ATHENS — Kirby Smart said it again when speaking to reporters last night.
While he likes the talent on this defensive line, he just doesn’t see a fully formed Jordan Davis or Jalen Carter-like player out there for Georgia.
“You always want really disruptive, violent, quick, twitchy players. Everybody wants that,” Smart said. “You need both. You need someone that can do that, you need somebody that can anchor and handle double teams and strike blocks. We have guys that can be disruptive — I just don’t know if they can do it consistently and do it and stop the run as well without guessing sometimes. Our defensive linemen are perfectly capable. There’s not that kind of guy.”
Smart was then quick to point out that Davis or Carter were not finished products when they first arrived at Georgia. It took time for them to evolve into the Godzilla-like terrors they became on the defensive line.
The two both found a way onto the field as freshmen. They weren’t stars but there are no small parts in the Georgia defense, especially on the defensive line.
That’s why we should take note that freshman Jordan Hall already seems to have secured one for Georgia.
Hall was in Georgia’s pass rush package in Saturday’s game against UT-Martin. Georgia sent Hall, Mykell Williams, Darris Smith and Jalon Walker out there to harass UT-Martin’s quarterback on third down.
Williams picked up Georgia’s lone sack on Saturday, but he got some help from Hall on the play, as he pulled the right guard away on a twist that freed up Georgia’s talented sophomore.
“His work ethic and how violent he is with his hands and how he rushes,” Williams said on what stands out about Hall. “Like, he’s a great player and he’s going to be real impactful for us this year.”
Senior Tramel Walthour also pointed to Hall’s work ethic as to why he’s been able to get on the field early for Georgia.
Hall played 18 snaps on Saturday, with CJ Allen, AJ Harris and Joenel Aguero being the only 2023 signees to play more for Georgia in the win. Hall finished fourth among defensive linemen in snaps played in the opening game.
Hall is something of a mix between Carter and Davis. He’s not yet the two-gap monster that Davis was nor is he as big — few humans are. But he’s also bigger than Carter, though not as quick. The one similarity may be how violent the Georgia freshman is with his hands.
Georgia has one of the most experienced defensive lines in the country, especially when it comes to the interior. Walthour, Naz Stackhouse, Zion Logue and Warren Brinson are all seniors for Georgia. That means there isn’t a rush to get Hall onto the field early. He’s going to have to earn whatever playing time he receives.
But there’s also the fact that those four players will likely be gone next season. Leaving a pretty big hole for Hall to try and fill.
It’s why Georgia is making sure Hall is putting in the time now to earn a role for this Georgia defense so that he can be ready for a bigger one when the time comes.
“I’m very comfortable with the guys we’ve got and very comfortable with what Jordan’s doing being able to help us,” Smart said. “We want to keep bringing those guys along so that we have more of those guys than anybody in the country.”
Smart was also asked about negative recruiting, specifically when it comes to pass rush production. The Georgia head coach had an answer that sums up the state of the Georgia program and the defensive line in particular.
And it helps further illuminate why the future is so bright for Hall.
“We usually fix that when we show them how many have been drafted,” Smart said. “Then it’s silenced. We put Travon’s sacks up there and say he went 1-1 overall. We put Devonte’s up there and say he went first round. We put Quay’s up there, we put Nolan’s up there, we put Jordan Davis’ up there and then they don’t say anything.”