Kirby Smart on transfer portal: ‘I don’t know that it is right for college football’
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Kirby Smart gives a strong stance against the transfer portal
As spring practice wraps up around the country, the transfer portal has once again entered the debate cycle. Penn State and Ohio State both saw quarterbacks enter the transfer portal on Thursday. Alabama had another quarterback enter the portal earlier in the week as well.
As the Bulldogs finish their spring practice on Saturday, it’s a safe assumption that a few Georgia players could enter the transfer portal. Georgia had four players do it after the regular season, with Justin Fields, Luke Ford and Deangelo Gibbs all moving on to new schools. Safety Tray Bishop has not yet found a home.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart has been asked about the subject before. But Smart made his strongest statement on the portal yet on Thursday.
“I don’t know that it is right for college football,” Smart said on a SiriusXM radio appearance. “It may be good on an individual basis. But when you give kids an easy way out sometimes, sometimes they take the path of least resistance. People can say ‘well, coach, you are free to go wherever you want to go,’ we also have a contract and they are free to fire us anytime they want. So they can fire us anytime they want as an assistant coach.”
What does @FootballUGA Head Coach Kirby Smart think about the effect that the transfer portal has had on college football? He's not a huge fan.
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Fields and Ford both transferred after their freshman seasons. Ford moved back home to Illinois in order to be closer to family. Fields ended up at Ohio State, where it looks all but guaranteed that he’ll be the starting quarterback after Matthew Baldwin put his name in the transfer portal.
Smart isn’t against the idea of transferring on the whole. Georgia has taken a number of graduate transfers over the years. In this offseason alone, Georgia has brought in wide receiver Lawrence Cager and tight end Eli Wolff. Cager and Wolf will join the team after they graduate from Miami and Tennessee respectively.
Where Smart draws the line is when a player early on in their career — like Fields did — decides to transfer.
“For a student-athlete, to say they should be able to go anywhere, I really believe if the kid graduates now, he should be able to go anywhere he wants to go,” Smart said. “But giving kids a way out when early on it’s tough, and the process is hard, that’s the biggest problem I have.”
The NCAA has been more relaxed on granting waivers to play right away. Fields has already been granted a waiver to play immediately at Ohio State this season. But Smart has benefitted from this policy change as well. Georgia wide receiver Demetris Robertson transferred to Georgia following two seasons at Cal. Robertson was granted immediate eligibility for the 2018 season.
Smart did seem to acknowledge things are a little different when it comes to the quarterback position, for those who might try and take Smart’s words as a potential shot at his former quarterback.
“I do think quarterback is a unique position and I certainly understand that it is different,” Smart said. “But a lot of other positions these kids just go because that is what they did in high school.”
Smart added that he is trying to look out for his players who might be interested in playing elsewhere. Others would say Smart was is simply looking out for what’s best for his program. The reality is that it’s a mix of both.
But the Georgia football coach does have a point when it comes to sticking things out. In speaking with former Georgia tight end Arthur Lynch, he revealed he considered transferring early on in his Georgia career. He was a long way from his home back in Massachusetts and wasn’t playing much.
But Lynch ended up sticking things out and went on to become an All-SEC tight end. That won’t be the case for every player, but it’s still worth keeping in mind that not every successful person is successful right away.
Becoming a successful college football player takes time for some. Smart knows this, having been through a similar experience as a player. But given the state of college football, it looks Smart is going to have to accept this as the norm for the time being.
“”I did not have immediate success, I just go to the next place.’ That has not always proven to be best for kids,” Smart said.
Georgia baseball beats Missouri behind a stellar effort from Emerson Hancock
Emerson Hancock has been one of the best college baseball players in the entire country this year. And he had the best start of his career on Thursday night. The sophomore pitcher gave up just 3 hits over 8.0 innings while striking out 11 in Georgia’s 3-0 victory over Missouri.
It was a career-high for innings pitched and strikeouts for Hancock. He moves to 7-2 on the season now with a 1.04 ERA. This was Hancock’s first win since March 28, as he ended up getting just two runs of support in his previous two starts.
“He was awfully good. He threw eight innings, faced one over the minimum,” Georgia baseball coach Scott Stricklin said. “You can’t be much better than that through eight innings with 11 strikeouts, and no walks. He made them uncomfortable in the batter’s box. With a fastball up to 96, he can throw inside and some changeups and sliders. He’s awfully tough.”
The effort was much appreciated from the Georgia bullpen, given the Bulldogs played a 20-inning game against Clemson on Tuesday night.
The Bulldogs were actually no-hit through the first five innings by Missouri starter Jacob Cantelberry. But the Bulldogs had three straight hits to open the sixth inning and ended up scoring all three of their runs in the frame.
Georgia will look to pick up the series win on Friday against Missouri. Thursday’s victory moved Georgia to 31-8 on the season and gives them an SEC-best 11-5 conference record. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.
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Head coach Lu Harris-Champer recorded her 100th-career victory at Georgia Tech on Mar. 27, 1999.
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