Malaki Starks Shares how Kirby Smart has Helped his Development

Oct 28, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Georgia Bulldogs defensive back Malaki Starks (24)
Oct 28, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Georgia Bulldogs defensive back Malaki Starks (24) / Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

All-American safety Malaki Starks is likely playing his final season for the Dawgs and he's going to soak up all the coaching he can from Kirby Smart.

Kirby Smart represents the past, present, and future of Georgia football. Smart played his college ball for the Bulldogs in the 90s, earning All-SEC honors during his time as a player in Athens. Now, as the head coach, he's won two national championships and is guiding the program into a new era of college football.

For all of that though, much like his mentor Nick Saban, Smart is at his center a defensive backs coach. The former safety is relentless when it comes to his DBs and its shown on the field as Georgia has produced a multitude of NFL players during his time as head coach.

Hall of Fame corner Champ Bailey, a former Bulldog, and teammate of Kirby Smart, recently sat down for an interview with current All-American Georgia safety Malaki Starks on The Players Lounge. They discussed what it's like playing for a former All-SEC safety.

"You know, one thing that's unique about Kirby is he played the game. Right? And, and was great at it," said Bailey. "He's actually one of my former teammates, I learned a lot from him. You know, from his perspective, how has that helped you? Because his perspective is a lot different from the average coach."

"Him playing that position, and being so passionate about it, you know, he just stays on it," replied Starks. "He just stays on it. He comes in a meeting room. And, you know, it's very interactive. He doesn't just let you sit there, he wants to talk. And I think him having that experience, it allows him to see things through a different point of view. So like, he's not just a random coach telling you what to do. He's lived it, he's experienced it. You know, he's bringing the actual knowledge to the game that you want to learn. And for him to do it at a high level, you just want to learn from him. You just want to soak up all that knowledge that he has been able to take it in and and put it back on the field."

Georgia will be relying on Starks in a big way as they replace three starters in the secondary. Having him as an on-field coach combined with new co-defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson and Smart on the sideline, there isn't a secondary in America better equipped to pick up right where they left off.

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Christian Goeckel


Christian Goeckel is a Staff Writer for Dawgs Daily on Christian has covered College Football for nearly a decade, writing for multiple sites and hosting radio shows across Southern Georgia and South Carolina.