Sunday night, Georgia fans went to bed with a pleasant surprise from the transfer portal when the Dawgs received the commitment of former West Virginia defensive back Tykee Smith.
A third-team All-America choice last year, Smith was one of the best players on the top passing defense in college football. Pro Football Focus ranked him as the 24th best player in the country, coming in one spot ahead of LSU’s Elias Ricks. The addition of former Mountaineers defensive backs coach Jahmile Addae this offseason makes the move to Georgia an easier transition for both Georgia and Smith.
Smith is a much-welcomed addition to a Georgia secondary that was in dire need of depth. The Dawgs lost six defensive backs this year, five to the draft and one to transfer. Georgia isn’t without talent in the defensive backfield, but Lewis Cine is the only returning player that started the 2020 season at the top of the depth chart. Georgia has the talent to develop a corner, but depth at safety and the ever-important STAR position are still question marks for the Dawgs. The addition of Smith neatly fills those holes. Smith can be an impact player for the Dawgs as soon as he steps on campus, but what is Georgia getting in Smith? We will be breaking down the film live tonight, but here is what we see from our first look.
Tykee Smith will most likely play STAR at Georgia
Defensive backs are asked to do a lot in Georgia’s scheme, but the STAR position is undoubtedly asked to do the most. Playing STAR at Georgia means you have to set the edge, cover receivers, rush the quarterback and be physical in the run game. Fortunately for Georgia, Smith comes in having already played a similar position for West Virginia. The SPEAR is the Mountaineers' version of the STAR, and while the two aren’t identical they are asked to do many of the same things.
Smith’s instincts are apparent
Physical ability is necessary to compete in the SEC, but instincts are what separates elite athletes from great football players. Smith has both. Watching the tape, it is clear that he can diagnose what an opposing offense is doing and then react accordingly. This ability allowed him to record 61 tackles and two interceptions last year for the Mountaineers.
Smith is a great box defender
Playing in the box is a critical aspect of playing the STAR position, and is what makes the STAR position different from having a third corner on the field. At 5-foot-10 and 195 pounds, Smith doesn’t fit the mold for a typical Georgia defensive back, but it does allow him to play physical in the run and short passing games. Smith holds up physically, but his ability to evade blocks allows him to be even more effective.
We can’t be certain what the future holds for Smith, but Georgia fans are quite familiar with a transfer defense back dominating in the STAR position.
You May Also Like
Join the community
Follow Brooks Austin on Twitter: @BrooksAustinSI
Follow Kyle Funderburk on Twitter: @DKFunderburk
You can follow us for future coverage by clicking "Follow" on the top right-hand corner of the page. Also, be sure to like us on Facebook @BulldogMaven & follow us on Twitter at @BulldogsSI.