Chip Towers has some excellent posts up today about how Saturday night’s game has affected Georgia’s standing with recruits. Here’s something that caught my eye in his Branden Smith story:
… Georgia’s coaches took some heat for even having Smith back returning kickoffs Saturday. Sophomore Brandon Boykin had returned the previous kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. And Smith was criticized the week before for bringing the ball out of the end zone despite fielding it deep.
Then Smith lost the handle on the football without even being hit and South Carolina recovered deep in Georgia territory. He didn’t know what to expect coming to the Georgia sideline.
Smith said he was surprised by what he encountered.
“Hearing my teammates keep rooting me on, that just put the spirit back in me,” Smith said. “They were saying to forget about it, that I’d get another chance. Coach Richt told me, ‘Don’t worry about it, I’m gonna put you back in. Redeem yourself.’ It took a little while. The whole time I was just thinking to myself, ‘if I can touch the ball again, what can I do?’ When they called my name to get in on offense, I was just talking to myself saying, ‘I have to make something happen on this play.’ Once I got the ball, it was just good blocking by the receivers and the O-line and I just made it happen.”
Smith’s unpolished and inexperienced with the ball in his hands, but he’s very, very talented. It’s amounted to one helluva risk/reward ratio so far. But if you’re Mark Richt, what else can you do but keep the faith, baby?