Who’s next at UGA? The name on everyone’s mind is Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart. The former UGA defensive back grew up in Bainbridge and his father coached high school football in the state, too.
What would Smart in Athens mean to some of the top recruits across the South? Smart is a relentless recruiter, and he has instant credibility and relationships with the top talent across the Southeast.
UGA’s recruiting would then regain some steam. There would also be the need to monitor a few of the 2016 commitments on Alabama’s board, too. Some of those elite prospects have long-standing relationships with Smart. He’s one of the primary recruiters on the Alabama staff.
Junior linebacker Nate McBride, a 5-star recruit out of Georgia’s Vidalia High School, had UGA and Alabama as his top schools until the news broke today. When asked about the potential of Smart in Athens, he had a clear opinion.
“That would honestly be just about perfect,” McBride said. “I would love for Mark Richt to stay and I want him to stay. But if they can get Kirby Smart somehow? Oh, man. I tell you what.”
McBride didn’t finish that statement because there was no need to given the way he enunciated it.
DawgNation reached out to a few top targets across the Southeast. How would they view UGA with Kirby Smart leading the program? They had some very strong opinions.
Elite recruits on Kirby Smart at UGA
5-star Ben Davis, ILB, Sr., Gordo (Ala.) — “Georgia is already one of my top schools,” Davis said. “So whoever they get as a coach it wouldn’t really hurt them at all. Georgia is still one of my tops. (Kirby Smart) is a great defensive mind. He knows how to get his players ready and is a good teacher, too.”
4-star Jaden Hunter, DE/LB, Jr., Westlake: “It would mean a lot. Kirby is kind of like an uncle to me. We keep in touch all the time and I feel confident in what he brings to the table not only as a coach but as a man, too. (He believes in) teaching young men how to become real men in the real world.”
4-star Tre’ Nixon, WR, Sr., Viera (Fla.); “I have no idea (about Kirby Smart). I’m just going to have to see.”
4-star William Poole, CB, Jr., Hapeville Charter: “I still feel the same about the program as I did when Richt was the coach. But the right coach will definitely boost UGA’s chances. In all honesty, I hope Kirby Smart comes back to Athens. He played for Georgia and would be great for him to be the coach.”
5-star Demetris Robertson, ATH, Sr., Savannah Christian: “I’ve been a UGA fan for awhile so that will be hard to shake. Do you really think Kirby is coming to UGA?”
Staff writer Chris Kirschner contributed to this report
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