At this time during the 2017 season, wide receiver Demetris Robertson was out in California suiting up for the Golden Bears for his sophomore season. He suffered a season-ending injury two games into the 2017 season, and announced he was leaving Cal in June of 2018. Then, in July, Robertson announced he was transferring to Georgia.
Robertson took the field for the first time at Georgia in the Bulldogs' home opener against Austin Peay on Sept. 1. He then turned his first touch for Georgia into a 72-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
“I never got the chance to run that far,” Robertson said. “I was just trying to go and get in the end zone. When I got in the end zone, my teammates were there and just congratulating me. My first touchdown in my first game here, it was awesome.”
Normally the rule for a transfer athlete is that the athlete cannot participate in games for a full academic year, although the athlete is allowed to practice and train with the team.
"When I got in the end zone, my teammates were there and just congratulating me. My first touchdown in my first game here, it was awesome."
— Demetris Robertson
Robertson’s story is a little different, as there are some exceptions to the NCAA rule. Robertson said they sent in the waiver to request to play in his first year at Georgia and waited for a response. The NCAA granted Robertson that waiver in August, allowing him to play immediately.
“I was really expecting yes or no, I was just going out there each day practicing and trying to do my best, practicing,” Robertson said. “It wasn’t on my mind if I’m going to get the waiver or not. I knew I had to come in and I didn’t have that many weeks to prepare to learn the playbook. I had to get in and focus on the more important things with the team.”
Head coach Kirby Smart said he is happy for Robertson to score on his first touch but realizes Robertson still has a ways to go to be in the necessary condition. Smart said that Robertson recognizes those places he can continue to better condition himself.
“He ran out of gas on that run, so in the SEC it might not have been a touchdown,” Smart said. “So we want to encourage him to keep getting in shape so he can turn that into a touchdown when we play an SEC opponent."
It’s a learning curve, especially competing in the Southeastern Conference. His addition to the wide receivers corps is an important one though, especially with senior Terry Godwin still questionable with an injury. Robertson said while he felt confident in his first game, there were also missed opportunities that he can learn from.
“I remember in the game when I messed up on a punt and [Smart] corrected me on the technique that I had to do and things like that,” Robertson said. “I’m like okay, well it was so surreal that I’m getting coached by Kirby Smart in the game. Even though I made a mistake, just getting critiqued by him knowing that he’s one of the best in the game, it’s awesome.”