Privately many parents and caregivers of prospects have been very impressed with the way Smart has handled the transition from Alabama to UGA. Many of the folks have talked about Smart’s personal touch with prospects. Smart’s staff is said to be very, very right - so much so that it is making an impact on recruits… particularly those considering flipping from other schools to Georgia.
Smart is also monitoring many of the details of recruiting and the trips made to Georgia. He’s made Friday night visits to Sanford Stadium a fixture; he’s been comfortable participating with recruits in their social media hi jinx.
Don’t expect Smart, who is insisting that players and prospects not call him “Coach Smart” but “Kirby”, to sign any players he doesn’t expect to make an impact at UGA. In other words, Smart almost certainly will not sign 25 prospects in his first go round as head coach.
As one insider put it: “He just plan is not going to take kids to take them. He’s not going to do it.”
You can see that’s the case, too. A good example is Creekside OL Aaron Dowdell, who had been committed to the Bulldogs for nearly a year. Dowdell is a great example of a player who Smart and company could pick up right now, but won’t do so - even though there are still spots available.
Mark Richt, for years, seemed to struggle to hit 25 prospects in a class - Smart is purposely not hitting 25 (or beyond) because he is only interested in signing players he feels like have the ability to make an impact on the program.
So why is Smart telling players and prospects to call him “Kirby”. To some degree its natural. But Smart is doing very few things without meaning these days. The first-year head man wants players and prospects to view UGA as a small company - that they are all in the boat together. Yes, Smart is certainly the leader and head man in charge, but everyone has buy in.
Just like Smart wearing a business jacket to meetings with prospects - he’s showing players that their future is serious. So he’s going to take it seriously and dress the part to let the prospects know that they are making a business-like decision to join his organization.
That’s not to say that Smart and company will get everything they would like this Signing Day - or that they expect that to happen. There is general acceptance in the world of the insiders that Derrick Brown and Demetris Robertson are pure mysteries.
Brown, we are led to believe, is moving towards Auburn. But why? Long story. UGA, believe it or not, was actually not quite as far out in front for Brown as it seemed. Mark Richt, who was recruiting for the Bulldogs until he was fired, had a hard time remembering that Derrick Brown’s mother’s name was, in fact, Martha - not Yolonda. So that never went over well. Then the reality that was Smart moving the position he was coaching last fall also shifted him from recruiting Brown as much as he had in the past.
The reality is, Smart had to deal with a lot of damage control. That’s never easy to do in a limited time. The two major cogs in the wheel that is Auburn, which UGA can correctly point out is falling apart, Rodney Garner and Gus Malzahn, were still in place. Auburn, with its pedestrian 7-6 season and seemingly backsliding program (12-2, 8-5 and 7-6), were still familiar faces.
Robertson is another story all together. The Savannah native has not followed the traditional recruiting path as it relates to insiders. Visiting Georgia Tech the weekend before Signing Day has to be a first for any 5-star player in the last decade. Still, Robertson says that he’s going to push off his decision until after Signing Day. That’s a major advantage for the Bulldogs. That makes me think that Robertson will eventually wind up playing in Silver Britches.
But no one really understands this moment what’s going on with Robertson. His circle is hard to figure out. Stanford, a program he maintains is still one of his leaders, really isn’t pursuing him. Robertson’s situation is an interesting study in how there is no really structure of pattern in every single recruiting situation.
With all of that said… here are my ***Dean not Chad; and as of midnight Saturday night*** predictions as to who will sign with UGA on Wednesday (24)
Demetris Robertson *** not on Signing Day
Jeawon Taylor or Arkeem Byrd *** one of the two