Tykee Smith’s time at Georgia has finally come at the star position as sophomore Javon Bullard did not travel with the team to Missouri.
The No. 1-ranked Bulldogs play the Tigers at 7:30 p.m. (TV: SEC Network) with Coach Kirby Smart ready to tap into the great depth he has recruited onto the defensive side of the ball.
Smith, an All-American from West Virginia who transferred to play for the Bulldogs after the 2020 season, missed most all of 2021 with a foot injury and then a season-ending knee injury.
Smith didn’t play in the 39-22 win over Kent State last Saturday, but Smart said earlier this week he could be ready for the Tigers after Bullard was arrested last Sunday morning on DUI charges.
“I think Tykee does a good job, he’s physical, he’s tough at the point,” Smart said last Monday. “I don’t know that he’s 100 percent back but he’s been practicing really well.”
Smith did play 24 snaps in the 48-7 win at South Carolina, 16 against Samford and 20 defensive snaps in the 49-3 win over Oregon,.
Smart seemed to indicate Smith, who was participating with a knee brace throughout fall camp, could be cleared to play at Missouri.
“I think Tykee does a good job, he’s physical, he’s tough at the point,” Smart said on Monday. “I don’t know that he’s 100 percent back but he’s been practicing really well.”
Smart pushed Smith as hard as anyone in fall drills, imploring him to run from drill to drill, and pushing him to get his confidence back as he wore a knee brace in fall camp.
Smart said the Bulldogs have also cross-trained others at the star position, to the extent starting safety Christoper Smith can also play there, along with starting cornerback Kamari Lassiter.
It gives co-defensive coordinators Will Muschamp and Glenn Schumann several different combinations, including Darris Smith, whose speed makes him an option against certain personnel packages at the hybrid position.
Georgia receivers A.D. Mitchell and Arian Smith, who have been working their way back from injuries, both traveled to the game and could be available.