ATHENS — Kirby Smart never stood up in front of the Georgia football team and declared that Miami would be off limits for transfers. That’s according to one of the several natives of south Florida currently on Georgia’s roster.
Sony Michel, a junior tailback and one of the team’s top offensive players, wouldn’t be a candidate to transfer. He also claims not to think anyone else is mulling it right now.
“I don’t think any guys on this team are really talking about transferring, because the things these coaches have in store for us in the future,” Michel said. “Once they finally realize what these coaches have in store, then I don’t think any guys will think about transferring.”
So far only two players are known to have transferred since Smart took over: Safety Johnathan Abram, who ended up at a junior college in his native Mississippi, and tailback A.J. Turman, whose destination is unknown, other than it won’t be Miami or another Florida school.
The fact Mark Richt is now at Miami led Smart to put the Hurricanes on his restricted list — which means a player would have to pay his own way for a year, or go to junior college, before they could go on scholarship at Miami. Receivers Isaiah McKenzie and Shaquery Wilson are also from the Miami area, which led to some speculation in December they were thinking of going back south, but each shot that down and are with the team for spring practice.
Smart’s policy has led to some intense criticism nationally. What does Michel think about Smart’s transfer policy?
“It’s his rules. You’ve gotta abide by his rules, he’s the head coach,” Michel said.
Frank Beamer, the recently retired Virginia Tech coach, outlined his philosophy on transfers when asked about it Friday.
“The thing that’s fair is that they’re not going to a school within your conference, or a school that’s on your schedule for the next four or five years. To me that makes sense,” said Beamer, whose son Shane is now one of Smart’s assistant coaches. “And after that if they weren’t happy at Virginia Tech I wanted to do all I could to make them be happy somewhere else. Our first thing was to make them happy at Virginia Tech.”