ATHENS — Kirby Smart had a lot of boxes to check in his search for a new defensive backs coach in what could prove the most pivotal hire this offseason.
Jahmile Addae, like Smart a former all-conference safety and honor roll student, appears to have all of the attributes the Georgia head coach could be looking for to fill the position.
RELATED: Charlton Warren’s official statement after leaving UGA
Addae was an All-Big East performer with multiple double-digit tackle games
Addae’s regarded as a great communicator, and he comes to the Bulldogs out of a West Virginia defensive system that operates with much of the same mentality Smart and defensive coordinator Dan Lanning teach at Georgia.
The wording is a little different, but the sentiment is the same.
“On defense, we call it one-11, which means each guy of the 11, do your job,” Addae said in an interview previewing the Mountaineers 24-21 Liberty Bowl win over Army.
“We ask them to do that on and off the field, and those things, we’d like to think, correspond and translate.”
Smart is in the midst of a massive rebuild in the Georgia football secondary with nine scholarship players having left the Bulldogs defensive backfield since the end of the 2019 season, including four transfers.
Safety Lewis Cine is the only full-time 2020 season starter returning, though safety Christoper Smith started the second half of the season next to him after Richard LeCounte’s was sidelined by injuries suffered in a Halloween Night dirt bike accident.
The fact that Addae has done it on the field at the high major level as a player gives him immediate credibility with Smart and the players.
Indeed, it was Addae delivering a bone-jarring, fumble-inducing hit on former UGA tailback Darry Ware in the 2006 Sugar Bowl, helping to protect a 14-0 West Virginia lead after the D.J. Shockley-led Bulldogs had driven in the Red Zone.
“It’s all about the passive aggressiveness of it all,” he said. “I think you play passive until you can diagnose where the ball is, and that’s when the aggressive piece comes in, and it’s time to make a play
“Seeing the right things and reacting aggressively once that’s been diagnosed.”
No team did that better against the pass than West Virginia last season.
The Mountaineers led the nation in passing yardage allowed (159.6) and ranked 24th in the nation in pass efficiency defense in 2020. Georgia, meanwhile, was 88th in passing yards allowed and 56th in pass efficiency defense.
Addae will need to help the Bulldogs land some transfers and top recruits quickly, as former UGA starting cornerbacks Eric Stokes, D.J. Daniel and Tyson Campbell are all headed off to the NFL.
During his two-year stint coaching under Butch Jones at Cincinnati, Addae was recognized as one of the Top 10 recruiters in the Big East Conference.