College football implemented new transfer rules last offseason, and since then the transfer portal has been bustling with activity. Players want to play and they will go wherever they can to do so.
These changes are long overdue in the opinion of some. In a world where college coaches can leave programs at the end of a hat, players should have the same freedom. The transfer portal will change the trajectory of programs every season, and fans have to adapt to this new world of recruitment.
Georgia is a perfect example. Quarterback Stetson Bennett still has one season left to qualify due to the coronavirus pandemic. If he returns to school, several Georgia quarterbacks could hit the gate looking for better opportunities.
In previous seasons, the Bulldogs could have rested on their laurels, knowing that they had several quarterbacks waiting in their arms after Bennett. This is no longer the case.
Coaches must constantly search for answers at every position due to the possibility that depth can now be exhausted in a single afternoon or portal activity. Currently, Georgia has five quarterbacks on the roster who could possibly see some playing time in the future.
Whether Bennett returns or not, there will be portal activity in this room. That’s what the facts or college football is right now. Programs are forced to adapt and manage their roster on a daily basis.
Adapt or die.
Conversely, if teams figure out how to use the portal effectively, they can put themselves in the national spotlight. Georgia is one of many programs that will not rely on the portal to build their entire roster.
They will continue to sign a full-size class with Top-3 recruiting rankings. This will not change under Kirby Smart. Other Power-5 programs do not have this luxury.
Assuming most of their needs have been met when they access the portal, Georgia can focus on a few key targets and allocate their time and resources to ensure these recruits end up in Athens.
For example, Georgia had a serious corner hole coming into this season. They had already filled most of their other positions with talented players, so they grabbed Clemson corner Derion Kendrick.
They made him feel like a priority from the start, and he eventually decided to transfer to Georgia. Georgia’s gamble paid off as Kendrick had four interceptions and was named defensive MVP in their semifinal win over Michigan.
Georgia’s attack strategy in the portal is pretty simplistic, but the larger question every program is asking right now is: how do we keep players in our program once they arrive?
Head coach Kirby Smart and his staff have been asking this question for years, and they started adjusting their strategy last season. They’re recruiting more recruits from high schools across the state to make sure they don’t lose players to homesickness. Some also believe that NIL agreements are strengthened when athletes stay close to their home market.
Many players entering the portal are looking for schools closer to home. This decision becomes more complex if you are already close to home. The decision appears to have paid off so far, as Georgia has fewer players entering the portal than several other programs.
Additionally, Kirby Smart and Georgia have spent a tremendous amount of resources developing the mental approach and mental state of their athletes. It was a big point at Athens last offseason, they worked many hours on the minds of the young men they coach. It paid off in the field, now it seems to be paying off in the portal.
Updated NFL Interim Statements:
- January 17, 2022 – Georgia LB Channing Tindall declares for the 2022 NFL Draft
- January 17, 2022 – Georgia DB William Poole will return to Athens
- Jan. 17, 2022 – Georgia OL Justin Shaffer declares for NFL Draft
- Jan 17, 2022 – Georgia LB Nolan Smith will return to Athens
- January 16, 2022 – Georgia DB Tykee Smith will return to Athens
- January 16, 2022 – Georgia P Jake Camarda declares for the 2022 NFL Draft
- January 15, 2022 – Georgia DB Derion Kendrick declares for the 2022 NFL Draft
- Jan. 15, 2022 – Georgia DL Devonte Wyatt declares for 2022 NFL Draft
- January 14, 2022 – Georgia S Lewis Cine declares for the 2022 NFL Draft.
- January 14, 2022 — Georgia LB Nakobe Dean declares himself for the 2022 NFL Draft.
- January 14, 2022 — Georgia DL Travon Walker declares for the 2022 NFL Draft.
- January 14, 2022 – Georgia WR George Pickens declares for the 2022 NFL Draft
- January 14, 2022 — Georgia RB Zamir White declares for the 2022 NFL Draft.
- January 12, 2022 — Georgia RB James Cook declares for the 2022 NFL Draft.
TRANSFER PORTAL UPDATE
- January 15, 2022 – Jalen Kimber will be transferred to Florida
- January 15, 2022 – Justin Robinson will be transferred to Mississippi State
- January 14, 2022 – Lovasea Carroll has entered the NCAA transfer portal
- Jan. 13, 2022 – Latavious Brini Announces He Will Enter NCAA Transfer Portal
- Jan. 12, 2022 – Sources confirm Georgia DB Jalen Kimber is in NCAA transfer portal
- January 12, 2022 – Georgia WR Justin Robinson requested to enter the portal according to sources.
- Jan. 11, 2022 – Georgia WR Jaylen Johnson has entered NCAA transfer portal according to sources
- Jan. 11, 2022 – Sources Confirm DB, Ameer Speed Entered NCAA Transfer Portal
The conclusion of this season is now sparking conversation about draft-eligible players who could leave the program to pursue their dreams of becoming an NFL player. It also creates the question of which players could potentially return for another season as a Georgia Bulldog, and with the extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA due to COVID-19, things are going to get messy.
The following players listed below are those who have completed the required three years in college football and are eligible to enter the 2022 NFL Draft:
- Warren McClendon, OL, RS Sophomore
- George Pickens, WR, Junior *Declared for the NFL Draft
- Nolan Smith, LB, Junior * Will return to Athens for another season
- JT Daniels, QB, Junior
- Kenny McIntosh, AR, Junior
- Lewis Cine, S, Junior *Declared for the NFL Draft
- Nakobe Dean, LB, Junior *Declared for the NFL Draft
- Tykee Smith, DB, Junior *Back in Athens
- Travon Walker, DL, Junior *Declared for the NFL Draft
- Warren Ericcson, OL, Junior
- John Fitzpatrick, ET, Senior
- James Cook, RB, Senior *Declared for the NFL Draft
- Zamir White, RB, Senior *Declared for the NFL Draft
- Quay Walker, LB, Senior
- Kearis Jackson, WR, Senior
- Ameer Speed, DB, Senior *Entry into Transfer Portal
- Jaylen Johnson, WR, Senior * Entered Transfer Portal
- Derion Kendrick, DB, Senior *Declared for the NFL Draft
- Stetson Bennett, QB, Senior
- Christopher Smith, DB, senior * Returning to Georgia for 2022
- William Poole, DB, Senior *Will return to Athens for another season
- Robert Beal Jr, LB, Senior
- Latavious Brini, DB, Senior *Entry into Transfer Portal
- Channing Tindall, LB, Senior *Declared for the NFL Draft
- Justin Shaffer, OL, Senior *Declared for the NFL Draft
- Jamaree Salyer, OL, Senior *Declared for the NFL Draft
- Jake Carmada, P, Senior *Declared for the NFL Draft
- Julian Rochester, DL, senior
- Devonte Wyatt, DL, Senior *Declared for the NFL Draft
- Jordan Davis, DL, senior
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