Former Georgia star Tykee Smith is settling in quick with the Tampa Bay Bucs, a team he had hoped he would end up with.

Smith, selected on the second day of the 2024 NFL Draft after surprising some with a 4.46-second time in the 40-yard dash, explained the background.

“I had a formal (interview) with (Tampa Bay) at the combine and that went well,” said Smith, the 26th pick of the third round and one of three Georgia defensive backs selected in the Top 100 of this most recent draft.

“And then I came down here for the visit and met everyone the staff, I felt like this was the place I wanted to be.”

So much so that Smith admits he lobbied Georgia linebacker Troy Bowles for his father to select him in the NFL Draft.

“If you saw me and Trey’s DM’s,” Smith said with a smile, “I kept telling him, ‘Please, tell your dad to come get me.’ "

Tampa Bay is coached by Todd Bowles, who played eight years in the NFL as a safety, including a season with the Super Bowl-winning Washington Redskins.

A media member noted that Bowles liked to get “chirpy” with his players, and asked Smith how he felt about that.

“Coach (Kirby) Smart would get on you …. " Smith said, referencing how the Bulldogs’ head coach keeps players on their toes during practices.

“It’s not listening to the tone, it’s listening to the message.”

It’s also a matter of players having complete buy-in knowing they are listening to expert coaching.

“It’s a blessing for me to get to learn from him, he’s a defensive-minded guy,” Smith said.

“It’s similar to what I’m coming from with Coach Smart, being able to teach me the next level of football, as far as recognizing formations and what teams are trying to do.”

Javon Bullard (58th overall, Green Bay) and Kamari Lassiter (42nd overall, Houston) were the other UGA defensive backs taken in the Top 100, along with Smith (89th overall).

Georgia had two defensive backs selected in the 2023 NFL Draft, Kelee Ringo (105th overall, Philadelphia) and Chris Smith (170th, Las Vegas).

The Bulldogs’ 2022 NFL Draft produced first-round safety pick Lewis Cine (32nd overall, Minnesota) and fifth-round pic Derion Kendrick (212th, L.A. Rams), and in 2021 Eric Stokes was a first-round pick (29th, Green Bay), Tyson Campbell a second-round pick (33rd, Jacksonville), Richard LeCounte a fifth-round pick (169th, Cleveland) and Mark Webb a seventh-round selection (241st, L.A. Chargers).