After a less-than-stellar month of May, Kirby Smart seems to have righted the ship as a crucial 2017 season in Athens approaches.
Georgia has finally begun to add some pieces to the 2018 class, now up to six commitments. And the Bulldogs are in excellent shape to land the country’s No. 1-rated running back by 247Sports in Zamir White, who is expected to announce his decision on June 27. 5-star quarterback Justin Fields backed off his pledge to Penn State, opening the door for the Bulldogs with him, too.
As for this year’s team, sophomore QB Jacob Eason didn’t exactly shine in his spring game performance, while freshman Jake Fromm flashed some serious potential. Freshman wide receiver J.J. Holloman and sophomore running back Elijah Holyfield also had strong performances. And though G-Day didn’t see the same fan turnout as in 2016 — 93K Day — more than 66,000 fans did show up to support the Bulldogs.
With RBs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel back, Georgia could have a potent offense with seven returning starters. Defensively, Georgia returns one of the most experienced units in the country while also welcoming some highly rated recruits, including 5-star safety Richard LeCounte. 10 starters from last year’s team are back, with safety Maurice Smith the only departure.
Georgia opens its 2017 season against Appalachian State before traveling to Notre Dame in Week 2. But the Bulldogs won’t want to overlook the Mountaineers, who won 10 games last season and nearly upset Tennessee to open the season.
Smart reportedly earned more than $3.7 million last season, his first as a head coach, after spending nearly a decade as Nick Saban’s defensive coordinator at Alabama.
In the previous edition of the SEC Country approval ratings poll, Smart came in at 77.7 percent, good for ninth place.
Vote on Kirby Smart’s approval rating
The SEC Country approval rating poll is designed to give an indication of fan happiness over a period of time.
Our formula is based on the percentage of respondents who select each answer. We multiply that percentage by the following factors: 1 (strongly approve), 0.67 (approve), 0.33 (disapprove) and 0.0 (strongly disapprove). In other words, if 50 percent of respondents select “strongly approve” and 50 percent select “approve,” the formula would be (50 x 1) + (50 x 0.67) = 83.5 percent approval rating.