Checking All The Boxes
By: Kipp Branch
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
Kirby Smart, arguably, is the most popular man in the state of Georgia currently.
The Georgia Bulldogs just won the 2022 National Championship to back up the one they won in 2021.
In seven full seasons in Athens, Smart has led his Dawgs to an 81-15 overall record with two SEC titles to go along with the national titles.
Many UGA fans are saying the 2023 team could be better than the current National Champions. I’m thinking how do you get better than 15-0 and a 65-7 rout in the title game?
It is called recruiting. Kirby Smart and Nick Saban are the best recruiters in college football. Year after year of top three recruiting classes allows a program to stockpile talent.
To Smart’s credit he recruits athletes that respond to hard coaching. Players get coached up hard at UGA. The results are stockpiling also.
Fifteen players were drafted by the NFL in 2022, which included 5 first rounders on the defensive side of the ball. Early projections for 2023 predict that UGA could have as many as 10 players drafted.
If Jalen Carter is the first player selected by the Chicago Bears, then UGA could have players in back-to-back drafts selected as the number one overall pick. Travon Walker was first overall by Jacksonville in 2022.
Kirby Smart develops his football players and gets them ready for the next level or ready for life.
It starts with practice. Nobody works harder than the Georgia Bulldogs under Kirby Smart. His teams are prepared physically and mentally for any opponent they face. The foundation of that is demanding work.
When you have four- and five-star talent that is willing to work and be pushed constantly you see the results start mounting. Look at the practice leading up to the TCU game.
Gunner Stockton took off the non-contact jersey at QB and replicated Max Duggan for TCU and took live hits from the best defense in the country to get them ready for TCU.
Kirby said this about his QB room after the title game:
“We got one that took a black (non-contact) jersey off and took hits all week so he could be Max (Duggan). “Gunner Stockton said, ‘Coach, take my shirt off. I’ll take the hits.’ ”
That is called total 100% buy-in folks. The is what Kirby demands and his roster year in and year old responds to it.
Kirby is already creating a narrative for the 2023 season: “The disease that creeps into your program is called entitlement. I’ve seen it firsthand,” Smart said. “If you can stomp it out with leadership, then you can stay hungry. And we have a saying around our place: We eat off the floor. And if you’re willing to eat off the floor, you can be special.”
Talking about leading by example just 48 hours after returning from the west coast title Kirby and staff were dropping in via helicopter on high schools all over the state of Georgia, and then heading out all over the country recruiting national recruits.
Kirby has turned UGA into a national brand now, and UGA has become a pipeline to the NFL. These are glorious times UGA fans. Enjoy this run while it lasts.
UGA has 13-14 starters returning for the 2023 season with a recruiting class that was ranked #2 nationally coming in.
Georgia signed seven of the top 20 recruits in the state of Florida. Florida signed none.
Kirby Smart is checking all the boxes in Athens, Georgia.