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

Braves spring training: Team photo day, pitching update, more
Braves spring training: Team photo day, pitching update, more

Players donned their uniforms and posed for the cameras Thursday during team photo day at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.  The Braves will play their first game of the spring Friday against the Mets. Here’s the complete spring schedule. Here’s more on the Braves: -- Starters announced for first spring games -- ...
Watch: I talk Hawks on Fox Sports Southeast
Watch: I talk Hawks on Fox Sports Southeast
Today I joined Mike Conti of 92.9 The Game and Fox Sports South writer Zach Dillard. (If you watch, please keep in mind there’s a reason I’m a writer and not a talker.) <div></div><br><div id="fb-root"></div><script>(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id))...
Atlanta United: Five road trips
Atlanta United: Five road trips

Beat writer Doug Roberson offers his suggestions for the best road trips for Atlanta United supporters this season: May 5 at Chicago: If you go to this game, don’t stay near Toyota Park, which is in Bridgeview, Ill. and a long way from Chicago. Stay in the city. Find a hotel/AirBNB/friend who lives near Michigan Avenue, which will put you within...
Atlanta United: Key games
Atlanta United: Key games

A look at five key games for Atlanta United this season: D.C. United, March 11, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium: It’s just the season’s second game but anyone who follows the Five Stripes knows that the team dropped nine points in three games last season to a D.C. United team that was among the worst in the league. It should be improved this season...
Hawks’ 10-year playoff streak likely coming to an end
Hawks’ 10-year playoff streak likely coming to an end

Barring a dramatic late-season turnaround, the Hawks will miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2006-07 season. The 10-year postseason run included the Zaza Pachulia-Kevin Garnett staredown in the first round of the 2008 playoffs and the Eastern Conference finals appearance against the Cavaliers in 2015. Here’s a look back at the Hawks&rsquo...
More Stories