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ATHENS – If you were to write a book about the 2021 or 2022 Georgia Bulldogs, you couldn’t write much without mentioning defenseman Christopher Smith.
You could even start with Smith, whose gargantuan pick-six against Clemson in the 2021 season opener kickstarted Georgia’s national championship run and paved the way for college football’s all-time best defense.
One of Georgia’s bottom-ranked signers in the top recruit class of 2018, Smith has emerged as a leader of the country’s No. 1 defense this season. He’s played game after game for the past two seasons and has already made his mark on Georgia Bulldog history. This was a key INT against Alabama in the second half of last year’s national championship game. With help from Smith’s INT, the Bulldogs would defeat Alabama 33-18 and win the national championship.
As if to forget…
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The Hapeville Charter Atlanta native didn’t get a starting role until later in the 2020 season but has been a dependable defender in the high school ever since. There was no transfer portal nonsense with Christopher Smith. The hard-working defense attorney has always loved the University of Georgia and made that clear to Dawg Post when he was a four-star recruit in high school.
In his final season, Smith has emerged as a leader and one of the best defenders in the nation’s best defense. When asked about his safety as a veteran, head coach Kirby Smart had nothing but praise for the seasoned veteran.
“His tenacity and leadership skills are outstanding,” Smart told reporters. “He’s always been a competitor, a great kid, comes from a great family, has a great high school background, played corner and played anything we wanted. If anything, he’s grown as a leader. He probably had some anger management moments where he got really upset on the field and he’s matured so much. I can still remember him trying to fight guys in training because one day I let him go because of other guys academic problems and he was willing to kill someone. He’s just matured so much since he’s been here and he’s such a great leader. So thankful he came back.”
This is classic Christopher Smith. The guy is serious. He’s never been one to have a relaxed attitude towards football. He’s someone who works hard, learns from his mistakes and does his best to get better and better every time he steps onto the field. You can see it in his game, and his game has been excellent for the last two seasons.
Now he is a finalist for the Bronco Nagurski Award, an honor given to the best player in college football. So far this season, Smith has had 47 tackles (4th on team), four TFLs, one QB sack, two interceptions, five pass breakups and one fumble recovery.
“It’s definitely an honor to be mentioned just with the other players who are also eligible for the award,” Smith told reporters. “I’ve put a lot of work into getting here and I know I have to keep doing the same groundwork. I got here by the grace of God with the help of my teammates and coaches. You put a lot into me. It’s definitely an honor.”
From a forgotten signer in the 2018 class to one of the best overall defensemen in college football. This is one hell of a story.