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University of Georgia photo / Georgia senior guard Justin Shaffer, who has played in 36 career games for the Bulldogs, announced Friday that he will use the NCAA's extra year of eligibility and return to Athens.

Georgia's promising offense for the 2021 football season received more good news Friday when senior guard Justin Shaffer announced that he would use the NCAA's extra year of eligibility that has been provided amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 6-foot-4, 335-pounder from the Atlanta suburb of Ellenwood started the first nine games at left guard this past season before moving to right guard for the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Shaffer was moved to replace fifth-year senior Ben Cleveland, who opted out of the 24-21 triumph over previously undefeated Cincinnati.

"My dream was always to be a student-athlete at the University of Georgia and get a degree," Shaffer posted on social media. "I've made lifetime bonds with my teammates, who I now call my brothers. To my family and friends, I appreciate all the love and support you've shown me these past few years.

"With that being said, I've decided to return for my last year of eligibility."

Shaffer played every offensive snap in six of Georgia's 10 games during its 8-2 season, including the bowl game. He has played in 36 career contests for the Bulldogs and earned his first start in the 43-14 win at Tennessee in 2019.

Georgia could have as many as nine starters back from this season's offense, with Cleveland and junior center Trey Hill having already announced their declarations for the 2021 NFL draft. Redshirt sophomore running back Zamir White has yet to reveal his plans for next season, but junior running back James Cook joined junior quarterback JT Daniels earlier this week in announcing that they would be returning.

 

Hendon Hooker announced

Tennessee announced on Friday the signing of quarterback Hendon Hooker, the graduate transfer from Virginia Tech.

The 6-4, 220-pounder from Greensboro, North Carolina, played in 25 career games with the Hokies, including 15 starts. He completed 197 of 312 passes (63.1%) for 2,894 yards with 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions, and he also rushed 247 times for 1,033 yards (4.2 per carry) and 15 touchdowns.

"We look forward to Hendon joining the Tennessee football family this semester," Volunteers coach Jeremy Pruitt said in a release. "Hendon is a very talented and dynamic quarterback with multiple years of Power Five experience. He will be a great addition to our quarterback room and make a positive impact with two years of eligibility remaining."

Hooker played in eight games with seven starts during the 2020 season, finishing 98-of-150 passing (65.3%) for 1,339 yards and nine touchdowns, while adding 620 yards and nine scores on the ground.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

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