Would you like to receive DawgNation news alerts? Excellent! News alerts will be displayed in your browser.
Jeff Sentell/DawgNation
Georgia has a need for speed at the wide receiver position. And Arian Smith could fill it.

ESPN identifies which 2020 signee is most likely to become Georgia football’s impact freshman

Following the departure of Mecole Hardman, the Georgia football offense had a huge need for speed. There wasn’t a player on the 2019 roster that was able to replicate some of the skills Hardman had but there is a member of the 2020 signing class who possibly could.

That’s 4-star wide receiver Arian Smith. The Lakeland, Fla., product is regarded as one of the fastest players in the 2020 cycle and he won the fastest man challenge at the Under Armour All-American practices.

Smith is the No. 9 ranked wide receiver in the 2020 cycle and the No. 58 overall player in the class. Given his skills and the position he plays, ESPN thinks there’s a very good chance Smith goes on to play a huge role for the Bulldogs as a freshman.

“This should really be every receiver Georgia landed in the 2020 class since that’s where a lot of the help is needed,” ESPN’s Tom VanHaaren wrote. “Smith is a speedster who should be able to make an impact right away. He is 6-foot, 170 pounds, so he’s not necessarily a small receiver who is fast, but he has a good combination of size and speed and should be featured early.”

Georgia officially landed Smith on Dec. 18. But he told DawgNation that he had actually made up his mind on Georgia earlier in the process.

And it came after perhaps Georgia’s worst performance of the season.

“At that moment in time, I just felt like it would have been the perfect decision,” he said. “And it was. That’s when I silently committed. Right after the SEC championship.”

Related: Arian Smith and Kirby Smart: The big news the day after that ‘L’ versus LSU

Georgia lost 37-10 against eventual national champion LSU. The Bulldogs were without Lawrence Cager in that game and then saw Dominick Blaylock and Kearis Jackson go down with injuries in the game. Georgia was also without George Pickens in the first half of that game due to a suspension stemming from the Georgia Tech game.

Smith also added that Georgia really sold him on the importance of having a player with his level of speed in the offense.

“I’d seen the previous year, they had more success last year than this year. They were missing Mecole Hardman,” Smith said. “I figured I can take his spot and turn the offense around.”

In addition to playing football at Georgia, Smith will also run track. He was teammates with current Georgia track standout Matthew Boling at the U-20 Pan-Am games last summer.

Georgia signed four other wide receivers in the 2020 class in Marcus Rosemy, Jermaine Burton, Justin Robinson and Ladd McConkey. Only Robinson enrolled early, and the chatter out of Athens is that he’s already turning heads with his size. Rosemy and Burton were also top-100 recruits in the 2020 recruiting cycle.

Even though Pickens does return for his sophomore season, the Bulldogs still have a significant need at wide receiver. Blaylock tore his ACL in the loss to LSU and Cager has since moved on to the NFL as well.

Smith and the Bulldogs open the 2020 season on Sept. 7 against Virginia.

Arian Smith and Marcus Rosemy discuss what they’ll bring to the Georgia football offense

More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation

We have a new way to comment on our DawgNation stories. To do so, you must be a registered user on the DawgNation forum. If you haven’t registered, please go to the Forum homepage on DawgNation and look for “register” on the right side.