Richt: Dawgs Have Immediate Plans for Smith

ATHENS – Mark Richt didn't take the time to check with his assistants before answering a question about Branden Smith's potential as an offensive player. In Richt's mind, Smith was clearly a candidate to play on both sides of the ball.

Smith, a five-star recruit out of Atlanta, was a standout player at cornerback, receiver and returner in high school, and while defensive coordinator Willie Martinez expects him to provide an immediate impact in Georgia's secondary, he can't disagree with Richt's projection.

"There's no doubt that we have plans to start him on corner, he's going to be a returner and also give him a little package to play some receiver or running back," Martinez said. "That's one of the reasons why we wanted him. I'm for winning games and if we've got to play kids like Branden both ways, we're going to do it."

The process will start with Smith on defense, however, and Martinez said there's an opportunity for the freshman to start immediately.

With junior cornerback Asher Allen leaving a year early to enter the NFL draft, there is little experience at the position outside of senior Prince Miller, and Martinez said Smith will be in the mix for a starting job along with Sanders Commings, Vance Cuff and Brandon Boykin.

"He's going to have every opportunity to compete for a job, for playing time," Martinez said. "The way our system is set up and the way we play and the guys we recruit have a chance to play right away. We're not into the whole redshirting thing. Our kids have a chance to graduate in three-and-a-half years now the way our system works, so it's four years, and we take advantage of the type of kids we recruit."

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