ATHENS — The Bulldog blood inside Georgia coach Kirby Smart might have reared its head during Wednesday’s press conference when talking up his school.
There was room to speculate if Smart was taking an indirect jab at Georgia Tech on Wednesday.
After all, new Yellow Jackets coach Geoff Collins said upon being hired earlier this month that: “A lot of the programs that we’re going to recruit against don’t have the advantage of having the ability of having a meaningful degree, to come to a place where education matters, where innovation and creativity matters.”
Smart, an academic All-SEC selection during his playing career as well as an All-SEC safety on the field, has mentioned Georgia’s No. 13 rank in the U.S. News and World Report 2019 ranking of best public national universities several times.
Smart was still in recruiting mode on Wednesday after landing the No. 2 early signing class in the nation on Wednesday when asked about how well 5-star linebacker Nakobe Dean fit in at Georgia.
“He wants to be an engineering student,” Smart said. “Where better to be an engineering student than the University of Georgia?”
Technically, rival school Georgia Tech would be one answer to that question according to the U.S. News & World Report 2018 rankings.
Georgia Tech is ranked No. 8 among engineering schools while Georgia, which has a relatively new engineering school, is ranked No. 122.
The Yellow Jackets celebrate their engineering school to the point of it being mentioned — along with an affinity for strong alcoholic beverages — in the school’s fight song:
“I’m a Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech and a hell of an engineer,
A helluva, helluva, helluva, hell of an engineer,
Like all the jolly good fellows, I drink my whiskey clear.
Still, to Smart’s point, he recently had a player who was able to play football and successfully navigate what is typically a very difficult undergraduate major.
“Our engineering department has done a tremendous job carving out how he can do it,” Smart said. “We just had a young man graduate, Jackson Harris, with an engineering degree.”
Smart said that the family of Dean, the No. 1-ranked inside linebacker, was most concerned with their son’s safety when picking a school.
“The first thing his family said was safety, academics, and football,” Smart said. “They wanted him to go to a safe, good, wholesome campus. They know Georgia is that. They believe in Georgia, they know the program we have, they really bought into Athens. Then the academics.”