Despite a disappointing junior season, Georgia quarterback Quincy Carter announced Tuesday he will give up his final year with the Bulldogs to enter the NFL draft.
Carter made his decision Monday night after meeting with new coach Mark Richt.
"It was a difficult decision to make," Carter said in a statement released by the school. "There are so many factors to weigh and you cannot predict what the future will hold either by staying or going. However, after seeking a lot of advice and meeting with my family, I've decided to continue my career in the NFL."
Carter considered leaving Georgia after his sophomore season, but he returned with hopes of leading the Bulldogs to their first Southeastern Conference championship since 1982.
Instead, he missed five games with shoulder and thumb injuries while Georgia struggled to an 8-4 mark that led to the firing of coach Jim Donnan, a strong Carter supporter.
When he was on the field, Carter completed less than 50 percent of his passes (91-of-183) for 1,250 yards, with only six touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
"I've learned so much from my college experience, not only about football, but about life," Carter said. "I wish coach Richt and the team the very best and I'm confident they'll be successful."
Richt, who is still assembling his Georgia staff, had hoped to persuade Carter to stay for another year.
"Certainly, I want to wish Quincy the best as he pursues his goals in the NFL," Richt said in a statement. "I know I speak for all those associated with Georgia in thanking him for his many contributions to our university, our community and our football program."
Carter may have been better off leaving Georgia a year ago, when he was coming off a strong sophomore season.
He was named to the All-SEC second team after completing almost 58 percent of his attempts for 2,713 yards setting a school record for a sophomore and 17 touchdowns. He also had a streak of 170 consecutive passes without an interception, third-longest in SEC history.
Carter initially signed with Georgia Tech after starring at Southwest DeKalb High School, only to give up football for two years while he pursued a career in baseball with the Chicago Cubs organization.
He struggled as a hitter and never advanced past the Class A level, prompting his return to football in 1998.
Georgia Tech already had an established quarterback in Joe Hamilton, so Carter decided to play for the Bulldogs, who needed someone to replace Mike Bobo. The move prompted bitter feelings between the state rivals.
Carter earned the starting job right away, passing for 2,484 yards and 12 touchdowns as a 21-year-old freshman. He guided the Bulldogs to a 9-3 record, including a come-from-behind victorys final two seasons, well below expetations. He was criticized for failing to play well against the school's biggest rivals, going 0-3 against Florida, 0-2 against Georgia Tech and 1-2 against Tennessee.
This past season, Carter's streak of 30 consecutive starts ended because of a bruised rotator cuff. He returned to play in a loss to Florida, only to sprain a ligament in the thumb of his throwing hand.
Carter missed Georgia's final three regular-season games as well as an Oahu Bowl victory over Virginia. Former walk-on Cory Phillips took over as the starter and will be one of the contenders for the job in the spring.
Georgia also has freshman David Green, a highly regarded prospect who was redshirted this season. Donnan considered him the quarterback of the future.
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