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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Kirby Smart opines on being proactive in transfer portal scouting

Everyone seems to have a slightly different approach to the transfer portal these days, and Kirby Smart and Georgia might be on the opposite end of the spectrum as Deion Sanders and Colorado.

While Sanders rebuilt his roster via the transfer portal with a complete overhaul, Smart didn’t even use the transfer portal prior to a 2022 season in which his team won a national title.

But the odds that Sanders’ success are going to encourage others to adopt a similar approach are pretty high. In fact, Smart said he has already seen the extreme begin to showcase itself in an unexpected way.

“Everybody’s got a new staff that goes and evaluates every player,” Smart said. “I’ve been told there’s teams out there on the sidelines of our games scouting our players in warmups because that’s their job for their team, is to know something about that kid if he goes in.”

With hundreds of FBS and FCS programs, that leaves a hefty scouting load to potentially just a handful of people. It’s certainly extreme to be sending in-person scouts to games.

Whether that’s happening or not, Smart is adamant about his approach to the transfer portal.

He’s not hiring an army of people to comb through footage of every Division I player just so that Georgia is ready on the off chance someone hits the transfer portal.

“We’re not that advanced. I’m not really that interested in it,” Smart said. “Obviously there’s never a kid that goes in the portal we would not consider unless we didn’t like him coming out or had some reason not to recruit him coming out. But I’m not going to go in advance and do that, because you might scout 1,000 kids and 10 of those 1,000 end up going in. I could take that 10 minutes and go watch them when they go in.”

That’s a straightforward enough reason to limit the amount of time and resources spent on the transfer portal.

But there’s another reason behind that methodology from Smart. He doesn’t want to waste effort when those human resources could be better spent on other things, like breaking down opponents’ film, watching for tendencies, self-scouting, you name it.

“To be honest with you, from what I’ve seen when they go in they all know where they’re going,” Smart said of the transfer portal. “There’s not one kid when he told me he was leaving he didn’t already have a plan of where he was going.”

And if they already know where they’re going… you guessed it, not a whole lot of reason to waste human capital.

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