Kirby Smart: Georgia putting together ‘pieces of puzzle’ for early signing day

Georgia football-Clemson-rivalry-future
Georgia football coach Kirby Smart has proven among the most elite recruiters in the nation, but even he is challenged by the current circumstances.

ATHENS — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart is applying the mathematics background he attained through his University of Georgia business major in place these days.

Smart anticipates UGA will have its largest early enrollee class since the December signing day came into existence in 2016, but he’s just not sure how it all adds up.

Where and how will all of those scholarships become available?

“We’re looking at the possibility of anywhere from 14 to 20 mid-year enrollees,” Smart said on his Tuesday Zoom call. “Let’s say we have 20 mid-year enrollees who want to come—we don’t have 20 spots.

“Yet, the seniors won’t count next year, but they’re eating spots right now. It just doesn’t add up. It doesn’t make perfect sense, so it’s a dilemma that we have to deal with.”

Georgia had three players transfer during the offseason, and another three are currently in the transfer portal with strong speculation that more will soon join them.

But the bigger part of the issue is the early signing day takes place (Dec. 16) before the deadline (Jan. 17) for underclassmen declare for the 2021 NFL Draft (Apr 29-May 1), something that has become a regular occurrence under Smart’s leadership.

Already, 78 players have declared, but none of the UGA underclassmen have stated intentions to leave.

“Just like it’s been in the past — that I don’t know a lot of the valuable spots that we need, because a lot of that is based on juniors and decisions they have,” Smart said. “It’s so hard to predict your roster for the next year and your needs not knowing who’s going to be here and who’s not.

“That’s the hardest thing for me, is figuring out where the pieces of the puzzle come from in terms of who you sign.”

The first five of seven Georgia players selected in the 2020 NFL Draft had eligibility remaining: First-round picks Andrew Thomas and Isaiah Wilson, second-round pick D’Andre Swift, fourth-round pick Solomon Kindley and fifth-round pick Jake Fromm.

The Bulldogs have a handful of players from this season’s team that have decisions to make on their futures.

Smart, however, said he doesn’t want them thinking about anything but finishing the season.

“They don’t need to make that decision right now, that decision is based on family, graduation, performance, NFL evaluation,” Smart said. “They’ve got to focus on playing ….  hopefully playing a bowl game, avoiding COVID. There’s a lot going on before they have to make that decision.”

And for Smart and his staff, there’s a lot going on before next Wednesday when up to 20 prospects will sign into Georgia’s 2021 class.

Smart explained it’s an unprecedented set of circumstances.

“Kids aren’t in high school, so why should (they) stay for (their) second semester?” Smart said, pointing out how the COVID-19 restrictions have affected prospects’ decision making. 

“We have a unique year where we have more guys that may want to enroll early than we’ve ever had, and you have to find the spots for those.”

The Bulldogs have 20 commits at the moment in a class ranked No. 3 by the 247Sports composite.

Here’s a look at where the team rankings stand, with the number of commits:

1. Alabama (22)

2. Ohio State (20)

3. Georgia (20)

4. LSU (20)

5. Oregon (21)

6. Clemson (17)

7. Florida (26)

8. Notre Dame (23)

9. Michigan (21)

10. USC (15)

Other SEC schools

14. Tennessee (25)

15. Texas A&M (17)

19. Arkansas (20)

26. Missouri (20)

29. Mississippi State (18)

35. Kentucky (17)

42. Auburn (12)

47. Vanderbilt (20)

48. Ole Miss (15)

89. South Carolina (10)

Georgia football class breakdown

(without players in NCAA portal)

RS Senior/grad transfer (4)

TE Tre’ McKitty

WR Demetris Robertson

OG Ben Cleveland

DT Julian Rochester

Seniors (10)

OG Justin Shaffer

DE Malik Herring

DT Devonte Wyatt

OLB Jermaine Johnson

OLB Walter Grant

MLB Nate McBride

MLB Monty Rice

STAR Mark Webb

S Richard LeCounte

CB D.J. Daniel

RS Juniors  (8)

QB Stetson Bennett

WR Matt Landers

OL/NT Netori Johnson

OLB Robert Beal

STAR William Poole

CB Eric Stokes

CB Ameer Speed

S Latavious Brini

Juniors (10)

RB James Cook

OL Jamaree Salyer

C Trey Hill

NT Jordan Davis

OLB Adam Anderson

MLB Channing Tindall

MLB Quay Walker

CB Tyson Campbell

S Chris Smith

P Jake Camarda

RS Sophomores (9)

QB JT Daniels

RB Zamir White

TE John FitzPatrick

WR Tommy Bush

WR Kearis Jackson

OT Owen Condon

OG Warren Ericson

DE Tramel Walthour

OLB Azeez Ojulari

Sophomores (9)

RB Kenny McIntosh

WR George Pickens

WR Dominick Blaylock

DE Travon Walker

OLB Nolan Smith

MLB Nakobe Dean

MLB Trezmen Marshall

STAR Tyrique Stevenson

S Lewis Cine

RS Freshmen (9)

TE Ryland Goede

TE Brett Seither

OT Xavier Truss

OT Warren McClendon

C Clay Webb

NT Tymon Mitchell

DT Bill Norton

DT Zion Logue

MLB Rian Davis

Freshmen (24)

QB Carson Beck

RB Kendall Milton

RB Daijun Edwards

TE Darnell Washington

WR Marcus Rosemy

WR Jermaine Burton

WR Arian Smith

WR Justin Robinson

WR Ladd McConkey

OT Broderick Jones

OT Tate Ratledge

OT Chad Lindberg

OT Austin Blaske

OG Devon Willock

C Sedrick Van Pran

C Cameron Kinnie

DT Jalen Carter

DT Warren Brinson

DT Nazir Stackhouse

OLB Mekhail Sherman

CB Jalen Kimber

CB Kelee Ringo

S Major Burns

K Jared Zirkel

NextGeorgia’s Toumani Camara records double-double, Bulldogs top Montana
Leave a Comment