It does not appear that Mississippi State transfer Rodarius “RaRa” Thomas is enjoying a smooth start to his time in Athens. According to Athens-Clarke County jail booking records the 6’1, 192 pound rising junior was arrested by UGA police early Monday morning on a felony charge of false imprisonment and a misdemeanor charge of family violence (first offense). Thomas was booked in the Athens-Clarke County jail at 4:04 a.m. Monday morning.
The Eufaula, Alabama native chose Georgia over offers from several other schools, including Alabama, Auburn, and Tennessee after a standout 2022 season in Starkville that saw him lead the Bizarro Bulldogs in receiving with 626 yards and 7 touchdowns on 44 catches. Thomas was expected to contend for a starting job following the departure of AD Mitchell. That’s still a possibility, as we remind you that arrests are not convictions, and that in our system of justice all are innocent until proven guilty. It’s also worth noting that there’s some precedent here as Clemson transfer Derion Kendrick also faced legal trouble before having his charges expunged and taking the field in 2021 enroute to an NFL contract. However in Kendrick’s case the charges were misdemeanors; in Georgia false imprisonment is a felony punishable by between one and ten years in confinement, subject to some exceptions (aggravating circumstances can increase the punishment). At UGA student athletes are barred from competing if they are facing felony charges unless they are cleared by a review board. Thus Thomas’s path to the field now appears legitimately in danger.
We will update this story with any new details that emerge.