COLUMBUS — The fullback position will remain a part of Georgia’s offense. It just won’t be a major part, and it won’t use up a scholarship.
In a somewhat eye-opening quote, at least if you happen to play the position, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart stated Wednesday at an event in Macon that “I’m not a fullback guy.” Asked a day later, before an event in Columbus, what he meant by that, Smart replied: “It means I’m not a fullback guy.”
He paused a second.
“What does a fullback do?” Smart said.
Mostly blocks. Sometimes gets a pass.
“What does a tight end do?” Smart replied. “Same. I’m more of a tight end guy than a fullback guy. If you look at the course of scholarships in the SEC, I don’t think you’ll find a whole lot of fullbacks who were signed to be fullbacks. You’ll find tailbacks that were converted. You’ll find O-linemen that might be converted who could run.”
That was the case with Glenn Welch, who came to Georgia as a walk-on offensive lineman (he was Greyson Lambert’s center in high school), switched to fullback, and ended up playing there last year. Welch is listed at 6-foot-3 and 244 pounds.
Christian Payne, who was first team most of last season when healthy, is listed at 6-1 and 232 pounds. He came to campus as a walk-on fullback after playing both offense and defense in high school.
“They’ve both done a really good job,” Smart said of Payne and Welch.
And that’s why Georgia will keep going the walk-on or conversion route for fullbacks, rather than give a scholarship to one, as the previous staff did occasionally. Quayvon Hicks was the last one recruited as a fullback, signing in the 2012 class.
“It’s one of those situations where we try to get the best quality player who can play the most positions,” Smart said. “Sometimes a fullback is more limited. There’ll be fullbacks in our offense. There probably won’t be scholarship fullbacks in our offense right now.”