Georgia football head coach Kirby Smart is getting ready to cash in on his first top recruiting class.
For years the national media and rivals fans have been accusing Georgia football coach Kirby Smart of doing “less with more.” They used recruiting rankings and ratings as the foundation of their argument. “Why isn’t Georgia winning National Titles with so much talent”, they would say. However, what they didn’t take into account is these things take time. Not too many teams can brag of a National Title when most of their talent are underclassmen. Which was the case for Smart in 2018.
The problem with that patient approach was that Smart was able to get Georgia to the College Football Playoffs in his second season. After barely losing in the National Championship Game the Georgia fanbase, national media, and rival fans moved up the expectations for Georgia’s program. Whether fair or not Smart was expected to return to the College Football Playoffs the next season. When that didn’t happen the negative reviews started flying in.
One such negative opinion from some fans was that Smart was only able to win with the talent Mark Richt left behind after being fired. Which he did leave behind a lot of talent to work with, but that opinion isn’t based on anything other than emotion. The facts are Smart was left with a lot of youth after the upperclassmen Richt had recruited moved on. It was only natural that Georgia football would take a step back when transitioning from those mature leaders to the younger players Smart had recruited.
In fact, if you were to compare the 2017 team full of Richt’s recruits to the 2021 team full of Smart’s 2018 recruits (his first number one recruiting class) you can see a big difference. This 2021 team is unlike anything Georgia football fans have seen before and mainly because of the level of recruit Smart has added since 2018. Just take a look at these numbers comparing the two teams.
When looking at the roster there are still 15 players on the roster from that 2018 recruiting class. Most of whom are standouts on this 2021 team. Here is the full list.
- Zamir White, RB
- Jamaree Salyer, OL
- Adam Anderson, LB
- Quay Walker, LB
- James Cook, RB
- Channing Tindall, LB
- Kearis Jackson, WR
- Warren Ericson, OL
- Devonte Wyatt, DL
- Chris Smith, DB
- John Fitzpatrick, TE
- Jordan Davis, NT
- Owen Condon, OL
- Jake Camarda, P
- Tramel Walthour, DL
There is no way Smart and crew would be doing what they are on defense right now without Anderson, Walker, Tindall, Wyatt, Smith, Davis, and Walthour. Imagine saying Smart has done “less with more” when six players from his 2018 recruiting class are the cornerstone of the defense some are calling the best of the last 20 years. It just doesn’t make any sense once you do your homework. Again, patience was the key here. You can’t skip steps in the process.
There is no doubt this team has Smart’s mark all over it. From the coaching staff to the very last player on the scout team, Smart’s fingerprint is on them. After this season there will be no mistaking that Smart is one of the best coaches at getting the very best out of his team. He has gone through the process of recreating this football program in his image and it is starting to pay dividends.
It’s time to kill this “does less with more” stigma once and for all. This season we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg with his 2018 recruiting class coming of age. Just wait until the 2019 and 2020 classes have matured and are ready to take over. We haven’t seen the best of what Smart has to offer Georgia football’s program. This is just the beginning. The way he has developed the 2018 recruiting should give you all the hope you need for the future.