ATHENS — Kirby Smart was about to enter the Georgia team meeting room to discuss his early signing class when he stopped and asked one of his players, donned out in shoulder pads, to look in the room and wave.
Devonte Wyatt leaned in, smiled, and waved. Then Smart sent him on his way.
“That’s the guy y’all haven’t figured out is here yet,” Smart said as he went to the podium.
A defensive lineman, Wyatt is a member of the 2018 signing class, signing with Georgia out of Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College. But he has already enrolled at Georgia and is thus eligible to practice immediately now that classes are over.
Wyatt isn’t eligible to play in the Rose Bowl, but he is eligible to practice now that the fall 2017 semester is over. It’s not unusual for early enrolling players to do so.
This was a re-signing for Wyatt: He was part of the 2017 signing class, didn’t qualify, and then re-signed.
“I think it’s great. I think it was probably the best thing for him,” Smart said of Wyatt sitting out the year and then ending up back at Georgia. “He comes from a situation where he … was still going to take some developing in order to play. Here you are coming in with a couple senior defensive linemen. So he gets to go and play (in junior college). …
“It’s almost like a mini-13th grade. It was really good for him. He’s a lot more mature having been out on his own. I think it gives him a better chance at success here.”