ATLANTA (AP) Georgia senior linebacker Tim Kimbrough says he will transfer to a Division II school after being forced off the team by coach Kirby Smart.

Kimbrough told The Associated Press in a phone interview Thursday that Smart said ''he was going to kick me off the team or I had to transfer.''

Kimbrough, who was third on the team with 67 tackles last season, did not participate in practice Wednesday.

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Smart said afterward that Kimbrough was on ''a little leave of absence.'' He did not elaborate, and the school has not released a statement.

Classes at Georgia begin Thursday. Kimbrough missed time in spring practice for what Smart said were academic reasons. Kimbrough said Thursday his transfer is not based on academics.

Kimbrough was working behind Reggie Carter and Natrez Patrick at inside linebacker.

The Athens Banner-Herald first reported his plan to transfer.

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AP college football website: http://collegefootball.ap.org