Georgia football newcomers aim to make early impressions, Kirby Smart reflects on humbling arrival

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart talks with freshman Samuel M'Pemba during Georgia’s spring practice session in Athens, Ga., on Tuesday, March 14, 2023. (Tony Walsh/UGAAA)
Tony Walsh

ATHENS — Kirby Smart shared how things have changed since he arrived at Georgia back in 1994, most all for the better.

One thing, however, remains the same: What matters most is what happens on the field.

Smart and the Bulldogs are expected to take to the practice field today (Saturday) for some scrimmage action leading up to the annual G-Day Game on April 15.

They are all important days as the new coaching staff sorts out its chemistry, leaders look to step up and competition for playing time plays out on the field.

Beyond that, this represents an initiation of sorts for the 21 mid-term enrollees.

“The transition form high school to college is one of the toughest,” Smart said earlier this week in Macon. “First time you walk in, they don’t hand you a jersey number and tell you how good you are.

“You walk into that locker room and it’s humble pie, because everybody there was just as good as you coming out, and they don’t care anything about your accolades, they don’t even know who you are.”

Smart shared how when he arrived as “5-10, 175-pound” player, his new teammates asked “do you kick here?”

There aren’t too many recruiting underdogs like that on the Georgia roster these days — though Ladd McConkey and Eric Stokes serve as reminders of how Smart can identify and develop late-blooming talent.

There are, however, 21 mid-term enrollees that Smart and his staff look to maximize.

“Those 21 guys, we are counting on them to help us this year, immediately,” Smart said. “And we want to include them and have inclusion on everything we do with our players and team.”

Today’s work will give many of the players in that star-studded signing class of 2023 to make more impressions and begin to make a mark.

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