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Jeff Sentell/DawgNation
Brandon Smith spent a lot of time with Georgia coach Kirby Smart on his recent visit to Georgia.

Nation’s No. 6 junior DE Brandon Smith: ‘I can definitely see myself at Georgia’

Jeff Sentell

Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. We’re taking a look at recent UGA visitor Brandon Smith in this edition. Smith ranks as the nation’s No. 79 overall prospect for his class on the 247Sports Composite. 

Brandon Smith got a lot of attention on his recent visit to see Georgia take on South Carolina.

He should have. Smith (Louisa County/Mineral, Va.) rates as the nation’s No. 6 weakside defensive end for 2019. The time investment made by coach Kirby Smart and the UGA staff made an impact.

“My favorite part of the visit was talking with the coaches after the game and just connecting with them more,” Smith said. “By sitting down and talking with them. I got a chance to talk with coach Smart for like 30 minutes in the meeting room.”

He appreciated that.

“That amount of time meant something to me as well,” Smith said. “Because I know their schedules are really tight.”

Smart said one thing that really hit home with him, according to Smith.

“He was just completely honest,” he said. “He was saying how I would fit into their system and how they would love to have me back, and he said that I was one of their biggest targets.”

It seemed to him that Smart was genuinely interested in what made him tick.

Brandon Smith-UGA recruiting
Brandon Smith rates as the nation’s No. 6 weakside defensive end for 2019. (Jeff Sentell/Dawgnation)

“I can definitely see myself at Georgia,” Smith said. “Obviously I want to go back and visit again in the future. That’s something I will have to talk about with my parents and plan later. But I can definitely see myself at Georgia.”

The 6-foot-5, 215-pound junior describes his game in measured steps.

“Fast,” he said. “Aggressive. If I see the ball, then I am going to go get it.”

He lines up at middle linebacker for Louisa County. That’s sound. Put the best athlete in the middle and let him make plays. That way teams cannot run away from Smith.

How does that translate to Saturdays?

“A lot of coaches are telling me outside linebacker but they also say I’m able to move around a lot,” he said. “They say that I can be a situational player that can fill in when somebody else goes out to injury. Then I can come in there and help a lot of spots.”

Assistants Shane Beamer and Glenn Schumann have been recruiting him for the Bulldogs. Smith described those relationships as “very strong.”

“I’ve been talking to coach Beamer and coach Schuman,” Smith said. “We’ve just created a bond and a connection after a while of us talking.”

It seems as if the Bulldogs will be a viable contender for Smith.

“I see that but I also have to take everything in and factor everything,” Smith said. “I will have to sit down and talk with my parents and my mentors and everyone who has helped me out along the way before I make a big decision like that.”

What Brandon Smith noticed about UGA

Smith brought a lot of family with him on the Georgia trip. His parents made it. So did an uncle, one of his good friends plus his little brother.

“They really enjoyed the game, and I did, too,” Smith said.

The student section really caught his eye.

“Just how into the game they were,” he said.  “You don’t really see that at a lot of the places you go to.”

It was his second UGA visit, but his first game experience in Sanford Stadium.

“I really enjoyed the visit in May even though there wasn’t a lot of people there,” Smith said. “I really enjoyed listening to the coaches and hearing their takes about what I can do and where I would fit into the program.”

The Bulldogs offered him during that visit on May 23.

“They saw my length and my athletic ability and quickness,” Smith said “They liked my vision on the field and my football I.Q. They said that really stood out to them.”

He still plays AAU basketball. The nickname “Big B” came from one of his basketball coaches when he was younger. He already has the size to play big-time college football. Those experiences in high-level AAU ball will allow him to be a great defender in space on the football field.

Getting to know Brandon Smith 

Smith loves the game. He enjoys the freedom of hitting people and the controlled violence of the sport. “Big B” also clearly sees football as a gateway from a very small town in Virginia.

Brandon Smith-UGA recruiting
Brandon Smith (center) has already struck up a relationship with UGA assistants Shane Beamer and Glenn Schumann (far left) during his recruiting process. (Jeff Sentell/Dawgnation)

“There is one high school in Louisa County,” he said. “No Targets or anything like that. The closest Walmart is about 25 or 35 minutes away depending on where you live.”

He laughed when the thought of a nearby movie theater or a Chick-fil-A came up.

That befits the modern definition of small-town America. After all, Mineral has just 492 residents, according to a 2016 estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau. Louisa County? Just more than 35,000 people by the census estimate.

That’s less than the 37,596 undergraduate and grad students enrolled at UGA this fall.

“A lot of people hunt and fish in Louisa County,” Smith said. “That’s not what I do. There’s really nothing fun to do.”

Smith prefers to play video games with his brother. He eschews the typical sports games for the action genre, like the “Call of Duty” series.

Louisa County football is 11-0 this season. Smith dabbles at slot receiver and tight end, too. He’s caught a couple of touchdown passes this season. The 4-star prospect also has scored a couple of times on the ground. Versatility is the common theme here. He’s just an all-around good player.

He will be at the Future 50 event in December. Smith already has committed to play in the 2019 Under Armour All-America Game and plans to enroll early at whichever campus he choooses.

The next steps for Brandon Smith

“My [college decision] would definitely have to be before my senior year,” Smith said. “That’s definitely what I have spoken to my parents and my mentors about. It will definitely have to be before then. It is better to make that decision by then so I won’t have to go through that whole recruiting process during the season.”

Brandon Smith-UGA recruiting
Brandon Smith was thankful for the amount of time he got to spend with UGA coach Kirby Smart on his last visit. (Jeff Sentell/Dawgnation)

He aims to study architecture and forensic science. Georgia also likes him because of his strong work in the classroom.

When the time comes to make his decision, he already knows that academics will be the biggest single factor.

Smith has been doing his homework on these offers along his junior year.

He visited and liked what he saw at Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Penn State. His travel log for 2017 has included games at Georgia, Ohio State, Penn State, Virginia and Virginia Tech.

He was also at the Alabama-Florida State game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

“It has been hectic,” he said. “We have been having to travel straight after my football games to a halfway point to wherever we were headed, getting to the hotel at 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. in the morning. That has been tough.”

Look for him to start working on chopping down his list to his top schools after the season.

Want some fast-and-furious 2018 info? 

  • I had the chance to catch up with 4-star defensive tackle target Robert Cooper this week. He had been planning an official visit to UGA for the Kentucky game, but his plans changed. Cooper also did not make the trip to Alabama for the LSU game earlier this month. Cooper now will make those visits after the season. He said he will not enroll early, and it doesn’t sound as if he even will sign early. Have things cooled off between Cooper and Georgia? He told me the Bulldogs are “still coming just as hard” after him.
  • Four-star wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase sustained a knee injury last week, but I’ve been told he still plans to be at the Kentucky game this week. That could change given his injury.
  • Three-star defensive back/safety commit Aaron Brule’ also is hoping to visit UGA this weekend. He and Chase are teammates at Archbishop Rummel in Louisiana.
  • It will be interesting to see what type of vibe Chase has with 5-star quarterback commit Justin Fields on Saturday. Fields will be chatting up Chase and 4-star ATH Alontae Taylor, who will be making his official visit. My opinion is that Taylor is the better all-around fit for UGA given that spots are clearly at a premium for the 2018 class.
  • The visit list for this weekend will have some Louisiana flavor beyond Chase and potentially Brule’. Five-star junior guard Kardell Thomas is expected to be in Athens. We wrote about his interest in UGA and that likely trip for the LSU commit earlier this week. Devin Bush, a 4-star cornerback in the Class of 2019 from Edna Karr High in New Orleans, is expected to make the trip. Bush ranks as the nation’s No. 8 CB for 2019 on the 247Sports composite. Edna Karr is seen as a pipeline for LSU, and Bush is believed to really like the thoughts of playing in Baton Rouge.

Miss any Intel? The DawgNation recruiting archive will get you up to speed faster than Georgia All-America candidate Roquan Smith can find the football after the snap.