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Kirby Smart up for Bear Bryant Award
Georgia coach Kirby Smart made a name for himself in the college football world as the defensive coordinator at Alabama, a school where legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant won six national titles. Now in his second season in Athens, Smart has a chance to win Bryant’s namesake award.
Smart and six other coaches were announced Wednesday as finalists for the American Heart Association Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award, given to the top head coach in FBS college football as voted on by the National Sports Media Association. The other finalists are Paul Chryst (Wisconsin), Scott Frost (formerly of Central Florida, now with Nebraska), Clay Helton (Southern California), Gus Malzahn (Auburn), Jeff Monken (Army) and Dabo Swinney (Clemson). Swinney has won the award the last two years running.
For his work in leading Georgia to a 12-1 record, the SEC title and a trip to the College Football Playoff semifinal in the Rose Bowl, Smart has already been named SEC Coach of the Year and Sporting News Coach of the Year. His contract stipulates that he’s due a $100,000 bonus if named national coach of the year, although it does not indicate whether that bonus is contingent on being named coach of the year by a specific organization.
The winner of the Bear Bryant Award will be announced Jan. 10. No Georgia coach has won the award in its 32-year history, although Vince Dooley was awarded the Bear Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.
Roquan Smith is officially a unanimous All-American. The junior inside linebacker was named to the American College Football Association’s All-America first team Wednesday. He’s now been named a first-team All-American by the five organizations (AFCA, AP, FWAA, Walter Camp Foundation, Sporting News) needed to be recognized as a unanimous All-American.
His inclusion on the AFCA team makes Smith one of only four Bulldogs football players in the last 20 years to earn unanimous All-American, joining Champ Bailey (1998), Drew Butler (2009) and Jarvis Jones (2011-12).
In addition to those organizations, Smith has also been named an All-American by ESPN, Sports Illustrated, CBS and Bleacher Report among others. Smith also won the Dick Butkus Award and SEC Defensive Player of the Year for this season.
Senior tailback Nick Chubb and senior tackle Isaiah Wynn each earned a spot on the AFCA All-America second team.
UGA loses 3-star DE
Three-star defensive end Jaevon Becton has de-committed from Georgia’s recruiting Class of 2018. That brings Georgia down to 18 players committed heading into the new early signing period on Dec. 20.
While fans never like to see their team lose a recruit, Becton’s decision to sign elsewhere could be a blessing for Georgia. The Dawgs are in the midst of bringing in the signing class in college football and one of the most talented that’s ever come to Athens. And they likely have interest from more highly touted prospects than they have spots for. The numbers are tight — Georgia is expected to sign roughly 24 players in this class — and Becton’s defection opens room for another player to sign with UGA. Considering how Georgia has recruited lately, chances are good that opened spot will go to a 4- or 5-star player.
Here’s Jeff Sentell of DawgNation on how crowded this class has become, specifically at end, Becton’s primary position.
His situation became complicated as the Bulldogs gained commitments from All-Americans Adam Anderson and Azeez Ojulari. The plot also has thickened with UGA now appearing to be the team to beat for 5-star DE Brenton Cox from Stockbridge, Ga.
Anderson, Cox and Ojulari are ranked among the nation’s top 10 prospects at their respective positions.
— L O W L I F E🎈 (@Jaevoon_23) December 13, 2017
Updating the 85
As illustrated by the above section on Becton, figuring out scholarship numbers is one of the most integral parts of running a college football program. Schools are allowed 85 scholarship players, and every head coach in America has to figure out how to hit that number while accounting for signings, transfers, early entries into the NFL draft, dismissals and other forms of attrition. It’s a tricky process that can have major ramifications, such as the starting kicker not having a scholarship for more than a year or asking a kid who had been committed for months and graduated high school early to defer enrollment.
With the 2017 season coming to a close, and a new Dec. 20 early signing day on the horizon, the time has come to crunch the numbers and figure out how Georgia hits 85 in 2018. And, no, this doesn’t mean you have to do math. Seth Emerson of DawgNation has done it for you. Go here for his calculation of where Georgia’s 85 scholarships stand heading into signing day.
Dawgs on Twitter
They don't call us RBU for nothing!
Today we're looking back at the Top 5 rushes of the of the year.
— Georgia Bulldogs (@UGAAthletics) December 14, 2017
— The UGA Vault (@TheUGAVault) December 13, 2017
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) December 14, 2017
Georgia players graduating Friday: Davin Bellamy, Jeb Blazevich, Aulden Bynum, Trent Frix, Cam Nizialek (grad degree). also receiving his degree: Amarlo Herrera, whose career ended in 2014, and D’Andre (Moose) Johnson, who medically DQed as a freshman but stayed on as a student.
— Seth Emerson (@SethWEmerson) December 13, 2017
We are all blessed.
Take a break from the negativity online and watch a kangaroo and dog playing with each other. pic.twitter.com/Df8dXFyI7t
— Norm Kelly (@norm) December 13, 2017
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