The arrival of former Clemson cornerback Derion Kendrick completes the reload of the Georgia secondary following an offseason that saw a mass exodus of talent and experience. Losing starters Eric Stokes, Tyson Campbell, Richard LeCounte III and Mark Webb to the NFL draft hurt. To add more insult to injury, the transfer of Tyrique Stevenson, a major contributor at STAR, was the exclamation point to the fact Georgia needed experience as well as Major Burns who was a valuable depth piece to this roster.
The Dawgs were left with limited experience at corner and STAR. Ameer Speed, the rising senior, was the most experienced cornerback on the roster after three years of playing in a reserve role. At the same time, Latavious Brini was the de facto choice at STAR after losing the top contributors at the position in Stevenson and Webb. Brini made his first collegiate start in the Peach Bowl against Cincinnati and despite playing well, the depth and experience were a concern.
Tykee Smith was the first transfer-portal addition for the Bulldogs this offseason. The former honorable mention All-America committed to the Dawgs in April, reuniting with former West Virginia defensive backs coach Jahmile Addae.
Smith brings two years of experience playing the "spear" position at West Virginia, a similar position to the STAR at Georgia created from substituting an extra defensive back for a traditional linebacker. Smith arrived in Athens on Monday for voluntary workouts and is expected to play STAR for UGA in 2021.
Following the opening left by the transfer of safety Major Burns, Georgia welcomed former Alabama defensive back Brandon Turnage to Athens. What he may lack in experience, Turnage brings the knowledge of a system at Alabama very similar to the one run at Georgia.
The rising redshirt sophomore may not see much game time in 2021 following the addition of Derion Kendrick. But he will have the opportunity to make himself useful as a utility player, competing at STAR, corner, and safety.
The most recent addition of Kendrick signals the complete reloading of the secondary on paper. He brings 23 career starts at cornerback to a Georgia room with no collegiate starts prior to his arrival.
What once looked to be a point of concern just a few months ago now looks to be back in the strength column, considering the infusion of experience that Georgia gained through the transfer portal.
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