A couple of thumbnail sketches of the new blood in Georgia’s secondary:
Where he fits: Smith can help the Bulldogs at two different positions. He’s smaller than your typical safety but he has the range and physicality to succeed there. Where he’ll be needed, however, is at the STAR/nickel position. He played a similar role the past two seasons at WVU and he played it well. Georgia’s going to ask him to do some different things if he plays that position but he’s going to be really good near the line of scrimmage and in zone coverage. UGA lost Tyrique Stevenson and Mark Webb at the end of the 2020 season, so there’s a big-time void there right now.
2021 Impact: We fully expect Smith to be a starter for the Bulldogs. He didn’t leave Morgantown to be a backup or a role player. Considering how Georgia is in nickel such a large percentage of the time, he’s probably not going to come off the field much. He can also provide some depth at safety if it’s needed. One thing to keep an eye on here is that Smith brings a play-making element to the STAR position that the Bulldogs have been missing since Maurice Smith. The Bulldogs have put some talented players in that spot but not have seemed all that comfortable. Smith, however, seems to thrive in the unique role and seems to always be in attack mode.
Where he fits: Kendrick is a cornerback all the way. He won’t get looks at safety. He won’t get looks in the sub package. He’s going to play cornerback and he has shown that he can do that job really well. With that said, big-time wideouts and big-time passing games have given him trouble but what else is new? Players who go up against other big-time players tend to get got every now and then, but Kendrick is more than likely wrapping up his college football career at UGA and he’ll want to put some convincing film out there.
2021 Impact: As is the case with Tykee Smith, Georgia didn’t bring Kendrick in to ride the bench. As long as he’s locked in and competing hard, he’s going to start at one of the cornerback spots. Figuring out who’ll be the guy on the other side is the biggest question going into preseason camp. Kendrick has all the talent in the world but Georgia really needs to get the most focused and motivated version of the former five-star prospect. He has shown big-time playmaking ability but the tensions will be high right away. The Bulldogs begin their 2021 season against Kendrick’s old team. If he can weather that storm and keep his emotions in check, he’ll be able to ease into things with a favorable schedule.
Both of those takes resonate. Smith walks into an ideal situation in terms of team needs meeting a specific skill set; that he’s already familiar with his position coach is almost a bonus. I also like that his arrival will discourage using other players such as, say, Adam Anderson, at a less than optimal position.
I’ve already said that the best way to motivate Kendrick is to coach him as if he’s in a contract year. There’s a lot of money to be made if he shows up in the best way. That being said, Rowe makes a good point about him needing to keep his emotions in check in the Clemson game. Talent alone isn’t the only way he can show out to pro scouts. More than in Smith’s case, Kendrick will give us a good indication of Addae’s coaching skills.