Injuries have been a consistent problem for Arian Smith throughout his Georgia career, as the speedy wide receiver has missed chunks of time in each of his first two seasons.
He will miss time again this year, as the wide receiver is set to undergo ankle surgery with Dawgs Central the first to report the development. The injury occurred during Thursday’s practice and it is expected Smith will miss the remained of preseason practice.
“He just hasn’t been on the field long enough as a developmental player,” offensive coordinator Todd Monken said of Smith on Thursday. “He is fast. He is athletic. He is a great kid. But not being healthy and being out there to develop… What that does, is that restricts you from a player being an every-down player to get on the field more often because you can’t trust them and everything you’re asking them to do, so they have to be situational players, if that makes sense.”
Smith is regarded as the fastest player on the Georgia team and has shown playmaking ability. In his Georgia career, he has five catches for a total of 188 yards and three touchdowns. But meniscus surgery was limited to four games as a freshman. Then a leg injury ended his 2021 season following a game against Missouri. He has played in just eight games in his Georgia career.
Injuries were a major problem for the Georgia wide receiver room last season, with multiple wide receivers missing multiple games for the Bulldogs.
To this point, Smith and walk-on Mekhi Mews have been the only wide receivers limited by injuries. Georgia signed four wide receivers during the 2022 signing cycle, with CJ Smith best being able to replicate Arian Smith’s speed. Of those freshmen, however, it is wide receiver Dillon Bell that has impressed the most to this point in fall camp.
Smith had not been able to crack the first team at wide receiver so far, with AD Mitchell, Kearis Jackson and Ladd McConkey holding down the starting spots. Smith was also competing with Dominick Blaylock for snaps, though the latter has impressed so far for the Bulldogs.
Prior to fall camp starting, Georgia coach Kirby Smart stressed the importance of remaining healthy throughout the physical fall practices.
“As you guys know it’s about surviving fall camp. It’s not about entering camp,” Smart said. “We enter camp at 99 percent. It’s coming out of camp at 95 percent that’s going to be important.”
The Bulldogs will hold their first scrimmage of fall practice on Saturday, with Georgia coach Kirby Smart set to speak to the media afterwards.
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