Dreshun Miller committing to Auburn is why Kirby Smart chuckles at transfer portal fascination
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Dreshun Miller commits to Auburn is why Kirby Smart chuckles at transfer portal
Former West Virginia cornerback Dreshun Miller announced on Monday that he would continue his football future at Auburn.
— Dreshun Miller (@DreshunMiller) February 22, 2021
We’ve written before about Miller after he entered the transfer portal. He started nine games last season for the Mountaineers, where he played for current Georgia defensive backs coach Jahmile Addae. He’s also from the state of Georgia, as he played his high school football for Sprayberry High School in Marietta.
All that background, plus Georgia’s seeming need at the cornerback made Miller a potential target for Georgia through the transfer portal.
Ultimately, Miller elected to transfer to Auburn. To many, the Tigers added a very good player that should help their secondary. A portion of the Georgia fan base likely knows this after familiarizing themselves with Miller’s talents.
This is exactly why Georgia coach Kirby Smart, when asked about building his team through the transfer portal, chuckled at the notion.
“Every time somebody goes in it, you write an article,” Smart told reporters before the Peach Bowl. “We don’t have to monitor it, you guys do it for us (laughter). As soon as somebody is in it, we know. I think people think we have people sitting down there checking on the ticker every three minutes.
“Since y’all are checking the ticker every three minutes, I don’t have to. ”
Miller is hardly the first player to draw attention upon entering the transfer portal. Arik Gilbert updates practically turned into a 24-hour news cycle in December and January following his exit at LSU and his arrival at Florida.
With players announcing they’re entering the transfer portal to following their likes and follows on social media platforms, it’s become easier than ever to track what players are doing and hypothesizing where they might be going.
Which is exactly why Smart doesn’t spend hours at a time wondering which player in the transfer portal can help his team.
“It’s a need base for us,” Smart said. “If I had my preference, I would rather not use the portal because schools like Cincinnati and Georgia shouldn’t have to, you should be able to go out and recruit the right kind of guys.”
Smart is going to learn a good bit about his current 2021 team in the coming month with spring practices. He’ll get 15 opportunities to see how his team looks on the practice field and Sanford Stadium.
So come the end of G-Day on April 17, Smart will have a much better idea of where his team stands as far as what it needs.
Given what Georgia has lost at cornerback — Eric Stokes, Tyson Campbell, DJ Daniel and Tyrique Stevenson — it seems like a position where Georgia might have a need.
The Bulldogs have landed blue-chip prospects in the past two recruiting cycles such as Kelee Ringo, Jalen Kimber and Nyland Green. All three of them will be on campus and competing for a starting spot at that position. Kamari Lassiter, another 4-star cornerback, is set to arrive later this summer.
Bringing in a cornerback, like potentially Miller, would’ve been viewed as a potential quick fix at the position. But Miller will likely only be at Auburn for one season and adding him doesn’t help Georgia’s long-term outlook at the cornerback position.
Smart took the time in his signing day press conference to stress the importance of development at the cornerback position. If Georgia’s current young players at cornerback don’t develop, it figures to be a multi-year headache for Georgia.
“It’s a position that needs to be developed, we have some guys that we’ve been developing that need to step up and play,” Smart said. “We’ve also got some young guys that we’ve signed that we just talked about that will have to grow quickly and will get an opportunity to compete for positions.”
It should also be noted that shortly before the aforementioned quote, he brought that freshmen have rarely played a key role in the secondary. While his point was largely about freshmen, it could also be seen as an argument against someone from outside the Georgia program, like a graduate transfer, playing immediately.
“There have certainly been role players but not many guys that can just step in and play,” Smart said.
The only defensive back transfer Georgia has brought in since taking over at Georgia was Maurice Smith. He came to Georgia for the 2016 season, Smart’s first in Athens. Smith also spent the previous three seasons playing for Smart when he was the defensive coordinator at Georgia.
The transfer portal isn’t the only way for Georgia to add its scholarship count. Auburn showed another way that could happen on Saturday, when 4-star 2021 defensive end Dylan Brooks committed to Auburn. He was originally set to play for Tennessee, but the Volunteers released him from his letter of intent following the firing of Jeremy Pruitt.
The Bulldogs could still add to the 2021 recruiting class, whether it be from a 2022 player reclassifying like when JT Daniels did that so he could enroll as a part of USC’s 2018 class.
And yes, Georgia still has plenty of room and time to add through the transfer portal. Following spring practices around the country, the transfer portal will once again be flooded with players looking for a new home.
Maybe one of those players fits what Georgia is looking for. What the Bulldogs need for their 2021 team. But only then, when it is abundantly clear to Smart that he needs to bolster the roster, will Georgia turn to the transfer portal to do so.
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