ATHENS — Kirby Smart loves his Georgia football team, there can only be 11 players on the field at one time.

For that matter, there are only so many snaps available each game, and that makes for roster turnover each offseason.

The Bulldogs have had 18 players enter the NCAA transfer portal, which opened on Dec. 4 and runs through Jan. 2.

Smart said he had talked to “about 95, 90 percent of those guys” leaving the program, and that attrition should not be viewed in a bad light.

“The portal is a good thing; et’s don’t make it a negative,” said Smart, who has seemingly made each twist and turn of college football evolution work in his favor.

“If you’ve been in a program for three years and you’re not playing, and you don’t feel like you’re going to play or you don’t feel like you’re being developed, it doesn’t look great, you might need to look somewhere else. It’s an okay thing, okay?”

Jamon Dumas-Johnson — who signed with Kentucky is the only true starter to leave via the portal. The veteran linebacker suffered a season-ending injury against Missouri and faced stiff competition to regain his job.

Smart said he’s more concerned when freshmen players, such as AJ Harris and Zeed Haynes — enter the portal.

“It’s when you’re first year and you’re doing that it becomes a little bit more alarming,” Smart said. “Why did you go there in the first place? You never really gave it a chance to grow. I evaluate the portal based on that, not the total number.”

Smart said the total number of players in the portal for Georgia is not an issue to him.

“It’s just not relevant, because the day and age we’re in,” Smart said. “Kids feel like the grass is greener. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it’s not. We don’t control those decisions.”

Here’s a look at the Georgia players who have transferred out or are in the portal at the time of this publication:

LB Jamon Dumas-Johnson (2021), Kentucky

LB Darris Smith (2022), Missouri

DL Jonathan Jefferson (2021), SMU

QB Brock Vandagriff (2021), Kentucky

WR Jackson Meeks (2021), Syracuse

OT Austin Blaske (2021), North Carolina

OLB CJ Madden (2022), Purdue

LB EJ Lightsey (2022), Georgia Tech

LB Xavian Sorey (2021), Arkansas

WR Yazeed Haynes (2023), Syracuse

OLB Marvin Jones Jr. (2022), Florida State

PK Jared Zirkel (2021)

CB Nyland Green (2021)

WR Mekhi Mews (2021)

OL Aliou Bah (2022)

CB AJ Harris (2023)

OL Joshua Miller (2023)