April 29, 2010

Smith says freshmen have one thing in common

Garrison Smith said there's one common denominator that binds him with the rest of his teammates who make up Georgia's freshman class.

"Everybody's got some serious love for Georgia," Smith said Thursday in a telephone interview with UGASports. "Everybody loves Georgia football, the coaches, everything about it. There's just a good camaraderie. We might not be ranked among the top classes, but those are just rankings. This is a good group. I think we have a chance to be great."

Rivals.com ranked Georgia's class 15th nationally.

"Everybody's entitled to their own opinion, but we can't worry about rankings," Smith said. "There are lots of players who weren't ranked that go on to the NFL, so we're taking it all in stride right now. We're taking it in stride and just ready to get started."

A four-star performer, Smith was one of Georgia's top recruits when he signed with the Bulldogs last February.

Now, with just one month remaining before he arrives on campus with the rest of his future classmates, Smith can't wait to get his college career underway.

"This is the start of a wonderful journey," Smith said. "This is all part of my development into a man; being away from home for the first time and remembering what your family taught you and to do it when nobody's looking. I'm ready to rock and roll."

Although nothing has been guaranteed, Smith at least figures to be in the running for some early playing time.

At 265 pounds, if Smith had a say, he'd like to give outside linebacker a try.

However, according to assistant coach Rodney Garner, Smith's home will be on the defensive line.

"It's all good," Smith said. "Wherever the coaches want me to play is fine. I'm just ready to help out."

Numerous other schools tried to get Smith to sign with their team.

The former Douglass High standout, who tallied 80 tackles with 10 sacks his senior year, had offers from over 30 schools before signing with the Bulldogs.

"It was real fun," Smith said of the recruiting process. "I know there are lots of guys who get all worried about it, but to me it was a blessing. It was a blessing to be wanted by all those schools, but Georgia is where I wanted to be."

Smith laughed that he heard all kinds of sales pitches from recruiters along the way.

"There was this one school who told me they wanted all their defensive ends to be 260, that they wouldn't take anybody who was 275 or 280," Smith said. "But after I accepted and was 270, they changed their mind. They said 'Oh no, we want our want our defensive ends to be 280 or 290.'"

Smith liked what he saw from his future teammates during Georgia's recent G-Day Game.

He intently watched the play of the Bulldogs' defensive line and linebackers, keeping a particular close eye on linebacker Akeem Dent, who like Smith hails from Douglass High.

"I've always looked up to guys like Akeem and (Rod) Battle (who also attended Douglass)," Smith said. 'All the time I was doing my research about what schools I wanted to attend they had nothing but good things to say about it here. To me, that made it a no-brainer for me to join my big brothers."

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