ATHENS — Georgia tight end Tre’ McKitty reportedly has undergone an arthroscopic knee procedure, per UGASports.com, that could leave him questionable for the Bulldogs’ season-opening game.
If McKitty can’t go Georgia will need some stepped up performance from the young and inexperienced players in the tight ends room, starting with highly-touted freshman Darnell Washington.
“Darnell [Washington] has been working his way into shape — he was at one time 273 (pounds),” Smart said. “We felt like he needed to get down to 263 to be effective. He’s a big man.
“Then we got [Ryland] Goede and Brett [Seither] back. Those guys took some reps. They’ve done a good job as well. Then [John] Fitz[Partrick] has been around,” Smart said.
“We’ve got a good depth there at tight end. We’re trying to figure out what each one’s skillset is as we endeavor in this offense and try to figure out the best way to use those guys.”
McKitty has played in 35 career games in three seasons at FSU, with 50 catches for 520 yards and two touchdowns.
Smart said Saturday that McKitty had gotten injured in the Bulldogs’ scrimmage at Sanford Stadium but he did not believe it was serious.
“He got a little it of a ding today and ended up having to leave the scrimmage, I think about halfway through,” Smart said. “I think he will be fine.”
There are high hopes for the 6-foot-5, 245-pound McKitty in the Georgia offense as many said he impressed during summer workouts with his speed and pass-catching ability.
Smart said he, too, had been impressed with McKitty in fall camp.
“I have been really pleased with Tre’ McKitty,” Smart said. “He is tough. He’s physical. He works. He blocks. He catches. He does a good job.”
Former UGA coach Mark Richt, who once recruited and played against McKitty while head coach at Miami, indicated the Florida State graduate transfer could be an immediate contributor.
“When we recruited McKitty at Miami, we thought he was a great player,” Richt said on Monday in New Orleans. “He’s very agile. He’s a lot like (First-team All-ACC) Brevin Jordan who is at Miami now and is one of the better tight ends in the ACC.
“McKitty has got good ball skills, and he’s probably a better receiver than a blocker. But he’s a willing blocker, and he’s definitely a guy who can play.”
New Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken has talked about having balance in his Air Raid offense.
In the Air Raid, balance is the ability to distribute the ball to several different targets, based on advantageous matchups.
McKitty is considered a key in the Bulldogs’ offense because of the match-up issues he can create with his size and speed.
Georgia opens the season at Arkansas on Sept. 26.
Georgia football injury report
QB JT Daniels (knee), probable
TE Tre’ McKitty (knee), questionable
RB Kendall Milton (hamsring), questionable