The national championship last year meant a little extra to Kamari Lassiter. The now sophomore defensive back has unique ties to both Alabama and Georgia.
Lassiter grew up and identifies as a Savannah, Ga., native. He remembers looking up to Nolan Smith when they were playing little league football, as Smith and defensive tackle Warren Brinson are also from Savannah.
But when Lassiter was 14, he moved to Tuscaloosa, Ala., where he would finish out his high school career. He played at American Christian Academy, where one of his teammates was Tim Smith, a defensive lineman for the Crimson Tide.
Lassiter had offers from both Alabama and Auburn. But a return back to the state he grew up in was too much to pass up for Lassiter, as the Bulldogs also beat out Clemson to land what looks to be one of Georgia’s starting cornerbacks entering the 2022 season.
“Coach Smart and his staff really recruited me well,” Lassiter said. “I’m originally from Georgia and I kind of wanted to come back and play for the home team.”
He knew people on both sides of this past season’s national championship game, with his time split between the two states. Lassiter played in the game as a key member on just about all of Georgia’s special teams units.
When the game ended on Smith’s sack of Bryce Young, Georgia had won its first national championship since 1980. Something Lassiter, and so many other Bulldogs wanted to do as natives of the Peach State.
“That was probably one of the best feelings in the world,” Lassiter said. “Just winning it, first time in a very long time for all the fans. For me personally, all my family is from Georgia so it put a smile on their faces. That’s something I’ll never forget.”
Winning one championship was a life-altering moment for Lassiter, but he knows he’s just getting started at Georgia. As mentioned earlier, he’s primed to start opposite Kelee Ringo in Georgia’s secondary this season as one of the team’s starting cornerbacks. Ringo will very likely be the only starter in the secondary that isn’t from Georgia, as safety Chris Smith is from Atlanta, Dan Jackson is from Gainesville, Ga. William Poole is from Atlanta and Javon Bullard is from Milledgeville, Ga., as those two compete for the star position.
Even key youngsters in the Georgia secondary will represent the state of Georgia, as Nyland Green calls Covington, Ga. home, David Daniel-Sisavanh is hails from Woodstock, Ga., and freshman Malaki Starks is from Jefferson, Ga.
It no doubt means a lot to Georgia native and co-defensive coordinator Will Muschamp to have such a Georgia feel to both this team and staff. Kirby Smart, Todd Hartley, Bryan McClendon, Mike Bobo and Muschamp are all staffers that are from Georgia and graduated from the school. Running backs coach Dell McGee is from Columbus, Ga., while Stacy Searels is also from Trion, Ga.
“All of those guys have a vested interest in the University of Georgia,” Muschamp said earlier in August. “Not that we didn’t at other places, but at the end of the day, this is where you went to school and certainly glad to be here.”
Despite the sweetness of last season’s title, don’t expect Lassiter and the Bulldogs to sit back and be content with the results of last season. They know all that went into what made last year special and look forward to replicating in 2022.
“ We have the recipe. We know what it takes,” Lassiter said. “To sit back and watch those guys work day-in and day-out put in the work. We saw how they carried themselves on or off all the field.”
Kamari Lassiter on winning a national championship for the state of Georgia: ‘One of the best feelings in the world’
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