ATHENS, Ga. (AP) Virginia graduate Greyson Lambert said Wednesday he’s transferring to Georgia, where he will join a three-man race for the starting job.
Lambert, a native of Jesup, Georgia, confirmed his decision by replying to a text message to The Associated Press. ”I’m going to Georgia,” he said.
Lambert, who started nine games at Virginia last season, has two years of eligibility remaining. He announced his plan to transfer after losing his starting job in the spring.
Because he is a graduate, he’ll be immediately eligible after enrolling at Georgia. He reportedly also had interest in Florida.
Brice Ramsey and Faton Bauta ended spring as the leaders in Georgia’s quarterback competition that also includes Jacob Park. Ramsey was the top backup last season to senior Hutson Mason.
Georgia offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said the interest in Lambert does not reflect displeasure with the quarterbacks’ performance this spring.
”I think obviously it speaks to the fact that we’re trying to create competition,” Schottenheimer said on Wednesday before Lambert announced his decision. ”… Unfortunately, injuries are part of the process. It doesn’t matter whether it’s quarterback or offensive line, we’re trying to create competition. We think that leads to guys raising their level of play and raising the standard. That’s what we’re trying to do.”
When asked on Tuesday how the current quarterbacks might react to an addition to the competition for the starting job, coach Mark Richt acknowledged the timing provides ”an interesting dynamic.”
”Really is not a whole lot different than recruiting anybody,” Richt said. ”Every year we recruit. Every year we bring in guys. Every year they will compete for your job.”
Richt said he would welcome another quarterback ”if there is a transfer who you think has the talent base to help you win.”
Added Richt: ”You’re rewarding a guy who has gotten his degree and giving him an opportunity to make a change if he wants to.”
Lambert (6-5, 220) lost his starting job to Matt Johns in the spring. Virginia coach Mike London said the competition ”wasn’t close.”
Virginia finished only 5-7 overall and 3-5 in the Atlantic Coast Conference last season. Lambert, who missed three games with an ankle injury, threw for 1,632 yards with 10 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
For his career at Virginia, Lambert completed 187 of 336 passes (55.7 percent) for 1,972 yards with 11 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
Lambert’s big edge at Georgia will be his experience, even though he’ll be new to Schottenheimer’s system. Ramsey and Bauta combined for only 44 pass attempts while Park spent his redshirt season on the scout team.
When asked Wednesday if one of the three returning quarterbacks could handle the starting job, Schottenheimer said ”I think so.”
”I saw a lot of positives with all of them through the spring,” Schottenheimer said. ”Our consistency needs to be better. That’s to be expected when you’re putting in a new offense. I think if those guys continue to make the strides they made … heading into fall camp, I feel like we’ll have a guy who can go out there and help us win a lot of football games and hopefully compete and win a SEC championship.”
Georgia can’t announce Lambert’s decision until he enrolls in graduate school or signs a financial aid agreement.