Maurice Smith‘s long wait is over. After Nick Saban and the University of Alabama granted him an unconditional release on Wednesday, the process moved to the SEC offices in Birmingham. It seemed unlikely, based on SEC rules, that the conference would approve the transfer. However, they did so today according to ESPN’s Sam Khan Jr. Smith will be eligible to play immediately.
What Does that Mean for the Dawgs?
In his time at Alabama, Maurice Smith played nickelback, generally a team’s third corner or sometimes a particularly quick free safety. One of the reasons he left UA was because of a lack of playing time. However, the road to important snaps looks almost as rough at Georgia. Last season Georgia had the number one pass defense in the nation. And they return virtually everyone in the secondary.
Starting safeties Dominick Sanders and Quincy Mauger both return. So do both starting corners, Malkom Parrish and Aaron Davis. Finally, a whole slew of young, but talented backups return such as Rico McGraw, Reggie Wilkerson, Juwuan Briscoe, Rashad Roundtree, Jarvis Wilson, DeAndre Baker, and Shattle Fenteng. Where will Smith find playing time among that deep group of playmakers?
I don’t think he will. I think he will most likely ride the pine for most of the season. He may see time in mop-up duty, once the game is well in hand. It just doesn’t make sense for Kirby Smart to play a senior over more talented underclassmen. He should give the younger guys a chance to grow and learn.
The one advantage Smith has over all of those other players is that he knows Kirby Smart’s system much better than they do. Still, I don’t think it will be enough. Smith will likely serve as a veteran leader and mentor to the young guys, but that will be his only significant contribution this season.