ATHENS — Georgia football has needs in a reloading secondary, and Kirby Smart believes West Virginia transfer Tykee Smith will help fill at least one of them.
The 5-foot-10, 198-pound Smith — a third-team All-American and honorable mention All-Big 12 selection last season — is likely being brought in to win a job at safety or the Star.
Smart said he would go to the transfer portal if the Bulldogs had an area of need and were in search of more experience.
“It’s not hard to look and see where you lost players when you look at the Pro Day we had and you look at the upcoming draft,” Smart said, referring to the five departing Bulldogs’ defensive backs who are expected to be selected in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Third-year safety Lewis Cine is the only lock to start in the secondary at this point.
Christopher Smith got some starts at the other safety position last season and looks to have beefed up since then. Cornerback Jalen Kimber is handling his business at one of the cornerback spots, but still needs to put on weight.
Georgia is expected to add another defensive back via transfer, most likely at the cornerback position.
Georgia trotted Smith out to get a look at cornerback in last Saturday’s scrimmage along with Kimber and fourth-year player Ameer Speed.
Kelee Ringo, a 5-star 2020 signee who missed last season with a torn labrum, remains a work in progress at cornerback. Ringo is getting his first live action at the collegiate level this spring, and it’s only natural it will take him time to adjust.
Smith has an advantage coming in, having played for new Georgia secondary coach Jahmile Addae at West Virginia.
While with the Mountaineers, Smith played the “Spear” position, which is similar to the “Star” position at Georgia.
The Georgia defense is among the more complex, and defensive coordinator Dan Lanning uses several different packages that feature different players in different positions at different times.
Smart said from the onset there would be plenty of work that needed to be done in the defensive backfield.
“I think the number one thing is the secondary is a developmental position,” Smart said. “Number two, especially for us, is when you look at it across the board, the number of players we’ve had that play as freshmen have been few and far between when it comes to defensive backs. There have certainly been role players but not many guys that can just step in and play.
“So, 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. 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.”