Yes, it’s a little churlish of me, but I find myself irritated that the general public, or, perhaps more accurately, the pundit class, is ready to move on from vibes of the national championship that I’m still wrapping myself in like a comfortable blanket to start talking about important things, like way-too-early 2022 top 25 lists and Heisman Trophy contenders.
That being said, there is one immediate, post-game development that legitimately falls into the life comes out you fast category.
Georgia’s well-stocked quarterback room this season consisted of Bennett, five-star Southern California graduate transfer JT Daniels, Carson Beck and five-star freshman Brock Vandagriff, and it’s hard to imagine that quartet returning intact. Ditto for the running back quintet of Zamir White, James Cook, Kenny McIntosh, Kendall Milton and Daijun Edwards, though each has eligibility remaining with the NCAA one-time rule.
Inside linebacker Nakobe Dean, cornerback Derion Kendrick and defensive linemen Jordan Davis and Travon Walker still have remaining eligibility as well but are expected to move toward the 2022 NFL draft, so Smart has a busy few weeks ahead and is well aware of that.
“We’ll probably have a few kids go into the portal who we’ve had discussions with who held that off out of respect for the team,” Smart said. “We’ll have that, and everybody will think that’s a terrible thing, but in some cases it’s actually a good opportunity for kids. We’ve got 16 or 17 midyears who have enrolled, and we’ve got to finish off this class.
“We don’t know how many spots we have, because we don’t know what some guys are doing, like Lewis and other guys, but there’s a lot of work to be done.”
Ameer Speed and Jaylen Johnson announced their decision to enter the transfer portal yesterday and it’s likely that Smart already knows more about how many spots he has to work with than he’s letting on. Also, remember that the NCAA is giving programs a mulligan this year with regard to rosters, allowing teams to replace up to transfers with additional signees in their 2022 signing classes.
Right now, there are two basic truths in college football personnel: kids are gonna transfer and some programs are going to do a much better job managing their rosters in the wake of that than others. While you can’t control the former, I have no doubt that Georgia will be on the right side of the latter.