Seth Emerson has a good story on how Smart and Tucker have built Georgia’s secondary, which as we sit here right now sports the 18th-best defensive passer rating nationally, despite only having two interceptions to its name. One big reason for that is it’s doing a ridiculous job of limiting the big play: it’s fourth in yards per attempt with a paltry 4.9 average.
Anyway, what’s interesting about the starting secondary is that even with Smart’s deserved reputation as a great recruiter, it’s populated by guys who weren’t recruiting blue bloods.
Aaron Davis was one of those rare, literal walk-ons. Four years ago, then-Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham might not even have known who Davis was during their one season together.
“Probably not too much,” said Davis, who redshirted in 2013, Grantham’s final year season the team. “I didn’t spend too much time with him.”
… J.R. Reed came to Georgia last year after a nondescript first year at Tulsa. The general thought was Georgia accepted his transfer to get his cousin, 4-star recruit Deangelo Gibbs. Instead, it was Reed who earned a starting spot and might turn out to be one of the great finds in recent Georgia history, leading the team with 10 tackles against Mississippi State.
“He did a good job on the scout team last year. Coaches saying, ‘Hey man, J.R. Reed’s going to be a good player,’” coach Kirby Smart said. “Then when the spring came, and it was like, ‘This guy’s a starter.’”
So are Deandre Baker and Dominick Sanders, two 3-star recruits who each had an interception Saturday.
I continue to marvel at the season Reed is having, but he’s just one of several overachievers back there. You can’t chalk all of that up to luck. All in all, the secondary is a testament to the staff’s skills in talent evaluation and player development. Pruitt probably deserves some of the credit for planting seeds, but it’s exciting to see where this is headed.
Maybe the best part is reflecting on what they’ll be able to raise out of the next bumper crop, considering a lot of those kids were highly sought-after recruits.