Georgia Tech in Athens means one thing. It’s Senior Day.
They’ve played their part on a team that will have a chance to win a second straight SEC championship under Smart, a coach who inherited most of these seniors on the roster. They bought into his vision of taking the program to another level.
“When Kirby came in, the main goal at the end of the day was to win,” Patrick said. “As a competitor, you have no choice but to get on that bandwagon. It was easy to join that, it was easy to get on the train, it was easy to buy in because at the end of the day that’s what we all want, to win.”
Good thing all that buying in worked.
The numbers may be smaller than you expect.
Fifteen scholarship seniors—and six walk-ons—will be recognized before Saturday’s noon regular season finale against Georgia Tech.
“It’s going to be a big game for me and I want to make sure I cherish it and live in the moment,” said senior outside linebacker D’Andre Walker, who has 11 ½ sacks.
Ten of the scholarship players signed in February, 2015.
They were part of a 30-player recruiting class signed by Mark Richt that was ranked No. 6 in the nation that was whittled down after a coaching change with seven who left the program, five who saw their careers end early due to injuries and one who was dismissed.
Three redshirted and are juniors (Michael Barnett, Tae Crowder and Justin Young) two declared for the NFL draft after last season (Roquan Smith and Trenton Thompson) and two played as transfers (Chuks Amaechi and Jake Ganus).
It’s not 2013-class sized, but it’s a little small. Though it sounds like at one point, Kirby wouldn’t have been surprised if it had been smaller.
“Since we’ve arrived whether by transfer, by grades, by dismissal, it seems like that class has really shrunk,” Smart said. “The ones that have stayed, the ones that have pushed through, the ones that have bought in have really helped our program and have a chance to be one of the top four senior classes to ever play here, which is pretty incredible when you have an 8-win season in there.”
Yep. Now go get Tech.