Georgia’s Maurice Smith is finished with college football, but not football – or college


ATHENS – Maurice Smith has discovered the beauty of online classes this semester. When you’re training for the NFL draft, but much depends on you staying in school and passing your classes, the ability to take classes on your laptop is a wonderful thing.

Especially when those two classes are biostatistics and gerontology. At a graduate level. All while trying to further your football career.

“It was a bit of a razzle-dazzle trying to do both,” Smith said.

But he must do it, or there will be implications for the Georgia program he was a part of for only a few months. When Smith secured his graduate transfer from Alabama last summer, the SEC set down stipulations: Smith must stay enrolled towards his master’s degree in Public Health and graduate within two years, or Georgia would be precluded from requesting further graduate transfer waivers.

The headache ended up being worth it for Smith and Georgia, as the nickel-back started every game and was named one of the captains after the season. Now he’s pursuing the next step: The NFL.

That’s becoming another uphill climb, as he wasn’t invited to the NFL combine, which is a bad sign for draft status. But any disappointment at still having to prove himself, not having any assurances of being drafted, are tempered by thinking back to where he was last year. He and Alabama were fighting it out over his transfer, and he felt like he didn’t have a home.

“Looking back on it, not having a place to stay, not really having a place to work out, having to do it all on my own, not having a trainer, going through spring but not getting a (summer) workout. I still think I’m blessed,” Smith said. “Whether I get a shot at getting drafted or free agency I’m going to still work hard and make a team.”

Smith said the biggest emphasis from scouts was on his times, and then setting up one-on-one interviews and workouts. He said he ran around a 4.4 in the 40, which he wished he’d run faster, but that scouts thought he would run a 4.5. He scheduled a workout with the Falcons, who had a small army of coaches and scouts at Georgia’s pro day.

The upside for Smith is his versatility. He was Georgia’s nickel back, but also played safety and cornerback at Alabama. His intelligence and intangibles are also an attraction, as Georgia head coach Kirby Smart will attest to scouts, having coached him his entire career at both schools.

“Mo’s a high-character, tough kid. All these guys that come and ask about, that’s all they talk about, is how smart is he,” Smart said, then pivoting to the football part: “Can he play multiple positions. He got to prove all those things. He played on special teams. Ultimately I don’t know how he’ll be drafted, that’ll depend on his speed, that’ll depend on lots of things.”

Smith has spent the time since Georgia’s season ended training mostly in his hometown of Houston, then did some training in Athens. If he ends up making the NFL, Smart said there will be a waiver process in place so Smith doesn’t necessarily have to take classes this fall.

“The commissioner is aware of that,” Smart said. “He understands that’s the kid’s dream, that’s what he wants to do. So he’ll take that into consideration.”

Biostatistics, by the way, is about as difficult as it sounds.

“It’s a lot of numbers,” Smith said, smiling, “And I’m not a numbers guy, honestly.”

 

The post Georgia’s Maurice Smith is finished with college football, but not football – or college appeared first on DawgNation.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Yankees’ rookie Aaron Judge cracks tooth during celebration
Yankees’ rookie Aaron Judge cracks tooth during celebration

After Brett Gardner cracked a game-winning home run for the New York Yankees on Thursday night, rookie slugger Aaron Judge cracked a tooth. >> Read more trending news Gardner’s home run in the 11th inning gave the Yankees a 6-5 victory against the Tampa Bay Rays. As Gardner neared home plate, he took off his helmet and rolled it toward...
LEADOFF: Roof closes as field turns green at Mercedes-Benz Stadium 
LEADOFF: Roof closes as field turns green at Mercedes-Benz Stadium 

Here’s the latest on Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which hosts its first event in 29 days: The roof is closed. The floor is turning green.  Up top, the retractable roof has been slowly moved from the open position to the closed position over the past couple of days -- “construction move 4,” it was called. And about 340 feet below,...
Fans want Falcons to ‘show Freeman the money’
Fans want Falcons to ‘show Freeman the money’

Falcons running back Devonta Freeman breaks away from Saints defenders for a 75-yard touchdown run to take a 14-3 lead during the first quarter Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. (ccompton@ajc.com/ccompton@ajc.com) FLOWERY BRANCH — In a poll, we asked the fans how much should the Falcons pay running back Devonta...
5 things to know about the Falcons on Friday 
5 things to know about the Falcons on Friday 

Here are five thing to know about the Falcons on Friday: 1. Open practice. Today’s practice is open to the public. The gates open at 8:30 a.m. The practice starts at 9:30 a.m. The practice was over at 11:15 a.m. on Thursday.  2. Garland opened with first team. In the all in important right guard battle, Ben Garland worked with the first-team...
In the NFL, it’s quarterback controversy season
In the NFL, it’s quarterback controversy season

The New England Patriots, the Atlanta Falcons, the Dallas Cowboys and most other successful NFL teams don’t spend much time worrying about who their starting quarterback is going to be. They just pencil in Brady, Ryan or Prescott and hope he doesn’t get hurt. But for some of the more marginal teams getting set for training camp, the quarterback...
More Stories