What Georgia’s past transfer portal usage tells us about any future additions
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How Georgia football might use transfer portal to help 2021 team
Kirby Smart has made himself very clear as to how he likes to use the transfer portal.
You won’t see him using it to land multi-year players like Dan Mullen or Geoff Collins have done. There’s certainly value in landing Arik Gilbert or Kenyatta Watson II as transfers, but Smart would prefer to win those recruiting battles out of high school.
Smart is not going to use it to supplant some misses in a single recruiting class, like how Penn State or Oklahoma have used it in this past recruiting cycle. Smart is always going to want to sign as full a recruiting class as he can.
Smart was asked prior to the Peach Bowl about his feelings on the transfer portal and how he wants to use it to help Georgia.
“It’s a need base for us,” Smart said. “If I had my preference, I would rather not use the portal because schools like Cincinnati and Georgia shouldn’t have to, you should be able to go out and recruit the right kind of guys.”
Georgia has its needs for the 2021 team. And we know the Bulldogs have room to add to the roster, as the unofficial scholarship count puts Georgia at 83 for the fall. So who might Georgia try and add? If you look at recent transfer portal additions, we have some clues as to the type of player Smart and the Bulldogs might target.
What are the Georgia football needs for 2021 team?
The most obvious hole on the Georgia roster right now is at cornerback. After the departures of Eric Stokes, Tyson Campbell, DJ Daniel and Tyrique Stevenson. Georgia has a grand total of zero career starts at the cornerback position on the 2021 team.
The Bulldogs have recruited well in recent seasons at the position, signing Kelee Ringo, Jalen Kimber and Nyland Green. Those three will all be on campus this spring, going through drills and competing for a starting spot in the secondary.
Smart has stressed development in the secondary and the Bulldogs really need those three to develop. Especially with a game against Clemson to open the 2021 season.
“It’s a position that needs to be developed, we have some guys that we’ve been developing that need to step up and play,” Kirby Smart said on National Signing Day. ” We’ve also got some young guys that we’ve signed that we just talked about that will have to grow quickly and will get an opportunity to compete for positions.”
If there is another spot where Georgia wants to add, the Bulldogs could use another speedy receiver. Redshirt freshman Arian Smith seems primed to fill this role for Georgia next season. But the Bulldogs don’t have anyone else with his speed on the roster and Smith did have surgeries on his wrist and knee in his freshman season.
Georgia made a hard push to add wide receiver Jimmy Horn in the 2021 recruiting class. Horn ended up signing with South Florida, but Georgia seemed to telegraph that it wants to get faster at the wide receiver position. At the very least, help put less of a burden on Smith.
So what type of players has Georgia taken from the transfer portal in the past?
Since the transfer portal came to life in October of 2018, the Bulldogs have landed five players from the portal. All five of them came from Power 5 programs. You can go back even further to Georgia adding Demetris Robertson and Jay Hayes prior to the 2018 season. Georgia has targeted players that have experience at a big-time level.
Of those seven players, five of them had just a single year of eligibility in Jamie Newman, Tre’ McKitty, Lawrence Cager, Eli Wolf and Hayes. Smart and Georgia don’t just want players who have played at a high level, the transfers they’ve landed tend to be at Georgia for just a season.
With a position like cornerback, it makes sense for Georgia to try and target a graduate transfer player. Someone who can help fill the need for one season, while the younger players on the roster can continue to develop and have a path to long-term playing time.
That doesn’t mean there haven’t been exceptions. Georgia landed quarterback JT Daniels last May, after already bringing in Newman in January. Georgia knew quarterback wasn’t just a short-term need but also a long-term one. With Daniels’ performance at the end of the 2020 season, that addition proved to be a wise one.
An interesting note is that of the past seven transfers, only Hayes played on the defensive side of the ball.
So is there a player that fits the mold from the transfer portal?
Georgia can afford to be patient when it comes to adding through the transfer portal. Of those transfer additions, only Newman arrived in time to go through spring drills — though those were wiped out due to the pandemic.
The Bulldogs will have a better idea of where things stand with their secondary following spring practice in April and March. But there is no substitute for game experience. The Bulldogs currently do not have any at that position.
An interesting name to monitor is Dreshun Miller. He will have one year of eligibility remaining after arriving at West Virginia from the JUCO ranks. He has starting experience, as he started nine games for the Mountaineers last season. He had 31 tackles and an interception.
He’s got a couple of interesting ties to the state of Georgia. He comes from Kennesaw, Ga., and played at Sprayberry High School. He also played for Jahmile Addae at West Virginia, who just happens to be the new defensive backs coach for the Bulldogs.
Embracing My Journey by Walking Through Faith 🚶🏾♂️🙏🏾. pic.twitter.com/n1gfaoB0OY
— Dreshun Miller (@DreshunMiller) February 11, 2021
Miller checks a lot of the boxes for Georgia has looked for in the past. But the Bulldogs don’t need to rush to land Miller because he just happens to be the first player in the portal. There’s going to be a ton of movement following spring practices. Maybe a better player becomes available through the portal.
Georgia doesn’t use the transfer portal to build its team. In past seasons, Smart has used transfers to put the finishing touches on the roster. For the 2021 team, cornerback seems like a spot where Georgia could look to add a Power 5 player with starting experience.
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