Channing Tindall-Georgia football-South Carolina
Georgia inside linebacker Channing Tindall (41)` during the Duke’s Mayo Classic against Clemson at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC., on Saturday Sept. 4, 2021. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Tony Walsh

Channing Tindall waited for his turn at Georgia to become a positive, NFL-bound force

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Channing Tindall wait his turn at Georgia and became a positive, NFL-bound force

Travon Walker understands why his head coach so often fields questions about why certain players don’t play more.

“I know why fans be so hard on coach,” Walker said. “We have a lot of good players that can come in at any time.”

Yet Tindall doesn’t start. He’s the third inside linebacker in the game for Georgia behind Nakobe Dean and Quay Walker. And he’s perfectly fine with that role.

When asked about himself, he quickly deflects to speaking about the strength of the linebacker room. Not just Walker and Dean but also some of the young players such as Smael Mondon or Jamon Dumas-Johnson.

Tindall — who will be playing against his hometown South Carolina Gamecocks this weekend — enthusiastically raves about his teammates. Not just those in Georgia inside linebacker room but those he matches up with on the field. Whether it be about Nolan Smith’s leadership or Brock Bowers’ athleticism, Tindall is quick to praise and pump up almost every Bulldog except himself.

It’s a great trait for a senior linebacker to have.

“Channing Tindall is one of those players you feed off his energy,” defensive back Kelee Ringo said. “You look at him and already know he’s ready to go. He gives that look where it’s like, ‘I got you if you got me.’ The way he flies to the ball, if you’re not playing to his standard or above that, what are you doing?”

Through two games, only safety Lewis Cine has more tackles for the Georgia team. Tindall is one of the many reasons why Georgia has perhaps the best defense not just in the country but of the Smart era.

So you might be wondering why Tindall hasn’t been a bigger part of the Georgia defense in the past. He’s flashed before, such as when he notched 2.0 sacks against Tennessee in 2020.

In his own words, it’s because he wasn’t ready.

“I didn’t know a lot about inside linebacker,” Tindall said. “I just knew it was going to take me a little while to understand it. I didn’t try to use it as an excuse to leave or anything like that.”

Like so many on Georgia’s team, Tindall was a highly recruited prospect. In the 2018 recruiting class, Tindall ranked as the nation’s no. 103 prospect in the country per the 247Sports Composite rankings.

Tindall had spent much of his high school career coming off the edge. But a move to Georgia meant he would have to play inside linebacker. Having close to no experience at the position — along with playing behind future NFL draft picks Tae Crowder and Monty Rice — Tindall was going to have to sit, learn and wait.

He surely could’ve found the field earlier elsewhere, including at South Carolina which recruited him hard out of Spring Valley High School. But thanks to the relationship he had with Glenn Schumann, Tindall wanted to bet on himself at Georgia.

“He was a big reason why I stayed,” Tindall said. “Just the things I was learning from him, the things I’m still learning from now. I feel like I know way more that will prepare me for the next level.”

Tindall knew what he didn’t know and used that to gradually improve. Smart also praised how willingly Tindall threw himself into Georgia’s various special teams units.

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