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4-star OL Kelton Smith plays for Carver-Columbus High School. He's a versatile prospect that can play guard or tackle in the 2023 cycle. (Instagram)

Kelton Smith: Prized in-state OL has the ‘Dawgs on top with a potential decision set for this month

Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s the Intel. This rep has the latest with 4-star IOL Kelton Smith. He ranks as the nation’s No. 12 IOL and the No. 268 overall prospect for 2023 on the 247Sports Composite ratings.


Kelton Smith first thought he wanted to make his college decision on July 11, but then the Carver-Columbus standout OL thought differently. The 6-foot-5, 320-pound rising senior wanted his commitment date to mean something.

That’s when the thought of July 22 came to his mind.

“That’s my cousin’s birthday,” he said. “He just means something to me a little bit. That’s my little cousin. I’m always watching him and stuff. Making sure he’s straight. It is like a birthday gift for him.”

Smith calls him “Nukie” along with everyone else. His real name is Mario White. He will be 11 years old.

He might want to inspire “Nukie” by sharing his decision on his birthday. Smith said on Thursday evening that that timeline wasn’t a set date yet, but plans to firm things up by the end of next week.

If that is the move, then that makes a lot of sense. His family means a great deal to him.

“My why is my parents,” he said. “My Moms. Just how we grew up. I wasn’t that fortunate. My Dad always made a way but my Mom always, you know, she struggled a lot. But she’s my why really. They both are my why. They push through everything for me. Make sure I am alright. Do whatever they got to do to make sure I got whatever I need to play sports. As far as when I played AAU and even football and travel basketball. They always made a way for me to play so I can get to where I am at right now.”

Denise Thomas, his mother, was with him on his official visit to UGA last month.

“She means everything to me,” Smith said. Everything. She’s my world.”

If he makes it big in the game of football, she’s going to know it.

“She isn’t ever going to have to do anything again,” Smith said. “She could just be in her room all day.”

His father, Kelton Smith Sr., is also a major source of his daily motivation.

“He did a lot of me while I was in sports and everything,” Smith Jr. said. “He took me everywhere. Paid for my training and all of that. Just worked me out by himself and things like that when I was younger to get me to where I am at.”

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4-star OL Kelton Smith plays for Carver-Columbus High School. He's a versatile prospect that can play guard or tackle in the 2023 cycle. (Instagram)
Instagram, Dawgnation

Kelton Smith Jr: Taking a look at a potential July 22 decision date

Smith had been looking at graduating in December and enrolling early in January. That’s unsettled as of now.

“I was trying to do that but I don’t know if I am still going to be able to do that right now,” he said.

What is he looking for in the perfect decision?

“Just the relationships like with me basically,” Smith said. “Staying in touch. Hitting me up and then also hitting my family up. My Mom and my Dad. Checking in with them. Then also like I will look at their roster, too. Seeing like how I will be if I come there. Do they have a whole bunch of players and stuff? I probably won’t really want that because I want to go somewhere I can play early. At least by my sophomore year.”

“Then also my area will be important. The people and things I will be around and stuff like that.”

He took official visits to Georgia, LSU and Texas A&M in June. Those were his only three officials.

His decision will come down to those three schools plus Florida State. That’s because of the relationship he has with ‘Noles line coach and offensive coordinator Alex Atkins.

“Coach Atkins and I have a very good relationship,” Smith said. “We talk a lot and everything. It will come down to those four teams.”

Has he ever had a leader among that final four?

“I can say Georgia is my leader right now,” he said.

Why are the ‘Dawgs on top for him?

“Every time I go there I feel like I am at home,” Smith said. “I got some family and some famous people there I grew up playing football with my whole life there. Like Mykel Williams and then [running backs coach] Dell McGee just being from Columbus. He checks on me a lot. He actually knows my uncle, my great uncles and all of that. They went to school and they grew up together. That’s another big thing.”

Smith said Williams has told him he had to come and be a ‘Dawg with him. Smith said he also grew up with Georgia wide receiver Jackso Meeks, too.

What does he like best about the Bulldogs?

“I can say their culture,” he said. “I like their culture a lot. The relationships with all of them. They call me a lot. I talk to them a lot. Then we play around a lot. We play around a lot. We play the [video games] and stuff together a lot.”

What does he like best about line coach Stacy Searels?

“He’s cool,” Smith said. “I like how he coaches and everything with his players. He does a lot of 1-on-1 coaches and then he’s got two other coaches that help him. All of his players get the same amount of reps and stuff like that. That’s a good thing.”

He said the Bulldogs see him as a “Flex” offensive line prospect. They can see him at guard or tackle. That’s fine for him.

Smith will have minor knee surgery this Friday. It will be a meniscus cleanup. That will have him out for about four to six weeks. His return date will be by the third week of August. He should only miss a preseason scrimmage game against Lee County.

The Carver coaching staff looks at him as a “gentle giant” in the program.

“He’s an awesome guy all the way around,” Carver-Columbus coach Pierre Coffey said. “Great student. Hard worker. He’s a leader. He’s kind of soft-spoken but he gets it done.”

Have you subscribed to the DawgNation YouTube channel yet? If so, you will be able to see special 1-on-1 content with UGA names like Jake Fromm, Gunner Stockon and Brock Vandagriff here.

4-star OL Kelton Smith plays for Carver-Columbus High School. He's a versatile prospect that can play guard or tackle in the 2023 cycle. (Instagram)
Instagram, Dawgnation

Kelton Smith: How does he feel about his other top schools?

LSU is another top school for Smith. What does he like best about the Tigers?

“Coach Brad Davis,” he said. “He’s just like Coach Atkins. He’s very cool and chill. We have a good time and everything and they are very low on depth right now. They haven’t got as many players. Like I could really come there, work hard and they said I got a chance to start as a freshman.”

What’s the juice with Texas A&M?

“Basically the same thing as LSU,” he said. “They haven’t got much depth so I can come in and do my part and everything I will be alright. Then Coach [Jimbo] Fisher and I have got a good relationship and things like that.”

Smith said that he grew up a fan of the home-state Bulldogs.

“I’ve been watching them since I was l little,” he said.

He was at the national championship celebration even at Sanford Stadium on January 15. That’s when he said it felt like he knew that the Bulldogs really wanted him in this class.

“They were just showing me so much love and all that,” he said. “It was different like seeing all the players that are going on to the NFL and them being honored there that day. They were all real big fans of the time they had and they spent at Georgia.”

He said his decision will ultimately come down to a “gut feeling” about where he should go to school.

“But I am going to talk to my parents about all of it,” he said. “My parents are going to be a big part of that decision, too. It is going to be mostly what I feel is right for me just off my gut and how I feel at the time.”

“KJ” said he has enough information to make this decision.

“I think I have most of what I need,” he said. “But I think I might have one real good question I need to ask all of them. I can’t put my finger on that question yet but when it comes to my head before my decision I am going to ask all of them that same one question.”

“That’s probably going to be another big decision of where I eventually want to go.”

Smith has played a lot of hoops growing up. That’s a good reason why his feet are so smooth. What type of player does he want to present on film?

“Nasty,” he said. “Very physical and very hardworking. Like not giving up. Pushing down the field all the way. Nonstop. Showing no weakness.”

He feels that he is better at pass protection right now. That’s because of those feet.

“I’ve been playing basketball all my life,” he said. “I’ve got good feet. I know how to catch myself on the go if something bad happens during a play. I will just be on ten toes all the time with my feet and then I’ve got good hand placement. Once I get my hands on you, then you are pretty much dead.”

Check out his junior film below.


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