ATHENS — Kirby Smart was answering a question Thursday night about what positions he needed immediate impact players in recruiting about when he got to tailback. That’s when he acknowledged the unknown: Whether Nick Chubb or Sony Michel, or both, might be back for their senior year.
“We’re hopeful that we can get those guys back, but we know Nick and Sony will have an opportunity in the NFL,” Smart said. “So time will tell.”
Speaking on his radio show, Smart went on to say that the positions he was most hoping to get immediate help at were for a pass rusher, at receiver (“an impact wide receiver … to work with Jacob (Eason)”), and then at tailback, depending on what Chubb and Michel do.
Both players have said they are undecided on whether to declare. The deadline for underclassmen to declare is mid-January, but Smart said “that’s not the case” for Chubb and Michel, as far as when they’ll decide.
“I think after the bowl game, that’s the time to really approach that. We take time in between the bowl game and right now to visit, discuss where things are, to gather information,” Smart said. “That’s the most important thing, and I’ve discussed with them, that’s the critical factor. …
“We as coaches, we see it over and over every year, we see guys make good decisions, bad decisions. We have to help them. And we have people that assist our staff, outside organizations that assist our staff, contact the NFL to give us accurate information, so they can make the best decision possible. Not just them, but each guy on our team that would have that opportunity.”
Georgia’s bowl destination will be announced on Sunday. Smart said he had “no idea” where it will be, and that athletics director Greg McGarity is “working diligently” with the SEC office. The team’s bowl practice is expected to begin around Dec. 14, the day after finals end, and then break around a week later for the holidays.
Georgia does have commitments from two highly-rated tailback recruits: D’Andre Swift from Philadelphia and Toneil Carter from Houston. And current freshmen Brian Herrien and Elijah Holyfield are also due to be returning.