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Georgia Tech Sports

    Georgia Tech football player Brandon Adams was practicing “step dancing” — or stepping — with friends when he collapsed and hit his head late Saturday night, according to an Atlanta police report, leading to the death of the popular Yellow Jackets player that has stunned the team and fan base. According to the report, friends of Adams told Georgia Tech police that they were practicing stepping in the garage area of a townhouse near Tech’s campus when they took a water break, which is when Adams fell backward and hit his head. After going into convulsions, he began to foam at the mouth. He was taken by friends to Emory University Hospital Midtown — hospital personnel told police that he was alive when he arrived — and was later pronounced dead. The report further stated that Adams’ passing appeared to be natural, that there was no apparent foul play involved. Stepping is a dance form common among African-American fraternities and sororities. The fraternity Omega Psi Phi acknowledged to Channel 2 Action News earlier this week that Adams was a candidate to join the fraternity. On Sunday, the organization suspended its “Membership Selection Process” and social activities without explanation. Two messages left Friday with the fraternity and another with its attorney were not returned. The GBI performed an autopsy on Adams on Monday, but determined that more tests, including toxicology, were needed to determine the cause and manner of death. Atlanta police issued a statement with the report to the AJC: “Nothing in Mr. Adams’ autopsy by the GBI on Monday pointed to foul play and we have no evidence right now to merit a criminal investigation. Witnesses have told our investigators that Adams had been participating in a dance routine when he collapsed suddenly. The Department is awaiting toxicology and other lab results being tested by the GBI following the autopsy to determine our next step.” According to the GBI website, the agency uses toxicology tests “to establish whether traces of alcohol, drugs or points are present, and if so, in what quantity.” It may be several weeks before the tests are completed. A rising senior for the Jackets team known for his smile and bear hugs and who held considerable promise as a defensive tackle, the 21-year-old Adams was mourned in a memorial on Monday evening at McCamish Pavilion. A funeral for Adams, from Brentwood, Tenn., also will be held Saturday in Nashville. Staff writer Eric Stirgus contributed to this article.
  • A giver of hugs and a hefty but nimble defensive lineman, Georgia Tech football player Brandon Adams died late Saturday night at the age of 21. According to a statement from Atlanta police, citing information provided by Georgia Tech police, Adams collapsed at a home near campus and was taken by friends to Emory University Hospital Midtown, where he was later pronounced dead. The GBI Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct an autopsy beginning Monday morning to determine the cause of death. Adams, from Brentwood, Tenn., was set to begin spring practice with the Yellow Jackets on Tuesday in preparation for his senior season. (As of Sunday evening, the team’s plan was to continue with spring practice, the first of coach Geoff Collins’ tenure, as scheduled.) » More: Teammates, coaches mourn Adams on social media “We lost an unbelievable kid,” former Yellow Jackets assistant coach Andy McCollum said. “I can’t even put it into words.” Adams was expected to play a significant role on the team this fall. He played in 33 games over three seasons and had his best season in 2018, with 24 tackles, five tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. He was a business administration major. The death of the young man who weighed in at 325 pounds and answered to “Big B” will be felt this fall in Jackets’ box scores – he was a likely starter with clear NFL potential – but far more so in aching hearts. From a tweet from a former teammate, Desmond Branch: “One of the best, genuine, loving and overall happy people I have ever met. Always had a smile on his face, got along with everyone.” From a statement from Collins: “Our entire Georgia Tech football family is heartbroken by the news of Brandon’s passing. In the short time that I have had the privilege and honor of knowing Brandon, I admired and respected him, first and foremost as a terrific human being, but also as an outstanding teammate and leader.” “He always wanted to hug you,” said Kyle Cerge-Henderson, who played on the defensive line with Adams for the past three seasons. “Everybody in the Georgia Tech athletic department can tell you that Brandon Adams gave the greatest hugs of all-time.” Cerge-Henderson and his wife gave birth to a baby girl in February 2017. Shortly after Ava’s birth, Cerge-Henderson got a call from his friend. Adams wanted to know if he could bring her some cheese puffs. From there on out, Cerge-Henderson said, he occasionally continued the distinctive gift-giving practice. “At her birthday party, he brought her a bunny — because I told her she loved stuffed animals — and a big bag of cheese puffs,” Cerge-Henderson said. Former coach Paul Johnson said that, whenever Adams was in the football offices, he went out of his way to stop by his office to see how he was doing, and did likewise with Johnson’s wife Susan on road trips. He last saw Adams when Johnson was recently at Tech getting treatment for his back. “He just saw me on the table and he came over, ‘Coach, man, how are you doing? You playing golf? You getting a lot of golf in?’ ” Johnson recalled. Johnson in turn asked about Adams’ weight — often a challenge — “and he said, ‘Man, I’m getting it.’ I said, ‘Good, I’m anxious to watch you play this fall.’ He was just always smiling.” McCollum recruited Adams out of Brentwood Academy, where he was a three-sport star. While no longer at Tech, McCollum said that he’d recently received a text message from Adams telling him he loved and missed him. “He was just like a lightbulb in the room,” McCollum said. “When he walked in, the whole room lights up. Biggest heart of any kid I’ve ever been around.” Jackets players and coaches had a chance to share their grief Sunday night as they gathered for a previously scheduled team meeting upon their return to campus from spring break.  Adams is survived by his mother, Lisa Greer, his stepfather, Reginald Woods, and sister, Rian. Memorial information was not available as of Sunday evening. More informal memorials are already scheduled. Cerge-Henderon said that he and his wife will give their daughter cheese puffs for every birthday going forward to remember Adams. Johnson will remember a young man quick with a fist bump and a big smile who liked to dabble on the piano when the coach had team members over to his home. “I think he was very talented, not just in football,” Johnson said. “He was very talented. Smart kid with a great personality. He was going to be very successful, I think, no matter what he did, whether it was in football or off the field in a career. Whatever he did, I think he had a chance to be special. He was a special kid.”
  • Georgia Tech women’s basketball coach MaChelle Joseph has been placed on leave, the school said Wednesday. A statement from the athletic department characterized the leave as “a pending personnel matter” and also said that the school would have no further comment. Joseph did not respond to a message seeking comment. Joseph is in her 16th season at Tech and has had the longest and most successful tenure of any coach in team history. She has led the Yellow Jackets to seven NCAA tournament berths, although Tech has not made the NCAA field in the past four seasons. In Joseph’s place, assistant coach Mark Simons will serve as acting head coach. The team will play next at Miami on Thursday. The Jackets are 17-10 overall and 7-7 in the ACC and trying to earn an NCAA tournament berth. Starting in Joseph’s fourth season, 2006-07, the Jackets made the NCAA tournament field for six consecutive seasons. The run culminated in their first Sweet 16 appearance, at the end of the 2011-12 season. However, Tech has made one NCAA tournament in the six seasons after that. Tech’s 2018 signing class, though, was rated as high as seventh nationally, and freshmen Elizabeth Dixon and Elizabeth Balogun have been integral to the team’s performance this season.
  • Georgia Tech has announced a news conference for Tuesday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, with officials from the AMB Group (the parent company of the stadium and the Falcons) and the Peach Bowl to be present. It’s expected that it will be an announcement for the Yellow Jackets to play a handful of future home games there. The presence of Peach Bowl CEO Gary Stokan at the news conference suggests his organization’s involvement as well. Holding marquee games in the $1.6 billion sports temple likely would help Tech’s bottom line and perhaps draw attention to coach Geoff Collins’ team while also providing the stadium with additional events. While the 2019 schedule is set, Tech does play Clemson and Notre Dame in 2020 (the latter scheduled for Nov. 14). As a potential organizer, the Peach Bowl could generate money for charities and scholarships. As a result of its coaching transition, Tech’s athletic department finds itself in a financial pinch and perhaps more interested than usual in moving home games out of Bobby Dodd Stadium for the right price. The change from Paul Johnson to Collins cost about $6 million, and the athletic department was already anticipating running a deficit of $2.8 million for the 2020 fiscal year. The changeover will deplete the department’s reserve fund, which stood at about $6.65 million at the start of the fiscal year in July. The athletic department projects to have the reserve fund restored to $5 million by fiscal year 2023. Without money in the reserve fund, “it just doesn’t give you that cushion that you would like to have,” Tech athletic director Todd Stansbury said in January. “All of the sudden, you don’t have much of a rainy-day fund. And that’s what the fund balance is for, for unforeseen circumstances — transitioning a football staff, something like that.” Either through a guarantee or receiving gate receipts, Tech would stand to draw revenues at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (capacity: 71,000) greater than what it would receive playing at Bobby Dodd Stadium (55,000). For the 2017 season opener against Tennessee in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Tech received $2.85 million from the Peach Bowl.  Moving to a larger stadium, however, invites the potential for more fans of Clemson or Notre Dame (or another opponent) to be cheering for the opposition at a Tech home game. Tech home sellouts typically have a noticeable percentage of visiting fans.
  • ATHENS — Fantastic. Bravo. Job well done. Georgia coach Kirby Smart finally promoted James Coley to offensive coordinator on Friday. Or, more accurately, he simply dropped the “co-” from Coley’s title, which already was co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. It’s important to not here that it does not mean that somebody else might come in and commandeer that “co-” in their title. You can bet that Smart is going to do whatever it takes to make his staff as strong to make his staff as strong it can be. If that means having to name somebody co-offensive coordinator, so be it. But make no bones about it, like it was when Jim Chaney was in charge of the offense last year alongside Coley, the one without the “co” in his title was calling the shots. So, to be clear, it’s Coley that will be calling the shots. What’s that mean for Georgia’s offense? The most important thing it means is there will be continuity from the last two years to the next one. Quarterback Jake Fromm will be back at the helm for a third consecutive season and, with his level of expertise in this offense, that effectively gives the Bulldogs another offensive coordinator. Maybe that’s the way Georgia needs to go. Name Fromm starting quarterback/co-offensive coordinator? Kidding aside, Fromm is one major part of an offense that returns mostly intact. The Bulldogs will be looking at a bit of a rebuild at wideout, where leading receivers Riley Ridley, Mecole Hardman and Terry Godwin have moved on. And that’s the case to a lesser degree at tight end, where Georgia will be looking to fill the void of Issac Nauta turning pro and Luke Ford transferring. But the most important aspect of the Bulldogs’ offense is it returns four-fifths of the starting offensive line, plus a plethora of other former blue-chippers to compete and mix in across the front. Then there remains D’Andre Swift, Brian Herrien and James Cook in the backfield, where they will be joined by newcomers Zamir “Zeus” White and Kenny McIntosh. That’s a lot of talent for Coley to work with, and he knows what do with it. This is no young rookie coordinator on whom Smart is taking a chance. This is a 45-year-old man who has coordinated offenses for 11 of 19 seasons going back to his three-year stint at Miami Norland High School. Over the span, Coley has developed a reputation for being a bit a gun-slinging coordinator. That is, he likes his offenses to throw the football downfield. When he was coordinator and play-caller at Miami, the Hurricanes led the nation in “explosive plays”  all three years. Coley coached freshman quarterback Brad Kaaya who earned Freshman All-America honors and broke the single season record for passing yards at Miami.  Wide receiver Allen Hurns, currently with the Dallas Cowboys, broke the single season receiving record with 1,162 yards in 2013. In the midst of that, Miami produced two 1,000 yards rushers in Duke Johnson (1,652 yards in 2014) and Joe Yearly (1,002 in 2015). So Coley knows the value of running the football. And, lest we forget, Coley has been around for every step of success Georgia has enjoyed under Smart. He was one of Smart’s early hires when he took over before the 2016 season, joining the staff close behind Chaney and offensive line coach Sam Pittman. So Coley knows exactly what Smart is looking for. Keep in mind, no matter who’s calling the shots on Georgia’s offense, it still remains under Smart’s ownership. And Smart, a defensive coordinator by trade, has always been one who ascribes to the “complementary” football approach. That is, your offense works in tandem to achieve victory, so one doesn’t conduct itself to the possible detriment of the other. That means the offense doesn’t go hurry-up, spread-’em-out and score as fast as possible all the time and the defense doesn’t sell out with 72 exotic blitz packages in order to create its own big plays. No, Georgia is still mainly about playing the percentages to win, which means to run the football, control the clock, limit opponents’ big plays and win field position and special teams. So those will be Coley’s marching orders, they were for Chaney. Meanwhile, he’s going to be speaking the same offensive terminology and will be working out of the same playbook the Bulldogs assembled the last three years under Chaney and company. That’s nothing but a good thing for Fromm, who can already recite that stuff chapter and verse. That’s not to say Coley won’t add his wrinkles. You can be certain as he sat beside Chaney in Georgia’s coaching box for those 14 games last season, there are a lot of things he might’ve done different. An offensive assistant for the Miami Dolphins and the Florida State Seminoles with a year as a coordinator and play-caller at Florida International, you can be sure that Coley has some of his own stuff he’s been dying to put in. How long has Smart known Coley was going to be his guy? I’d say right from the outset. But two things likely withheld him from making it official until now: One, the opening period for recruiting cranks back up this weekend, so Coley can jet out on the road carry this new title in his brief case. That certainly couldn’t hurt somebody already considered one of the top recruiters in the game. Two, Smart has continued to hold his cards close to his vest. He’s trying to assemble the absolute best coaching staff he can for 2019, and he’ll need it for what promises to be the most anticipated season in Smart’s tenure. So does Smart do something with another “co” title? Possibly. At the least, it would befit Pittman, who has no rival in the country when it comes to his ability to recruit elite offensive linemen and coach them up as well. As we all know, Alabama has an opening for an offensive line coach since Brent Keys was jettisoned to Georgia Tech. There’s absolutely know doubt that the Crimson Tide would look Pittman’s way, themselves of a victim of his recruiting acumen, not to mentioned up-close witnesses to his good work on the field. Word is, Georgia has done what it needs to rebuke that threat, at least for now. Perhaps it will be with a co-title but it will certainly come with new stacks of money. The same will be the case for Coley, of course, and he’s deserving of whatever raises Friday’s promotion comes with. More than anything, though, this development was the result of Smart and his coaching staff seeking one thing, and that’s those rich championship bonuses UGA offers them for winning SEC and national titles. Coley’s appointment puts them closer to doing that than any OC who’d be coming in with a shiny new playbook.   The post Georgia Bulldogs didn’t have to go far to find the ideal offensive coordinator appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Dabo Swinney’s statement to ESPN in the immediate aftermath of last night’s National Championship Game said it all: “If we can do it, anybody can do it!” In fact, Clemson has done it three times now. Twice in the last three years and once a long while back in 1981. Interestingly, all three of the Tigers’ national titles have come with quarterbacks from Georgia under center — Trevor Lawrence of Cartersville, Deshaun Watson of Gainesville and Homer Jordan of Athens. So, yes, Georgia can certainly win another national championship, too — and soon. They’re already posting odds for winning next year’s title out in Las Vegas, and the Bulldogs came out with the third-best odds at 12 to 1, tied with Ohio State. National champion Clemson was first at 9 to 5 and Alabama, its vanquished opponent from last night, was next at 5 to 2. But I don’t think anybody who has watched Georgia closely these last few seasons needs Vegas odds to tell us that the Bulldogs should be in contention for the national championship the next couple of years. And 2019 has long looked like the year in which they should be poised for a big run. In fact, I’ve long said Georgia was ahead of schedule these last two seasons under coach Kirby Smart. The run to the finals in 2017 was an unexpected and premature phenomena born from the decisions of a large group of NFL-caliber juniors to come back for their senior seasons. And 2018 always stood as a transition year for the Bulldogs, who entered it with a roster consisting of 68.2 percent freshman and sophomores. Now that roster is laden with sophomores and juniors, many of whom had to be thrown into the fire this past season. The Bulldogs had seven first-time starters in 2018, and every one of those players will be back to man those positions this coming season. Provided they don’t get beat out. Georgia’s 2019 recruiting class currently sits ranked No. 2 in the nation, and a dozen of those prospects already are on campus as early enrollees. The competition this spring and late-summer promises to be fast and furious, just like the last two years. The Bulldogs’ strength should again be its offense. No team in America will have a more experienced quarterback than Georgia’s Jake Fromm, with 29 games under his belt. And he’ll be playing behind a line than returns four of its five starters and should be able to replace center Lamont Gaillard quite nicely with Trey Hill or Jamaree Salyer, among a number of the candidates. Certainly losing leading receiver Riley Ridley, kick returner Mecole Hardman and tight end Isaac Nauta from the receiving corps will hurt. But, again, the Bulldogs have many capable replacements who have been waiting their turn. Not the least of them is controversial transfer Demetris Robertson, who might’ve disappointed in his first year from Cal but remains one of the team’s fastest players. And reinforcements such as 5-star signee Dominick Blaylock already are in the fold. I’m among those who believe Elijah Holyfield’s departure may be more hurtful than many predict. One thousand-yard rushers are hard to come by. But in addition to the return of D’Andre Swift and James Cook comes the much-anticipated debut of former No. 1 player Zamir “Zeus” White. I remain skeptical about how effective a running back can be coming off back-to-back reconstructions of each ACL. But I’ve also seen many a back make complete recoveries without losing a step. That will be a storyline to follow closely heading into next season. Where Georgia has to make the greatest strides is on defense. Let’s face it, that’s where the Bulldogs were let down in their last two meetings with Alabama. They were unable to protect two-score leads in the second half. Seven starters are back on that side of the ball, with a host of highly-recruited, rising sophomores poised to challenge for snaps. Watching Clemson compete last night, it is evident that it’s in the trenches on the D-line where the Bulldogs have to show significant improvement. Whether they have the “hosses” to do so right away remains the biggest question I have for the squad that will take the field for Georgia in 2019. The Dogs are set everywhere else. And they have the type of schedule that’s going bring both the challenge and attention that a national champion run will require. Highly-ranked teams from Notre Dame and Texas A&M come to town, along with road trips to Tennessee and Auburn and finishing at Georgia Tech under a new coach. I don’t think Alabama’s lopsided loss signals an end to its run. As always, whoever plays in the SEC is ultimately going to have to get through the Crimson Tide, who will be reloading next year as well. But having led those guys for 119 of 120 minutes the last two seasons, Georgia knows it can compete with Nick Saban’s best teams. Meanwhile, Clemson’s coach surely wasn’t referring to Georgia when he said what he said after that impressive 44-16 victory. But the Bulldogs should take his words to heart. If Clemson can do it, the Georgia Bulldogs definitely can. And they should, very soon.   The post Clemson’s second national title in three years proves Georgia can do the same, and should appeared first on DawgNation.
  • SAN JOSE, Calif. — College Football Playoff talk grew heated leading up to Clemson’s championship game win over Alabama on Monday night. The College Football Playoff is five years into its 12-year contract with ESPN, no change is in sight, and CFP executive director Bill Hancock makes no apologies for the system. “Go play a good schedule and win your games, you’re going to be in the discussion,” Hancock said. “Four has been very good for college football. “People didn’t like the BCS; people really like the College Football Playoff.” Certainly, the college presidents on the CFP board of managers made it clear they approve of the system after convening in San Jose on Monday. Georgia football fans, however, had their questions after the Bulldogs were left out in favor of Oklahoma. RELATED: Kirby Smart seeking clarity on CFP selection process DawgNation asked Hancock if more transparency was needed on the CFP Selection Committee with athletic directors from Florida and Georgia Tech affecting decisions behind closed doors that involve their rival, Georgia. “That’s not a factor, they check their hats at the door, and when they go in that room they represent the game as a whole,” Hancock said. “The issue with the committee is maintaining candor inside the room. You want the committee members to be candid and share their thoughts with each other. So I wouldn’t anticipate that element changing.” ESPN analyst Chris Fowler said there’s room to speculate on the CFP Committee makeup and transparency. “There’s always potential, people will never believe that any committee can check it’s bias at the door,” Fowler said. (But) I do give them the benefit of the doubt, and I think what they’ve produced in the first five   years are pretty sound brackets that for me don’t speak of bias. “Transparency is an interesting idea, I don’t know how much it would change the process to say, ‘Hey, this guy voted these four in this order, this guy voted this way,’ “ he said. “Like any process, they would find the secret ballot to be valuable, because it gets so personal. Say a given committee member voted Oklahoma 5, not 4, now they become a public target. “I understand where you could say that’s part of the job, but I don’t know the nature of the narrative these days, it doesn’t help me to know which guy voted which way. The bottom line is 13 people put together their minds and they came up with this list.” Many, most notably Fowler’s ESPN broadcasting partner Kirk Herbstreit, charged that the CFP Selection Committee allowed the process to become political. RELATED: Kirk Herbstreit challenges CFP Selection Committee SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey told DawgNation that while he may not necessarily agree with the results, he respects the process and the committee. “The selection committee has to speak for its decision making, and I respect that, and we may all have different views, but when the four-team playoff, and the College Football Playoff Selection committee was established, there was a clear expectation that people would have different views,” Sankey said. “When we look at basketball, and you finish with 68 teams, there’s a different view over who was 69, and 68, so the fact that there’s different views over four and five is not at all a surprise,” Sankey said. “My view is the selection committee has fulfilled it’s charge, and that is to find the four best teams based on the information. “Does everyone agree with that? No. Might I have different views year to year? Sure, but I respect the selection committee has probably fulfilled it’s role, and I think they’ve done that on a consistent basis even though people may have different views of those outcomes.” Georgia’s argument that it belonged in the College Football Playoff took a blow when the Bulldogs lost to Texas 28-21 in the Sugar Bowl. Georgia, however, was missing its best defensive back (Deandre Baker), pass rusher (OLB D’Andre Walker) and a key defensive lineman (Freshman All-American nose guard Jordan Davis). Indeed, SEC legend Tim Tebow had correctly predicted the Bulldogs would have a hard time finding motivation for the Sugar Bowl. “You can talk about the inconsistency of the messaging or the criteria, I don’t necessarily agree with that,” Fowler said. “But I understand the criticism of it, especially if your team’s getting left out, that’s never going to change, even with eight teams, the ninth and 10th teams are going to get pissed off.”       The post CFP director Bill Hancock defends 4-team playoff, selection committee appeared first on DawgNation.
  • SAN JOSE, Calif. — Georgia high school produced the two top quarterbacks in the nation in the 2018 class in Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields. Both Lawrence and Fields made national headlines their freshman years of college, but in very different ways. Lawrence has led Clemson to the CFP National Championship Game against Alabama on Monday, while news of Fields’ transfer from Georgia to Ohio State has been almost as talked about. Even Lawrence, who has been focused on the Tigers’ 8 p.m. game against the Tide (TV: ESPN), has taken note of Fields’ situation. RELATED: Fields’ inability to beat out established starter keys transfer “I knew (Fields) since my junior year probably, and he was 45 minutes away from me, right there in Kennesaw,” Lawrence said. “We worked out a few times together, and we had a good relationship. “Obviously I saw and hard about the kind of stuff that happened with him going to Ohio State and all that,” Lawrence told DawgNation at the CFP National Championship Media Day on Saturday. “But definitely, wish him the best of luck whatever he decides to do. I feel that way about a lot of guys.” RELATED: Dabo Swinney explains college football QB transfer dynamics Lawrence reiterated that he probably would have gone to Georgia if not Clemson. Kirby Smart made the then-6-foot-6, 210-pound Lawrence his priority after being hired as Georgia’s head coach following the 2015 season. Lawrence led Cartersville to the Class 4A state championship twice, passing for 13,908 yards and 161 touchdowns with 21 interceptions against good competition. “There’s great players, obviously, all around the state of Georgia,” said Lawrence, who left high school as the nation’s No. 1-ranked prospect. “Just being there and playing some great teams throughout my four years of high school, I think it helped me a lot.” Lawrence was 52-2 as a starter and his yardage and touchdown numbers eclipsed the previous state records held by former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson. Once Lawrence committed to Clemson, Smart moved on to Fields, who was committed to Penn State at that time. RELATED: Jeff Sentell report on Lawrence choosing Clemson over Georgia “Georgia and Clemson were my last schools,” said Lawrence, who had made unofficial visits to Georgia in May, June and July of 2016 before playing his junior season and committing in Dec. of 2016. The Bulldogs, of course, were 7-5 at that time in Smart’s first season leading the program, having just lost to Georgia Tech. Dabo Swinney’s Tigers were 12-1 en route to a national championship when Lawrence chose them over Georgia. Clemson, no doubt, was the better-looking program at that time, and he also said he felt closer to that staff. “Just felt like I had a better relationship with everyone involved in the program,” Lawrence said Saturday, “and it was a place where I felt like I could grow the most, just personally and football-wise, too.” It proved to be the right choice for Lawrence, as he beat out incumbent Kelly Bryant in September while Fields was unable to win the starting job away from Jake Fromm and has left Athens. Georgia, meanwhile, has signed another 6-foot-6, 210-pound prospect in quarterback Dwan Mathis, who reported to the Bulldogs’ campus on Saturday. RELATED: Georgia’s newest quarterback arrives in Georgia Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence   DawgNation Justin Fields coverage Georgia QB Justin Fields expected to transfer to Ohio State  Social media reacts to news of Justin Fields transfer Georgia QB Jake Fromm not swayed by pending attrition  Justin Fields MIA in Georgia locker room following Sugar Bowl Kirby Smart explains why Justin Fields didn’t play vs. Florida How does Tua Tagovailoa’s freshman year compare to Justin Fields’? Kirby Smart says Justin Fields still growing as a player SEC legend Tim Tebow has advice for Justin Fields, Georgia           The post WATCH Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence: Thoughts on Georgia football, Justin Fields appeared first on DawgNation.
  • KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — When it comes to getting an idea what SEC basketball might taste like this season, the Georgia Bulldogs will get a big orange mouthful on Saturday when they venture into Thompson-Boling Arena to sample the No. 3-ranked Tennessee Volunteers. Might as well start at the Rocky Top, right? “We have to play them at some point, so it’s fine,” Georgia coach Tom Crean said before his team left Athens on Friday. “They are playing really well and they are an outstanding team. They are very good at every facet of the game and are extremely well coached, so it will be a tough challenge.” That might be an understatement. So far, the Vols (11-1) are looking like the class of the league. That includes the high-and-mighty Big Blue of Kentucky. Riding the talents of forwards Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield, Tennessee has already vanquished the likes of Memphis, Gonzaga, Wake Forest and Louisville. So far the only setback came at the hands of Kansas, and that was 87-81 in overtime in New York. The Vols are definitely battle tested and excited to begin defense of last year’s unexpected SEC championship at home. But Tennessee also stands as a reminder to Georgia about what can happen in any given season. The Vols were picked 13th in the SEC before last season, same as the Bulldogs (8-4) were this season. “We are going to a hostile environment, of course, but we played them last year in their last SEC game,” Georgia sophomore Nicolas Claxton said. “We want to prove that we can win. We don’t want to just play them close, we want to win.” The Bulldogs gave Tennessee fits the last time they were up that way. They went ahead by double digits and scored 42 points in the first half before finally falling 66-61 in the last game of the regular season. That has been a theme for Georgia again this season. The Bulldogs blew an 18-point lead to then 20th-ranked Arizona State on the way to a 76-74 loss last month. But Georgia rebounded nicely and has since won three in a row over Oakland, Georgia Tech and UMass and five of six since a trip to the Cayman Islands in late November. Claxton has been a big part of that improvement. The 6-foot-11 sophomore is coming off a final week of December in which he earned SEC play of the week honors after a 20-point, 11-rebound performance against UMass. Georgia’s front-line play will be a key for the team and certainly a focus for Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. broadcasts (TV: SEC Network; radio: WSB 750 AM & 95.5 FM). Georgia’s other up-and-coming forward Rayshaun Hammonds (14.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg)  and Claxton should match a formidable matchup for Tennessee’s Williams (20.1, 8-3) and Schofield (18.2, 6.0). Georgia certainly has the Vols’ respect and full attention. “We have yet to out-play Georgia’s team,” associate head coach Rob Lanier said on the SEC’s weekly coaches’ conference call. “So Saturday represents an opportunity for us to do a better job against a team that in a lot of ways has kind of had our number.” Crean, who has never played at Thompson-Boling and is making his SEC coaching debut, is going in with his eyes wide open. “I don’t know; it is what it is,” Crean said. “They are a really good team. … I haven’t played them yet, we haven’t coached against them. We just have to go in there and be ready to compete.” Whatever the Bulldogs discover, they can certainly put to good use for their next SEC road trip. It will be next Saturday at Auburn, which shared the SEC title with Tennessee. A home game against Vanderbilt sits in between.   The post Georgia basketball gets huge SEC test from the jump on road at No. 3 Tennessee appeared first on DawgNation.

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  • A California girl managed to avoid a man following her in a car as she walked through a Vacaville neighborhood by hiding behind a parked truck. >> Read more trending news  Home surveillance video captured the incident, which happened earlier this month, and shows the girl being followed by a dark colored Pontiac driven by an adult man. The girl is clearly trying to avoid the man as he repeatedly turns around and tries to approach her. Vacaville police Capt. Matt Lydon said when the girl first noticed she was being followed, she walked to a different neighborhood and the driver followed.  Trending: Children find their lost puppy hanging from noose in woods behind home “As she walked into the adjacent neighborhood, she saw the Pontiac again,” Lydon said, according to KRON-TV. “She hid behind a parked truck on the street as the male went up and down the street a couple of times attempting to get her attention and attempting to have a conversation with her.” The video shows the girl hide behind the truck as the car repeatedly drives by, backs up and stops as the driver tries to engage in a conversation with her. >> Trending: Opossum found living in 7-year-old’s bedroom for 3 days before parents find it  When the car appears to drive off, the girl takes off running. Police are hoping someone may be able to help identify the driver and the car.
  • Nine explosions hit multiple churches, hotels and other locations in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing more than 300 people and injuring hundreds more, according to The Associated Press and other media outlets. >> Read more trending news  The victims included at least four Americans, State Department officials said Monday. Here are the latest updates:  Update 11:30 p.m. EDT April 23: Police said the death toll in the Easter attacks has risen to 359 and more suspects have been arrested. Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara also said Wednesday morning that 18 suspects were arrested overnight, raising the total detained to 58. The prime minister warned on Tuesday that several suspects armed with explosives were still at large. Update 1 p.m. EDT April 23: Sunday’s bombings claimed the lives of 45 children, officials with the United Nation’s Children’s Fund said Tuesday in a statement. “Many children have lost one or both parents, and countless children have witnessed shocking and senseless violence,” UNICEF officials said. More than 320 people were killed and 500 injured in the bombings. Update 7:11 a.m. EDT April 23: The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the deadly Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka, the Guardian and the Washington Post are reporting. The group, which has lost all the territory it once held in Iraq and Syria, has made a series of unsupported claims of responsibility. Update 5:55 a.m. EDT April 23: Sri Lankan officials said the death toll from Sunday’s bombings has risen to 321, the Guardian and the Washington Post reported Tuesday. The news came as Sri Lankan Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardene said the attacks were “carried out in retaliation” for the deadly mosque shootings in New Zealand last month, according to The Associated Press. So far, at least 40 people have been arrested in connection with the attacks, authorities said. Meanwhile, the country observed a day of mourning, including a three-minute moment of silence Tuesday morning. Mass burials also were held in Negombo, the Guardian reported. Officials have declared a state of emergency in Sri Lanka, giving military officials “enhanced war-time powers,” the AP reported. Authorities also are facing criticism amid reports that a top police official sent a letter April 11 to four security agencies warning that terror group National Towheed Jamaar was planning suicide bombings at churches, the AP reported. Update 9:45 p.m. EDT April 22: Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, issued a statement in response to the bombings.  “Today as a nation we mourn the senseless loss of innocent lives this past Easter Sunday. I would like to thank the military and police forces, the medical personnel and all those who have worked bravely and tirelessly without concern for their own safety, to ensure the safety and security of our citizens. It is imperative  that we remain unified as Sri Lankans in the face of this unspeakable tragedy.” A three-minute moment of silence for the victims of the explosions will be held at 8:30 a.m. local time, according to BBC reporter Azzam Ameen. Update 8 p.m. EDT April 22: The two Australians who officials said had been killed in the explosions have been identified by a family member. Sudesh Kolonne told Australian Broadcasting Corp. his wife, Manik Suriaaratchi, and their 1-year-old daughter Alexendria were killed in an attack in Negombo, which is north of Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo. Kolonne said he was outside when the explosion happened. “I heard a huge noise and I jumped into the church and I saw that my wife and my daughter were on the floor,” he said. “I just saw my daughter on the floor and I tried to lift her up, (but) she was already dead. And (then) exactly the same… next my wife is there.” Kolonne said he and his family moved from Melbourne to Sri Lanka in 2014 when his wife started a consultancy business.  “I don’t know what to do,” he said. “We used to go to that church every Sunday. We never expected this.” Update 4:50 p.m. EDT April 22: A spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed to The AP that the agency is providing assistance with the investigation into the bombings. She would not provide specifics. Update 3:50 p.m. EDT April 22: In an email to parents, officials at Sidwell Friends, a private school in the Washington-area, confirmed one of their students was killed in Sunday’s bombings, The Washington Post reported. School officials identified the student as Kieran Shafritz de Zoysa, a fifth-grade boy who had been on leave in Sri Lanka for the last year, according to the Post. “Kieran was passionate about learning, he adored his friends, and he was incredibly excited about returning to Sidwell Friends this coming school year,” school officials said in the letter. “We are beyond sorry not to get the opportunity to welcome Kieran to the Middle School.” State Department officials said earlier Monday that at least four Americans were among the nearly 300 people killed in Sunday’s attacks. Officials with the English education management company Pearson confirmed that one of the company’s Denver-based employees had also been killed in the bombings. Update 3 p.m. EDT April 22: Officials with the U.S. State Department confirmed Monday that at least four Americans were among the nearly 300 people killed in Sunday’s bombings in Sri Lanka. The department said that in addition to those killed, several others were seriously injured. Officials gave no details about the identities of the victims, citing privacy concerns. Earlier Monday, officials with the English education management company Pearson confirmed that one of the company’s Denver-based employees had been killed in the bombings. Pearson CEO John Fallon said Dieter Kowalski died shortly after arriving at his hotel in Sri Lanka for a business trip. Update 2:10 p.m. EDT April 22: President Donald Trump said he spoke Monday to Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe after a series of bomb attacks in the country. In a tweet, Trump said he told Wickremesinghe “the United States stands by him and his country in the fight against terrorism.” “(I) also expressed condolences on behalf of myself and the People of the United States,” Trump wrote. Earlier Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed the government would provide “all possible assistance” to help in the investigation. Update 1:50 p.m. EDT April 22: Sri Lankan President Maithrpala Sirisena declared April 23 a national day of mourning in a statement obtained Monday by The Associated Press. In the statement, Sirisena said he planned to meet with foreign diplomats to seek international assistance. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier Monday that the U.S. would provide “all possible assistance” to help in the investigation. Officials said nearly 40 foreign tourists from 11 countries were killed in Sunday’s attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka.  Update 11:20 a.m. EDT April 22: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday mourned the victims of Sunday’s bomb attacks in Sri Lanka and promised the government would provide “all possible assistance” to Americans and Sri Lankans alike. Related: Sri Lanka attacks: Who are the National Thowheed Jamath? “We urge that any evil-doers be brought to justice expeditiously and America is prepared to support that,” he Pompeo said. “We also stand with the millions of Sri Lankas who support the freedom of their fellow citizens to worship as they please.” Pompeo confirmed that Americans were among those killed in Sunday’s attack, though he didn’t specify the number of American victims. “It’s heartbreaking that a country which has strived so hard for peace in recent years has been targeted by these terrorists,” he said. Related: Sri Lanka attack: Danish billionaire loses three of his four children in bombings Update 9:50 am. EDT April 22: A Denver man has been identified as one of the nearly 300 people killed Sunday in bombings in Sri Lanka, his employer confirmed Monday. Dieter Kowalski worked as senior leader of the operation technical services team for Pearson, an education management company. Though the company is based in England, Kowalski worked in Pearson’s Denver office, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.  “Colleagues who knew Dieter well talk about how much fun he was to be around, how big-hearted and full-spirited he was,” Pearson CEO John Fallon said in a statement shared with company employees and posted Monday on LinkedIn. “They tell of a man to whom we could give our ugliest and most challenging of engineering problems, knowing full well that he would jump straight in and help us figure it out. Dieter, they tell me, was never happier than cheer-leading for our customers and our company and inspiring people in the best way he knew how – by helping them to fix things and doing it with joy, happiness and grace.” Fallon said Kowalski died shortly after arriving at his hotel Sunday for a business trip. Update 7:55 a.m. EDT April 22: Three children of Anders Holch Povlsen, who owns Bestseller clothing, were killed in Sunday’s attacks, The Associated Press is reporting. The 46-year-old Danish billionaire, who is also the largest shareholder in ASOS, and his family were on vacation in Sri Lanka, the AP reported. Authorities said 39 foreigners were among the 290 people killed in Sunday’s attacks.  Meanwhile, a vehicle parked near St. Anthony’s Shrine, one of the churches that was bombed Sunday, exploded Monday as police tried to defuse three bombs inside, according to the AP. At least 87 bomb detonators have been found in Colombo, officials said. Police have detained at least 24 suspects in connection with Sunday’s bombings. Update 5:15 a.m. EDT April 22:  Government officials said the National Thowheed, a Sri Lankan militant group, was responsible for Sunday’s deadly attacks, the Guardian is reporting. However, a government spokesman said an “international network” helped the attackers. Seven suicide bombers caused six of the nine explosions Sunday, a forensic analyst told The Associated Press. Authorities also said a second Chinese citizen and two Australian citizens were among those killed in Sunday’s attacks. So far, the dead include citizens of the United States, India, Britain, China, Australia, Japan and Portugal, the AP reported. Meanwhile, a Sri Lanka military official said crews defused a homemade pipe bomb discovered late Sunday on a road to the airport outside Colombo, the AP reported. Update 12:10 a.m. EDT April 22: The death toll in the bombings has increased to 290 and more than 500 people have been wounded, according to police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara. Among those killed are five Indians, who were identified in tweets from India’s external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka, The AP reported. China and Portugal also said they lost citizens, and the U.S. said “several” Americans were also killed in the bombings. The AP reported Sri Lankan officials said they would examine reports that intelligence failed to heed or detect warnings of a possible suicide attack.  “Some intelligence officers were aware of this incidence,” Telecommunications Minister Harin Fernando said in a tweet, according to The AP. “Therefore there was a delay in action. Serious action needs to be taken as to why this warning was ignored.”  Update 9:50 p.m. EDT April 21: Japan has confirmed at least one citizen death and four injuries from the bombings. The country has issued a safety warning to Japanese people in the country, telling them to avoid mosques, churches and public places like clubs, malls and government offices, The AP reported. Foreign Minister Taro Kono expressed solidarity with Sri Lanka and sent his condolences to victims of the explosions. He also said Japan was committed to “combating terrorism.” Update 5:40 p.m. EDT April 21: The Associated Press reported that, according to internet censorship monitoring group NetBlocks, social media has been blocked across the country after the attacks. Most services, including YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook have been temporarily blacked out to curb false information spread, according to Sri Lankan officials. According to NetBlocks, such blackouts are usually ineffective. Related: Sri Lanka explosions: Sri Lanka shuts down social media in wake of Easter attacks “We are aware of the government’s statement regarding the temporary blocking of social media platforms,” Facebook, which owns Instagram and WhatsApp, said in a statement to The AP. “People rely on our services to communicate with their loved ones and we are committed to maintaining our services and helping the community and the country during this tragic time.” Update 3:28 p.m. EDT April 21: Police have 13 suspects in custody, impounded a vehicle they believed was used by suspects and located a safe house used by the attackers.  Related: Photos: Easter Sunday blasts at Sri Lanka churches, hotels kill dozens No one has claimed responsibility for what Sri Lankan officials have described as a terrorist attack by religious extremists. Update 9:28 a.m. EDT April 21: Police have so far arrested three people in connection to the blasts, The Guardian reported. A motive for the bombings is still unclear, investigators said.  Update 8:46 a.m. EDT April 21: At least 207 people were killed and 450 hurt in Sunday’s attacks, The Associated Press is reporting. Officials said eight blasts targeted three churches, three hotels, a guesthouse and an area near a Dematagoda overpass, the AP reported. Authorities reportedly have arrested seven people in connection with the incidents. Update 8:07 a.m. EDT April 21: Sri Lankan officials say at least 190 people, including at least 27 foreigners and two police officers, were killed in Sunday’s attacks, The Associated Press is reporting. Seven people have been arrested in connection with the eight explosions, which rocked at least three churches and three hotels, as well as a guesthouse, officials said. Update 7:35 a.m. EDT April 21: President Donald Trump tweeted condolences to the Sri Lankan people Sunday morning. “The United States offers heartfelt condolences to the great people of Sri Lanka,” Trump tweeted. “We stand ready to help!” Update 7:19 a.m. EDT April 21: Hours after explosions at Sri Lankan churches and hotels left dozens dead and hundreds more injured, Pope Francis prayed for the victims during his annual Easter message at the Vatican. Related: Sri Lanka explosions: Pope denounces attacks during Easter blessing “I wish to express my heartfelt closeness to the Christian community (of Sri Lanka), wounded as it was gathered in prayer, and to all the victims of such cruel violence,” Francis told the crowd in St. Peter’s Square, according to Vatican News. He later added: “I entrust to the Lord all those who have tragically perished, and I pray for the injured and all those who suffer as a result of this tragic event.” Every year after leading Easter Mass, the pope delivers an “Urbi et Orbi” (“to the city and the world”) message, which addresses global issues and conflicts. Update 5:32 a.m. EDT April 21: Two more blasts have been reported in Sri Lanka. A seventh explosion hit a hotel in Dehiwala, and an eighth blast was reported in the capital, Agence France-Presse is reporting. Update 4:20 a.m. EDT April 21: At least 156 people were killed in blasts at three churches and three hotels in Sri Lanka, Agence France-Presse is reporting. The dead include 35 foreigners, officials said. Update 3:34 a.m. EDT April 21: At least 137 people were killed in blasts at three churches and three hotels in Sri Lanka, Agence France-Presse is reporting. The dead include 45 people in Colombo, 67 in Negombo and 25 in Batticaloa, officials said. At least nine of the people killed were foreigners, the news agency reported. More than 500 people were hurt in the explosions, according to The Associated Press. Original report:  Explosions hit three churches and three hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing dozens of people and injuring nearly 300 more, news outlets are reporting. According to The Associated Press, blasts occurred Sunday morning at St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo and a church in Batticaloa. Explosions also rocked the Kingsbury, Cinnamon Grand and Shangri La hotels in Colombo, the BBC reported. The Agence France-Presse news agency said 52 people died in the blasts. At least 283 people were taken to the hospital, the AP reported. Suicide bombers may have caused at least two of the church blasts, a security official told the AP.  The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Britney Spears appeared on Instagram on Tuesday evening to tell her fans that “all is well.” >> Read more trending news In the very brief Instagram video, Spears checked in, saying she “just needed time to deal,” but promised that she would be back very soon. “I wanted to say hi, because things that are being said have just gotten out of control!!! Wow!!! There’s rumors, death threats to my family and my team, and just so many things crazy things being said. I am trying to take a moment for myself, but everything that’s happening is just making it harder for me. Don’t believe everything you read and hear. These fake emails everywhere were crafted by Sam Lutfi years ago... I did not write them. He was pretending to be me and communicating with my team with a fake email address. My situation is unique, but I promise I’m doing what’s best at this moment 🌸🌸🌸 You may not know this about me, but I am strong, and stand up for what I want! Your love and dedication is amazing, but what I need right now is a little bit of privacy to deal with all the hard things that life is throwing my way. If you could do that, I would be forever grateful. Love you” Earlier this month, Spears checked herself into a mental health facility as her father, Jamie Spears, continues to have health issues, according to TMZ. The celebrity news site reported that, according to unnamed sources, the singer has been distressed over her father’s illness, which the site claims is not getting better. In January, Spears announced that she was putting her planned Las Vegas residency — and the rest of her career — on hold for the sake of her father. The 37-year-old Spears has sons aged 13 and 12. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Children as old as 12, and even 13, may find themselves back in car booster seats under new legislation signed into law by Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee. >> Read more trending news  The new law updates children’s car seat regulations, requiring all children under 4 feet, 9 inches tall to ride in car booster seats.  According to House Bill 1012, children are required to sit in booster seats in vehicles “until the vehicle lap and shoulder seat belts fit properly, typically when the child is between the ages of eight and twelve years of age, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, or must be properly secured with the motor vehicle's safety belt properly adjusted and fastened around the child's body.” The new law also requires all children under 13 to ride in the back seat and requires children under 2 to ride in rear-facing car seats. “Children aged 2 to 4 can be forward-facing in a car seat until they reach the specifications for a booster seat,” according to the new law. >> Trending: Opossum found living in 7-year-old’s bedroom for 3 days before parents find it  People in violation of the law can be ticketed.
  • An Ohio 9-year-old boy performing in drag at a Lancaster bar prompted an Ohio lawmaker to introduce a bill to expand the definition of child endangerment. State Rep. Tim Schaffer, R-Lancaster, introduced House Bill 180 to prohibit a performance in a bar where a child simulates sexual activity. The business could lose its liquor license and the parent could face misdemeanor criminal charges, if the bill becomes law. >> Read more trending news “Given our heightened focus on human trafficking and the role money plays in trafficking children, I knew I had to take action to make sure this activity does not occur again,” Schaffer said. “We can do better to protect innocent children and we must do better.” Related: Video of the boy’s performance Jacob Measley has been performing as Miss Mae Hem for several months, according to The (Toledo) Blade. His performance includes cartwheels, high kicks, splits and dancing in costume. He got interested in drag queens while watching RuPaul’s Drag Race, a reality TV show, with his mom, Jerri Measley, The Blade reported. She could not be reached for comment on this story. Video of a Dec. 1, 2018 performance at JD Hendersons bar in Lancaster led to complaints and an investigation by Lancaster police and state agencies, said Lancaster Mayor David Scheffler. No law violations were found, he said. After the investigations ended, a “social media outbreak” occurred when a website purporting to be the city of Lancaster made it sound like it was an ongoing issue, Scheffler said. “It was all dead, gone, over. Investigation found no violations. Then someone anonymously on this site posted inaccurate information.” The posting led to threats of violence and demands to close the bar from people across the country, the mayor said. “It got really nasty.”
  • A Georgia woman has pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing her husband and four children, and stabbing a fifth child, who survived, the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office said. >> Read more trending news Isabel Martinez, 35, entered guilty pleas to five counts of murder, one count of aggravated assault and one count of cruelty to children Tuesday. Martinez's defense attorney, Don Geary, said she pleaded guilty, but mentally ill. Martinez called 911 on July 6, 2017. When paramedics arrived at her Loganville home, they found Martinez with her wrists slashed. Martinez’s husband, Martin Romero, 33, was found stabbed to death, along with 10-year-old Isabela Martinez, 2-year-old Axel Romero, 7-year-old Dacota Romero and 4-year-old Dillan Martin-Romero. Diana Romero, then age 9, was found with stab wounds, but survived. Diana Romero told a DFCS worker that Martinez began stabbing the children first; when Martin Romero tried to stop her, Martinez stabbed him, according to a DFCS report. Martinez was not crying or screaming as she killed her family members, and told Diana Romero that she was “going to the sky to see Jesus,” Diana Romero told a DFCS worker. Martinez confessed to the killings in the following hours and was arrested, according to the DA’s office. Later, she claimed a “family friend” committed the stabbings in her Loganville home, but she did not give police the name of that alleged friend.  The Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office declined to seek the death penalty in this case in part due to Martinez’s “apparent mental issues,” District Attorney Danny Porter said in 2018. Family and neighbors said Martinez was depressed in the weeks before she killed her family. Her father had died and Martinez was unable to attend the funeral in Mexico. She worried that he would go to hell because he practiced witchcraft, her brother-in-law, Orlando Romero, told the AJC. She told a Department of Family and Child services worker after her arrest that she felt a “devil-like spirit” was trying to take her children when they were playing in the ocean near Savannah shortly before the killings.  Martinez was sentenced to five life sentences with the possibility of parole plus 21 years after entering her plea Tuesday, according to the DA’s office.