I got ‘yer Portal Master™ right here.

Yep.

Georgia got more than just a commitment from now-former West Virginia defensive back Tykee Smith on Sunday night. The Bulldogs announced him as a part of the team and Dawgs247 has confirmed that Smith has locked in his spot with a Letter of Intent. UGA is now bound to him and him to UGA.

… Smith was pursued heavily by the likes of Auburn, Penn State, and Texas and had he simply committed to UGA, those programs would still be able to pursue. But Bulldogs can rest easy knowing that the junior defensive back his signed on the dotted line.

Kirby Smart is a bad man.  And this is a big deal.  You don’t grab productive players like this for an area of need like Georgia’s secondary every day.  And make no mistake, Tykee Smith has been a productive player.

At 5-foot-11 195 pounds, Smith manned the nickel (SPEAR) position at WVU in 2020. It’s similar to the STAR position UGA employs in its nickel package, a personnel grouping the Bulldogs use for a majority of their snaps since opposing teams are so often in three-receiver sets.

He played in 22 games in his first two seasons in Morgantown. In 12 games as a freshman, he piled up 51 total tackles 2.5 tackles for loss, a sack, and two interceptions. He returned one of those interceptions 19 yards for a touchdown and forced one fumble.

In 10 games as a sophomore, Smith racked up 61 total tackles and eight tackles for loss while breaking up five passes and intercepting two. He helped the Mountaineers field the nation’s No. 1 pass defense in yards-per-game average and No. 10 pass defense in yards averaged per pass attempt.

When the season ended, Smith was honored as a third-team All American by the Associated Press. He was a member of the All Big 12 honorable mention team. He earned Freshman All-American honors in 2019.

Smith was only in the transfer portal for a little over a week and never visited Georgia’s campus.  Still, it sounds like he knew what he wanted.

“I just feel like it was time for me to do it because I didn’t want all the attention,” Smith said. “I wanted to make a business decision and I felt like today was the right day.

“They do a lot of things. They don’t just line you up to the field. They do a lot of different stuff. They can see me at the ‘Star’ position, or one of the high safety spots. I will be able to play man and all that stuff, so I will be able to showcase all my skills.”

The 5-foot-10, 198-pound Smith plans on enrolling at Georgia in late May, after he finishes the semester at West Virginia.

His arrival at Georgia will also signal a reunion with defensive backs coach Jahmile Addae, who joined the Bulldogs’ staff after spending the last two seasons at West Virginia.

“I am real comfortable (with Addae),” Smith said. “I feel as though he got me to the point of having an all-American season last year, so why not finish what we started. He helped me take my game to the next level as far as me getting off breaks and getting me right.”

And vice versa.  As Jake Rowe points out, Smith alleviates some pressure on the defensive coaches to sort out where to fit the inexperienced talent.

The addition of Smith has a ripple effect the rest of the secondary because he can play that position at a high level. UGA will still work other players at the position and Smith will have to earn a starting spot, but the need to experiment at that spot shrinks.

The lack of experience at cornerback comes into play here. Put yourself in Addae’s shoes. If he’s trying to get four or five guys ready to play winning football at cornerback, it makes his job much harder if he’s trying to use some of those same guys to play the STAR position.

With a proven playmaker entering the fold at that spot, one who has piled up 10.5 tackles for loss, four interceptions, and nine pass breakups in his first 22 games at the college football level, abates the necessity to cross train players who already have a tremendous challenge ahead.

Smith has three years of eligibility left, but it’ll be a shock if he uses even two of them.  That’s okay.  He’s as close to a perfect plug and play talent as Georgia could find for 2021.  Kirby Smart couldn’t ask for a better bridge to get all that young talent ready to go this year and next.

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UPDATE:  Interestingly enough, it wasn’t Addae who reached out to Smith first.  Or even second.

In a telephone interview with UGASports, Smith said that while a reunion with Addae was one of the reasons he decided to choose Georgia, it was Bulldog defensive coordinator Dan Lanning who made the first move.

“He (Addae) had a huge impact, but he wasn’t even the first one to reach out to me from the staff. Coach Lanning was the first one, and then Coach Kirby (Smart),” Smith said. “We’ve been in touch a lot.”

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UPDATE #2:  Stat porn, via PFF.

Not too shabby.

26 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Transfers Are For Coaches.

26 responses to “I got ‘yer Portal Master™ right here.

  1. aucarson

    Nobody with any sense leaves a job not already knowing their destination.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. RangerRuss

    I’m pleased that Kirby has transformed UGA football into a preferred destination for sought after coaches and players. Hard work and excellent personnel is a great way to make your own luck.
    GATA.

    Liked by 16 people

  3. armydawg

    Hey”Dopey”, are you watching & listening? Kirby’s still living rent free in Mullen’s head.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. whew…need a cold shower…

    Like

  5. If he can be a Mo Smith type of player, that’s enough for me. The fact that he was an All-American last year makes me hope he can be a lot more.

    The secondary cupboard may have a lot of new dishes in it, but it isn’t bare and there’s a lot of high end stuff in it.

    Liked by 6 people

  6. Kirby done good.

    But it seems Georgia fans prefer crying woe is me to celebrating. B/C this is a good get and it was a slick as heck move by Kirby.

    I sure hope Kirby can HC in 2021 and 2022, bc he has the best coaching staff ever assembled at UGA and he has one of the top 5 teams or better ever assembled at UGA.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Watching this sausage being made is impressive…CKS and staff are decisive.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. dawgman3000

    This is definitely a big pick me up after Pickens injury.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. akascuba

    Im growing very fond of this type story that ends with KIrby is on the Motha.
    Kirby is like rust he
    s always working.

    Train keepa rollin alnight long.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Salty Dawg

    That makes me feel somewhat better, but here is still some Munsoning hanging around.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Derek

    A Star is born.

    Like

  12. Munsoning

    Yessir! Long way to go till 10/4 but feeling better about the Dawgs’ chances in Charlotte.

    Like

  13. What’s exciting to me is how versatile he is — sure there’s lots of pass break-ups but he’s got TFLs and sacks too. Which is great given how Swiss-Army Knife Kirby and Lanning see the Star position.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. 123 Fake St

    How many Big 12 DBs are mentioned as a 1,2,or 3rd team All Americans? This guy excelled in the most pass happy league. Welcome aboard and How Bout Them Effing Dawgs!!!?
    Huge pickup.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. W Cobb Dawg

    “At 5-foot-11 195 pounds, Smith manned the nickel (SPEAR) position at WVU in 2020.”
    “The 5-foot-10, 198-pound Smith plans on enrolling at Georgia in late May…”

    I don’t mind him putting on a few pounds, but I’m about Smith getting shorter. Sinclair can fix that, right? Or is it because he’s moving closer to the equator?

    Liked by 1 person

  16. TN Dawg

    Cash for corners!

    Like

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