Not only is Kirby Smart one of the most accomplished head coaches in Georgia football history, but he is also a former on-field star for the Bulldogs as a player. So, with that thought in mind, let’s take a look back at Smart’s playing career with the Bulldogs, which lasted four seasons from 1995-98.
Looking back at the Georgia football career of Kirby Smart
A former in-state prospect out of Bainbridge High School, Smart originally came to Georgia ahead of the 1995 season, where he would make an immediate impact as a freshman in the Bulldogs secondary. In fact, Smart would be a four-year letterman during his time in Athens at defensive back.
During his Georgia football career, Smart would amass 13 interceptions across his four seasons, a number that still ranks among the Bulldogs’ leaders to this day. Smart would also lead the SEC with five interceptions during his 1998 senior season, as well as rank second in the conference with six during the 1997 campaign.
Speaking of that 1998 season, arguably Smart’s best season at Georgia was his senior campaign, as he would receive First Team All-SEC honors that year at seasons end. Smart would also make an impact on special teams as well while in Athens, returning 15 kickoffs in 1995 as a freshman for 332 yards, averaging 22.1 yards per return.
At the conclusion of the 1998 season, Smart would go on to be undrafted in the 1999 NFL Draft, and began his coaching career shortly after, where he would see multiple stops prior to becoming the defensive coordinator at Alabama in 2008. Smart would become one of college football’s top assistant coaches with the Crimson Tide, and would win four national championships at Alabama prior to being named the head coach at Georgia in late-2015.
Since taking over Georgia football during the 2016 season, Smart has led the Bulldogs to a combined 81-15 record, along with five double-digit win seasons. Smart has also led Georgia to two national championships, coming during the 2021 and 2022 seasons.