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Tykee Smith can be Georgia’s most impactful transfer addition
Between the high-profile additions of Derion Kendrick of Clemson and Arik Gilbert of LSU, and the ongoing drama surrounding Brandon Turnage, it would be easy to forget about Georgia’s first big transfer portal addition from this offseason.
Related: Derion Kendrick addition helps Georgia secondary, adds intrigue to Clemson game
That would be former West Virginia defensive back Tykee Smith. He announced back in April that he would be transferring into the Georgia program and arrived at the beginning of June. His arrival overshadowed by those of both Gilbert and Kendrick.
Smith might not have the recruiting pedigree that Kendrick and Gilbert did, as those two were both 5-star prospects coming out of high school. Nor does a transfer from West Virginia carry quite the same weight as one from LSU, Alabama or Clemson.
Above those three though, Smith is best positioned to not just play a key role on the Georgia defense but make a bigger impact than the three other transfers.
Smith enters Georgia as the most accomplished of its four transfers. He earned Third Team All-American honors last season and was a Freshman All-American in the 2019 season. Across his two seasons in West Virginia, he picked up 17 starts for the Mountaineers.
His time at West Virginia also coincided with Jahmile Addae, who will now be his defensive backs coach for the Bulldogs. While the pair will have to learn the ins and outs of how head coach Kirby Smart wants his defensive backs to play, having previously worked with Addae is a tangible benefit for Smith.
“I think the biggest thing with him is his memory is amazing,” Smith’s high school coach Devon Johnson told DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell. “He can sit here and tell you plays like specific plays and coverages and adjustments we made in games going back to his sophomore year in high school.”
Related: What Tykee Smith really brings to Georgia
Kendrick does boast somewhat similar credentials, as he started 23 games for Clemson over the past two seasons. He also earned First-Team All-ACC honors in his time with the Tigers.
The former Clemson cornerback also fills a bigger need for the Bulldogs, as he is likely to slide in at one of the cornerback openings for Georgia. With Eric Stokes, Tyson Campbell, DJ Daniel and Tyrique Stevenson all elsewhere, cornerback became Georgia’s biggest offseason need.
Kendrick’s prior experience makes him a sizable favorite to win one of those jobs, with Jalen Kimber, Kelee Ringo and Ameer Speed vying for the other spot.
Smith, at 5-foot-10 and 198 pounds, is more likely to slide in at Georgia’s star position. The position was previously manned by Mark Webb for the past two seasons.
Smith will bring a different element to the position and quite frankly the entire Georgia defense. In his time at West Virginia, Smith proved to be a very disruptive defender. Over his first two college seasons, he picked off four passes for the Mountaineers. The rest of Georgia’s current secondary has just five career interceptions combined.