Despite transfer drama, Maurice Smith calls UGA season a ‘blessing’

Nov 12, 2016; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs defensive back Maurice Smith (2) runs past Auburn Tigers receiver Will Hastings (33) after intercepting a pass and returning it for a touchdown during the second half at Sanford Stadium. Georgia defeated Auburn 13-7. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Last offseason, Maurice Smith was one of the most talked-about players in the SEC. Upon receiving his degree from Alabama, Smith planned to go to Georgia and reunite with Kirby Smart as a graduate transfer, which went against UA’s policy of intra-conference transfers. After a public back-and-forth through the media, Smith was eventually granted a full release from Alabama and was able to become a Bulldog.

Smith is happy with the way things worked out.

“It was a blessing,” he told Gridiron Now’s Dan Matthews. “I don’t even look at the playing time. I look at the fact that I was able to make some type of impact on the team and hopefully that will help them later on coming down the road to understand the expectations and things like that. Overall, it was a great move.”

In his final season, Smith played in 13 games as a nickelback. He recorded 50 tackles, 2 interceptions and a pair of forced fumbles. Smart is selling NFL teams on more than Smith’s stats.

“I think the proof will kind of be when the draft comes,” Smart said. “I think he got to play a lot, and played well. ‘Mo’ is a high character, tough kid. All these guys (scouts) ask, ‘How smart is he? Can he play multiple positions?’

“He got to prove all those things. He played on special teams. Ultimately, I don’t know how he’ll get drafted. That will depend on his speed, that will depend on a lot of other things.”

While Smith made the most of his time at Georgia, he recognizes that his season was hampered by being without a team for so long since the 2015 season ended. Despite that, he doesn’t have any regrets.

“Looking back at it, not having a place to stay, not having really a place to work out, having to do it all on my own, not having a trainer, and not going through spring? I still think I’m blessed,” Smith said. “Whether I get a shot at getting drafted or free agency, I’m going to still work hard and definitely make a team.”

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