The Blame Kirby Smart Game: Use of Transfer Portal isn’t one of them – BY DAN MATHEWS

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Georgia head coach Kirby Smart talks to his players before Georgia’s spring NCAA college football game, Saturday, April 17, 2021, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

May 20, 2021
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – Kirby Smart is not afraid to use the transfer portal. This has been proven time and time again.

I bring this up, after the Outkick.com article a few days ago that highlighted a Kirby Smart “loss” in the transfer portal, with former Tennessee linebacker Henry To’o To’o choosing to continue his playing career at Alabama. People I trust in the recruiting/beat media never once told me that Georgia was in on To’o To’o. From the beginning, I’d heard Alabama or Ohio State.

To say that Smart believes that players “should come to you” is ridiculous. Smart’s staff has proven almost every year, that they’re willing to supplement the roster with the transfer portal. Georgia doesn’t need to “get with the times.”

How about some evidence?

2016 (pre-transfer portal)- Georgia added offensive lineman Tyler Catalina, defensive back Maurice Smith and defensive back JR Reed.

2017 (pre-transfer portal)- Punter Cameron Nizialek

2018 (pre-transfer portal)— Wide receiver Demetris Robertson

2019- Wide receiver Lawrence Cager

2020- Tight end Tre McKitty, quarterback Jamie Newman and quarterback JT Daniels.

2021- Defensive backs Tykee Smith and Brandon Turnage.

Georgia might not be done with adding players in 2021. UGASports.com‘s Radi Nabulsi said the other day on the Chuck Oliver Show, that he expects UGA to add another cornerback (possibly former Clemson CB Derion Kendrick) and offensive player. I would have to believe offensive line is the priority on the second wish.

Let’s face it too, Kirby Smart has recruited well. They finished sixth in 247Sports’s 2016 rankings. They were third in 2017, first in 2018, second in 2019, number one in 2020 and just finished fourth in the most recent cycle. They have not always recruited at this level.

Matt Loede wrote this article and this isn’t a slam session of him. He made his point and I’m just laying out to facts to say why he’s wrong.

Using Smart’s quote about not wanting to use the portal lacks context. No coach at a major college program wants to rely on the transfer portal. This is even considering the new one-time transfer exemption. Nick Saban, Dabo Swinney, Ryan Day, Jimbo Fisher and Ed Orgeron would all like to rely on the players they’ve recruited and signed to their programs.

Swinney has been notorious for his reluctance to use the transfer portal. He even said as much, during a February press conference.

“Our philosophy has always been to recruit high school kids,” Swinney said via TigerNet.com. “We’ve signed two transfers since I’ve been here. I’ve not gone to the portal to address needs ever. We’ve just always taken a lot of pride in our evaluation and development of high school kids, and that’s never going to change.”

I mean, don’t mind Dabo Swinney… He’s only won the ACC seven times and the College Football Playoff twice.

If you want to blame Kirby for questionable coaching decisions in crucial spots? Then, that’s a fair critique. They haven’t won enough championships (conference or national)? Again, that’s fair.

But saying that Kirby is behind the times on the transfer portal? Sorry Matt, I can’t ride with you on that one.

Dan Mathews
Chuck Oliver Show – Anchor/Fill-In Host
WCNN-AM 680 The Fan, also on FM at 93.7

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