It’s a massive recruiting weekend for the Georgia football program. It’s a chance for Kirby Smart to showcase all his program has to offer. With 16 official visitors in town, this is a vitality important weekend for the future of the program.
And Smart plans on being unapologetically himself. That might rub some prospects and potential players the wrong way.
But the back-to-back national championships make it hard to argue with Smart’s thought process.
“I try to coach the same way. There are too many other players on your team that will spot that and see it,” Smart said in an appearance on Paul Finebaum this week. “And they’ll say ‘wait, he’s creating a different culture for him whether it’s his NIL or he might jump in the portal or just leave.’ I’m kind of okay if they don’t buy into it and the culture and the environment we create. It’s like okay, if they don’t want to be here, I’d rather them go ahead and leave.”
Georgia has seen its share of big-name players elect to leave Georgia and finish their careers elsewhere. This offseason saw Georgia lose star wide receiver AD Mitchell to Texas and defensive tackle Bear Alexander to USC.
Most though seem to take well to Smart’s coaching style. Players understand he’ll get on you at practice, especially if you’re merely going through the motions as opposed to competing.
The Bulldogs have had no problem bringing in elite recruiting classes under Smart. Georgia has signed a top 4 class in each of the last seven recruiting cycles under Smart. Going into this weekend, Georgia has the nation’s No. 1 ranked recruiting class with 16 commitments.
Among some of those big names visiting this weekend include 5-star commitments Dylan Raiola and Ellis Robinson.
“June is a big month for kids to go on official visits and when all that starts, you’re getting into a lot of issues,” Smart said. “It’s hard to navigate what conversations you are allowed to have. You’ve got to tread very lightly on the kids that all they want is NIL. You’ve got to find kids that want to be in your program for all the right reasons.
“They usually have less of a portal risk or a transfer risk if they’re coming for the right reasons which is to develop and become a good football player.”
Even with some of the portal losses, the Bulldogs are still expected to be a top contender in 2023. Smart’s coaching style and program leadership is a big reason why that is the case, even if it might not be for every prospect in this modern age of college football.
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