Feb.19, 2021 –
BY DAN MATHEWS
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – Kirby Smart seems to get standout quarterbacks to sign with his program in every single recruiting cycle.
How? That is the question that many in all of college football seem curious to know.
It’s no secret that UGA has earned the reputation under Smart, as being one that doesn’t use pace/tempo on offense, relies too heavily on the run and still thinks defense leads to titles. That narrative started to change a little last season, when USC transfer JT Daniels took over at QB and started throwing deep passes on a regular basis.
Sports Illustrated Director of Football Recruiting John Garcia Jr. isn’t surprised by Smart’s success in getting some of America’s best high school quarterbacks to choose his program. He recently joined the Chuck Oliver Show to share Kirby’s simple formula for getting them to sign their letter’s of intent to Georgia.
“You always have a selling point,” Garcia Jr. said. “Whether you’re the worst program, best program or anywhere in between. For Georgia, it’s quite simple. We have everything but this (quarterback). In other words, we have everything but you. You can be the guy that can take us over the top.”
Garcia says that he believes that Smart has done as good a job of getting top-tier quarterbacks to sign with UGA. He adds, “Maybe Dabo Swinney has a conversation there and Nick Saban.”
It is hard to argue with the facts, when you breakdown Smart’s history of being able to close at the position. In his very first recruiting class, he held on to Jacob Eason. The following year, he added Jake Fromm to the program, started him for three years to get an SEC Championship Game win and was close to capturing the College Football Playoff National Championship Game as a freshman. Who of course could forget about Justin Fields? Then, he added top-tier transfers Jamie Newman and Daniels. Now, he’s got Brock Vandagriff on campus and likely going to add Gunner Stockton in 2021.
It shouldn’t really surprise anyone that Smart has been able to get quarterbacks on campus at the rate the program has seen during his tenure. The Georgia coach has been known for getting the nation’s most talented to say yes to the move to Athens at all positions.
“I think Kirby’s done as good or a better job of a talent acquisition as anybody,” Garcia Jr. said. “He has shown whether it was the right decision or not, the best guy in his mind is going to play.”
It’s really hard to argue with this being the case, when you see how he’s handled the quarterback position. Just this past season, he started a former walk-on at QB, by deciding to give Stetson Bennett the keys to the offense for a large period of the season. When he felt that Daniels was ready to play, he went with him. The only point made by Garcia in regards to quarterbacks that could be disputed, is how he handled Fields in 2018.
This season will go a long way towards whether the Bulldogs will continue to get the nation’s best quarterbacks to pick them. If indeed Todd Monken is able to open up this offense to make it as exciting as people believe he can, then belief will creep in for more signal callers. Should they sputter? Then, we’ll likely see Kirby have a tougher time with the position.
The excuses for this offense to be more of an explosive passing attack are gone. Daniels has two of the best returning wide receivers in all of college football coming back in George Pickens and Jermaine Burton. You also cannot forget about fellow receiver Kearis Jackson and tight end Darnell Washington.
With this collection of returning talent and the running back group? This offense should be close to what LSU showed in 2019 and Alabama in this past season. The talent alone is one reason to make people believe this could become a reality.
Chuck Oliver Show – Anchor/Fill-In Host
WCNN-AM 680 The Fan, also on FM at 93.7
WFOM-AM 106.3 FM ‘XTRA SPORTS AND TALK’