Chris Smith issues a warning about Georgia football: ‘This team is going to be a problem for years to come’
LOS ANGELES —Nolan Smith and Chris Smith won’t be around to help this defense next season. Both are moving on to the NFL after two excellent careers at Georgia.
They’ll be tough to replace, as Nolan Smith was the team’s vocal leader while Chris Smith was a unanimous First-Team All-American.
“Oh wait, you’ve seen those defensive players tonight,” Nolan Smith said after the game. “They’re only just going to just get better because they’re freshmen. People talk trash about up us but we got our freshmen playing in games that other freshmen at home are watching.”
Georgia also sees a number of non-freshmen return, with cornerback Kamari Lassiter, inside linebacker Jamon Dumas-Johnson and Smael Mondon and defensive back Javon Bullard bringing back starting experience. Bullard won the defensive MVP honors in both playoff games, while Mondon and Dumas-Johnson finished first and second in tackles.
The Bulldogs are also bringing in another elite signing class, which currently ranks No. 2 in the country. Most of the top signees come on the defensive side of the ball, with Georgia signing nine defensive players who rank among the top-100 overall players in the class per the On3 Consensus rankings.
Players will have two weeks off the cool off from the grind that was the 2022 season. But they know the work for the next one must be put in. No matter your age or experience, next year’s team will be a new one, even if it doesn’t have as many holes
“I know when I get back, I’m going to be in the weight room, I’m going to be with the new wide receivers and the guys that are already here,” quarterback Carson Beck said. “It’s going to be all eyes on next year after those two weeks. We’re starting from square one and then we’ll work our way up from there.”
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The Georgia defense struggled in the run-up to the national championship game, playing its worst two games of the season in consecutive games against LSU and Ohio State. But the unit responded by giving up just seven points and 188 total yards in the win over TCU.
With all the talent coming back, next year’s team figures to more closely resemble the 2021 team from a talent perspective.
While that’s certainly exciting, the talented group of returnees will have to spend the offseason getting better and improving if they’re going to meet the standard set by Nolan and Chris Smith.
“I do think it’s going to be much tougher,” Smart said. “And I do think we’re going to have to reinvent ourselves next year because you can’t just stay the same.
“And we have a lot of guys, in my opinion, that are going to come back and it’s easy to get comfortable. And comfortable does not win.”
Chris Smith speaks bluntly on 2023 Georgia football team
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