Kirby Smart raves about several Georgia football 2023 signing class position groups

Another year, another elite signing class for the Georgia football program. The Bulldogs have already signed 25 prospects in the 2023 recruiting cycle. Eleven of them rate as top-100 overall prospects and give Georgia the No. 2 overall recruiting class.

The Bulldogs went all over the country to land prospects, as Georgia went to California, Massachusetts and Florida to add to its roster. Georgia actually signed more prospects from Florida in this class than the state of Georgia.

Related: Early Signing Period: Georgia football 2023 recruiting class commitments, signees, targets, live updates

The group also has a number of players who are coming in early to make an impact. Nine players are already practicing with Georgia this week and another handful of them are set to join the Georgia program after the new year to go through spring drills.

Understandably so, Kirby Smart is bullish on the future of the class.

“I’m really fired up about this group. They are of high character,” Smart said. “The one thing in the coaching business you better value now more than ever is high character, tough, hard-nosed football players that are coming here with an understanding that they’re committed to excellence in terms of classroom, competitiveness, toughness, loving football, and these guys understand that.”

Smart went deeper into his signing class, breaking down a number of position groups. The only two Smart wasn’t asked about were the defensive line and the kicker spot, as Georgia did have to wait on some of its signees to officially submit their letters of intent at the time of Smart’s press conference on Wednesday.

Kirby Smart on the Quarterback position

“I think it’s irrelevant in today’s day and age. The portal is full of them. There’s going to be multiple guys every year. You want to do the best job you can to get the best quarterback you can.

When you have three quarterbacks, sometimes you don’t have any. And when you have one quarterback, that’s when you have a quarterback. We’re very pleased with what we have in our quarterback room. We think we’ve got three quarterbacks that are going to be really good, so the concern wasn’t about a quarterback.

And none of the skill players made it about that because they know what we’ve signed the last really three or four years. They know what we have the potential to sign in ’24.

So it’s one of those deals that the quarterback position kind of sells it based on who your offensive coordinator is and how your offense does, and we’ve excelled in that.”

Kirby Smart on running back signee Roderick Robinson

Size, speed, toughness. Really soft hands. He is your SEC-type back that can get hard yards, but is athletic enough to do some things in space.

Really, to be honest, I like the guy’s character. I like the background he has. He has family from South Carolina. He has family from Georgia. He has family from Birmingham. He is attached to the state. He has really good quality toughness. He is hard to tackle.

You know, football is still a game where you have to get people on the ground, and he is hard to get on the ground. He loves the game. He is very intelligent. So he excited us on tape, but even won us over more in person.”

Kirby Smart on Georgia football 2023 wide receiver signees

“Yeah, excited about those guys. Speed, athleticism. Been here practicing with us. Each one is different. They all probably need — they’re going to have to hit the weight room and get stronger to be able to really do the things we want them to do, but you want to take a guy that has natural speed, the pass-catching ability, make you miss ability, run after the catch, vertical threats. We think we get that in those three guys.”

Kirby Smart on Georgia football tight end signees

Well, I don’t know. I think we’ll see that. We know what the experts say and what the stars say, but I don’t think you really know what you have technically other than what they’ve done in camp.

Both those guys have been competitive. They’ve gone out and competed every chance they’ve had. Pearce was able to come back towards the end of the year and play some coming off of shoulder surgery. And then Lawson had a good year playing in a really tough division in Georgia High School football.

I’m excited about both of those guys. They’re coming into a room that is extremely competitive, but they both fit that criteria themselves. So I’m excited to see what they can do for us.

Kirby Smart on Georgia football offensive line signees

I think when you look at us the past three or four years, I think we’ve had the second or third most O-linemen drafted, especially top round picks like we’ve been able to have with tackles going early and, you know , Ben Cleveland and a lot of the guys.

So the program sells itself in terms of development. You get to go against some of the best defensive linemen, three first round defensive linemen. You get to go against those guys.

We recruit as a staff, not as a position. I think Stacy has done a tremendous job this year. I think we’ve got some really talented, flexible guys that can go inside and out. That’s always what you are looking for is to get length at tackle, but guys that can go in and play guard, and I think we were able to do that in this class, and really excited about the O-line class we have coming in .

On Monroe Freeling and Bo Hughley…

Length. They both have top ten wing spans of kids we’ve recruited here, and we’ve got some pretty long guys that have played here in the last seven, eight years.

Both those guys would be near top ten in terms of keeping people’s hands off of them. Both of them, really good basketball players. Got great feet, athleticism.

You know, it’s one of the hardest positions to play right away, so it’s not like they’re going to walk in here and just take over, but they’ve got kind of the mold you want in terms of length and athleticism and some guys that can go play with them.

Kirby Smart on Georgia football inside linebacker signees

Well, a really talented group in terms of speed, athleticism. In the day and age that we are in right now where the guys are fast, athletic, have got to play in space, got to be able to strike and play with toughness, but also high character.

Those three guys bonded, got to be good friends, have connected. I think Schumann and the defensive staff have done a tremendous job of selling the brand, but these three guys all came out and did. Look what these two guys are currently doing. Look what the guys we’ve signed last year that are here and playing roles on special teams.

You’ll develop here. You’ll become better, and you’ll have fun doing it. That group is tight. I think it kind of recruits itself when you talk about Nakobe, Quay, and Channing, what they’ve done. These guys, they want to emulate guys like that. They’re really high-character kids. Really impressed with everything about those three guys.

Kirby Smart on Georgia football outside linebacker signees

Yeah, excited about the group we’ve got there. I think we’ve got good depth. We’re trying to get that room back to where it’s been in the past.

You know, there was a time when there were three or four really high draft picks in that room. That’s what you want in that skill set. That helps you on third down. Those body types help you on special teams.

The 6′2″-plus, the 240-plus is a position that can cover kicks, can cover return punts in terms of holding people up. So much value in that room, packages you can do on defense.

So when we’ve been at our best, we’ve had a lot of speed and athleticism in that room, and we’re trying to get back to it. We hope these guys can do that and provide some defensive end help as well when it comes to playing 4-3 and having two guys out there.

On Sam M’Pemba:

He is one of those outside backers that has great length, great toughness. He was a really good athlete growing up. Played competitive soccer. Traveled all over.

As many as two years ago he was playing tight end. So he is very raw, has a high ceiling, but he has a lot to learn about the position. But he is a tremendous talent when it comes to athleticism. He is going to have to learn how to play the position as well because he has kind of played all over as a football player.

On Gabe Harris:

He is an athletic outside backer. He and Sam played together down at IMG. I think both those kids have a great relationship with each other, great rapport.

We’re down on depth in that room with Nolan and Beal leaving, so it’s one of those deals where we have to add some depth, and we have to have guys that can play early for us at those positions.

Kirby Smart on Georgia football defensive back signees

Football is a matchup game. There’s more empty than we’ve ever seen before. More spread than we’ve ever seen before. You’ve got to have slot corners. You’ve got to have outside corners. You have to have guys that can go inside and play. You have to have guys who can be gunners, guys who can tackle.

Just so many roles of a defensive back that it’s not three corners. It’s what can this guy play early? How can he help us? And you can’t have enough.

I mean, very rarely do they come in and just jump right in and play as freshmen. They play. They just may not play the starting role. So it’s a position that has to develop, has to grow. It’s one that we have been short in that room. I mean, probably the last five years, four years we’ve been really short in our defensive back rooms. We’re trying to manage those numbers. There and receiver are probably the two hardest spots to be at your quota on your 85.

It’s a position that turns over a lot. It’s a position that comes out early a lot. It’s a position that goes in the portal a lot. We’re hoping to gain depth there.

On AJ Harris:

Competitiveness. I mean, he loves football. Number one traits you look for now is how much do you love football, how much can you process information, because after you height, weight, jump, test everybody, it becomes what knowledge you can handle in between your ears? I think he is going to excel at that. He takes notes. He is very bright, and he wants it. He is hungry. That’s a part that I can’t coach into him.

Kirby Smart shares first thoughts on 2023 Georgia football recruiting class

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