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Kirby Smart, giving quarterback Jake Fromm a pat after a touchdown pass, is a semifinalist for a coach of the year award,

Kirby Smart named semifinalist for coach of the year award

Cy Brown

Welcome to Good Day, UGA, your one-stop shop for Georgia football news and takes. Check us out every weekday morning for everything you need to know about Georgia football, recruiting, basketball and more.

Multiple Bulldogs, including Kirby Smart, up for individual honors

Kirby Smart has Georgia at 9-1 and in the running for a spot in the College Football Playoff in his second season at the helm in Athens. He’s also in the running for the Guy Munger Coach of the Year Award.

Along with 15 other head coaches from around the country, Smart was named a semifinalist for the honor Thursday. He’s one of four SEC coaches being considered, along with Gus Malzahn of Auburn, Dan Mullen of Mississippi State, who won it in 2014 and Nick Saban of Alabama, who won it in 2016. Smart would be the first Georgia coach to win the award in its 28-year history.

The other coaches under consideration are Matt Campbell (Iowa State), Paul Chryst (Wisconsin), Bill Clark (UAB), Mark Dantonio (Michigan State), Scott Frost (Central Florida), Lane Kiffin (Florida Atlantic), Jeff Monken (Army), Mark Richt (Miami), Lincoln Riley (Oklahoma), Rich Rodriguez (Arizona), Dabo Swinney (Clemson) and Jeff Tedford (Fresno State).

Smart wasn’t the only one to find himself up for an award Thursday. Bulldogs punter Cameron Nizialek was named one of 10 finalists for the Ray Guy Award, given to the best punter in college football. Nizialek is a graduate transfer from Columbia in his first, and only, season with Georgia. Former Bulldogs punter Drew Butler won the Ray Guy Award in 2009.

A number of other Bulldogs have also found themselves up for individual honors this season. Linebacker Roquan Smith is a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Award, given to the best defender, as well as a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, also given to the country’s top defender. Smith and fellow linebacker Lorenzo Carter are both semifinalists for the Dick Butkus Award, given to the nation’s best linebacker. Rodrigo Blankenship is a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award, given to the country’s best kicker. Nick Chubb is a semifinalist for the Maxwell Award, given to the best offensive player. Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker is a semifinalist for the Broyles Award, for the nation’s best assistant coach.

4-star DT commits to Georgia

Georgia added its 18th commitment to the Class of 2018 with the pledge of 6-foot-6, 320-pound 4-star defensive tackle Jordan Davis of Charlotte. Davis is the third DT to commit to UGA as part of the 2018 class along with 4-star Devonte Wyatt, who signed with Georgia out of high school in January before enrolling in junior college, and 3-star Tramel Walthour.

Planning for the opponent

If you want a proper preview of the Kentucky game, check out this post from Chip Towers of DawgNation for all you need to know. And if you want Kentucky’s perspective on the matchup, check out this conversation between Towers and SEC Country Kentucky reporter Joe Mussatto.

Mail time

It’s never too early to look ahead to next season, which is exactly what Seth Emerson of DawgNation did in his Thursday mailbag. Along with questions about a worrisome performance in the trenches, comparisons between Smart and Mark Richt and scoring options besides Yante Maten on the UGA hoops team, Emerson answered a question about what Georgia loses after this season.

Short version, though: The defense will lose at least five starters (John Atkins, Lorenzo Carter, Davin Bellamy, Aaron Davis and Dominick Sanders), six if you count Malkom Parrish, and Roquan Smith and Trenton Thompson are definitely question marks because of the draft. The offense loses the two best tailbacks, arguably the best receiver (Javon Wims), and the best O-lineman (Isaiah Wynn) and the tight end who starts (Jeb Blazevich.)

That is a lot that will be lost, and is one reason I’ve said even before this season began that 2018 may not be The Year, so why not this year? That said, the way recruiting has gone, and the depth that has been developed this year, some pretty talented players will step into bigger roles next year. It should definitely qualify as a Reloading-not-Rebuilding-year.

Georgia hoops signs 2 forwards

Georgia men’s basketball signed two players Thursday as part of the college basketball early signing period. 4-star power forward Amanze Ngumezi of Savannah, who committed in September, and 3-star small forward JoJo Toppin of Nocross, who announced his decision Thursday, both inked letters of inter to play for Mark Fox and the Dawgs.

“We are excited to add Amanze and JoJo to our team as they add legitimate SEC size and athleticism for their respective positions,” Fox said. “Amanze provides us a big and explosive front-line player who also has great ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter. JoJo is a quick slasher who is very athletic at the rim. Together, they address the needs that will be created when this senior class departs.”

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