Sources: UGA without 4 starters

Updated: September 8, 2012, 2:52 PM ET
By Chris Low and Mark Schlabach | ESPN.com

No. 7 Georgia will be without four defensive starters in Saturday's SEC opener at Missouri, including safety Bacarri Rambo and linebacker Alec Ogletree, sources confirmed to ESPN.com on Friday.

The Bulldogs already were without suspended cornerback Sanders Commings and outside linebacker Chase Vasser, who are each serving two-game suspensions for offseason arrests. But UGA coach Mark Richt has been tight-lipped about the availability of Rambo and Ogletree for Saturday's road contest, the first SEC game for the Tigers.

ESPN.com reported in March that Ogletree and Rambo faced multigame penalties for failing the university's substance-abuse policy. Richt has yet to confirm that either player has been suspended or how long either must sit out.

This spring, Rambo's high school coach told reporters that Rambo, a senior from Donalsonville, Ga., failed a UGA-administered drug test after eating marijuana-laced brownies during spring break. Ogletree, a junior from Newnan, Ga., also failed a drug test for the second time, according to published reports.

Without Rambo, a first-team All-American in 2011, the Bulldogs will start former walk-on Connor Norman at free safety for the second consecutive game. Georgia's secondary is expected to get back sophomore Malcolm Mitchell, a converted receiver, who was the team's most impressive cornerback during preseason camp. Mitchell missed last week's 45-23 victory over Buffalo at Sanford Stadium with a sprained ankle.

Vasser, a junior from Gainesville, Ga., was suspended after he was arrested for a DUI in Atlanta on May 11. Commings, a senior from Augusta, Ga., was suspended after he was arrested Jan. 21 on domestic violence charges.

Georgia linebacker Cornelius Washington alluded to the situation Friday on Twitter, writing: "S/O to the soldiers we have to leave behind. Y'all will be missed." Washington then listed the Twitter handles for Ogletree, Rambo and Vasser. Washington's message was later removed from Twitter.

Chris Low | email

College Football

Mark Schlabach | email

College Football and Basketball