When asked about recruiting his players to stay at Georgia, Kirby Smart details his program's commitment to developing its players
Given a window into life behind the scenes in Athens, Kirby Smart admits that even Georgia has to regularly recruit players that may not currently be happy with their roles in the program to stay in Athens. That’s just where college football is in the age of the NCAA transfer portal.
However, instead of looking at the issue as a burden, Smart says Georgia invests heavily in getting the most out of every single player that enters the program with a large support staff, the best facilities in the country and a commitment to developing that not even the NFL can match.
Leaving when things get tough may be the easy route, but as Smart explained during his most recent media availability, that isn’t the path to success for the vast majority of players as Georgia has all the tools to get the most out of the players that step foot on campus in Athens.
Here’s what Smart had to say when asked how often he has to recruit his players to stay at Georgia behind closed doors.
‘’Oh, all the time. It’s part of college football now,” Smart said on Tuesday. “It’s probably one of the most important things in a program now in major college football, especially at the major Power 5 programs, is the support staff that you’re capable of hiring to support you and support your program and support these players.”
Smart then noted that in today’s era of high school recruiting and media coverage, nearly every player Georgia signs have a sense of entitlement following all the attention and fanfare that comes with their college decision. That bravado is commonplace in young men of everyday life but it’s often compounded with all the attention thrown these players’ way.
“There’s not one guy that comes in here that’s not highly touted, not given a thousand accolades by all the media or, I guess you’d say, the recruiting sites,” Smart continued. “So they go through trials and tribulations of realizing that they have work to do. And the people that have to support ‘em here are so key to our success. There are probably 20 guys on our staff who sat down with 30 to 40 different players and explained that your best option is here. Your best option is now.”
The Georgia coach then relayed a message that many players considering a jump to the game’s highest level need to consider, if you aren’t completely ready for the NFL, don’t go. The league does not have time to develop you and will move on quickly if necessary.
“We had a (NFL) general manager come in and talk to the players about developing. You’re going to develop better at Georgia, where you’ve got nutrition, weight room, unbelievable coaching staff, support staff, facilities, better than you are by going somewhere else that you might not have those facilities,” he added. “You’re also going to develop better here than you are in the NFL because they don’t run a developmental league. They only have a 53-man roster, so they can’t develop players. They cut ‘em.
“There’s no, ‘Hey, I’m going to develop you for later.’ You’re going to be better off staying here, working and getting better, so that you’re a better player when you do go to the NFL because the whole key is that you make it. We sell the players on that. You’re going to develop because we practice every kid out there. Our threes took reps today, to get better. So we’re always looking at, ‘OK, what’s the best for every player on our roster and then also, what’s best for our team?’ And we’re trying to manage those two things.’’