Georgia defensive back Jalen Kimber (6) during the Bulldogs’ practice session in Athens, Ga., on Monday, Aug. 9, 2021. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Tony Walsh

Former Georgia cornerback Jalen Kimber commits to rival Florida

ATHENS — Former Georgia cornerback Jalen Kimber has committed to play the 2022 season at Florida after spending three days in the NCAA transfer portal following the Bulldogs’ 2021 CFP Championship season.

Kimber, a redshirt freshman with four years of eligibility remaining, was a projected starter entering fall drills who underwent season-ending shoulder surgery last September.

The Gators were among several programs to offer Kimber coming out of Mansfield Timberview High School in Arlington, Texas two years ago.

LSU was another program that offered Kimber, the relevance of that being that new Florida secondary coach Corey Raymond was then in Baton Rouge under Ed Orgeron.

Georgia interviewed Raymond, known as the ‘Godfather of DBU’ for its secondary coach opening in 2019 before hiring former Indiana defensive coordinator Charlton Warren, who has since taken a job as North Carolina’s secondary coach.

RELATED: Kirby Smart interviews celebrated LSU defensive backs coach Corey Raymond

Kimber had more than 40 schools contact him after he entered the portal last Wednesday, but he chose Florida because of Raymond’s reputation for developing defensive backs.

Raymond’s LSU secondaries produced 14 NFL draft picks and seven first-team All-Americans, including Eric Reid (2012), Jalen Mills (2015), Jamal Adams (2016), Tre’Davious White (2016), Greedy Williams (2018), Grant Delpit (2018, ‘19) and Derek Stingley Jr. (2019, ‘20).

Kimber appeared in only three games in 2020, playing behind NFL starters Eric Stokes and Tyson Campbell.

The shoulder injury that kept Kimber off the field at Georgia this season -- he attempted to play without the surgery, appearing in the UAB game -- is expected to keep him limited through spring drills.

Kimber was in Gainesville this weekend and will be healthy enough to compete for a starting position under new Florida head coach Billy Napier this season.

UGA coach Kirby Smart was very high on Kimber, who ranked as one of the fastest players on the team and provided sticky coverage.

“Kimber’s very bright, (and) he was able to practice all last year,” Smart said last spring. “The practice you get from the year before, people just forget about.

“But Jalen Kimber was able to go out and actually take reps and work last year, which gives you an advantage because you’ve seen things, you have heard calls, and you have to adjust,” he said.

“The biggest thing with Jalen is continuing to work really hard with the nutrition and weight room to keep adding size, and he’s conscious of that. He understands what he has to do to be a great player, and he’s committed to doing that.”

Kimber was the No. 71 overall player in the nation in the 2020 class and No. 7 cornerback per 247Sports ratings and chose Georgia over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State, LSU and Notre Dame, among several others.

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