 361 rushing yards, but was suspended twice for disciplinary reasons.

"This decision was based solely on the fact that this is my last year to play and my parents and I felt like it was the right move to make," Thomas said in a university statement. "I want to make more of an impact on the field. I didn't want to disrupt Georgia's team and preparation for next season, so I made the final decision to leave earlier rather than later in the year."

The Frostproof, Fla., native appeared in 27 career games at Georgia and started twice. He rushed 159 times for 725 yards and four touchdowns in his career -- including a career-high 127 yards in last season's blowout win against Auburn.

"Carlton came to me recently to discuss his thoughts," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "I understand his decision and appreciate all the contributions he's made to our program. We wish him nothing but the very best in continuing his football career."

Thomas' departure at tailback clears the way for several players to contribute in the fall. SEC Freshman of the Year Isaiah Crowell returns, as do Ken Malcome and Richard Samuel -- all of whom started at least twice last season.

Five-star tailback Keith Marshall -- the No. 5 overall prospect in the ESPNU 150 and No. 2 running back -- enrolled in January in order to compete in spring practice, and fellow North Carolinian Todd Gurley plans to join the team this summer.