“I just learned a lot about myself as a man,” Smith said. “I actually grew into a man while I was here. When you’re 18 you feel like you’re a man, but you don’t realize until about four or five years later that you were just about to become a man.”
Smith’s favorite bulldog moment, aside from winning the national championship last season, came when he intercepted a pass and ran it back 74 yards to score against Clemson in the 2021 season opener, leading Georgia to a win.
“It was just a special moment,” Smith said. “It was a very big game to help the team get a win that day. My mother and sister were there.”
His brother TJ Smith was intercepted earlier that same day while playing for Kansas State.
“I had to outdo my brother and get a touchdown,” Smith said jokingly.
Georgia’s Senior Day takes place on Saturday when it takes on rival Georgia Tech. Coach Kirby Smart said around 25 players will take part in the senior walk.
A win would cement this senior class as the most successful in Bulldog history. It would also secure Georgia’s second straight undefeated regular season and continue Smith’s streak of never losing to Tech.
“It’s definitely something we have in mind,” Smith said. “We definitely want to be able to pull off a win for our team and our seniors and honor our coaches.”
For his achievements during his senior campaign, Smith is a finalist for the Bronco Nagurski Award, presented each year to the nation’s top defenseman.
“It’s definitely an honor to just be mentioned along with the other players who are also competing for the award,” said Smith. “I put a lot of work into getting here.”
Seniors often have a significant impact on the underclass, and former Georgia security guard JR Reed was one of Smith’s greatest role models early in his Georgia career. Reed was also named a finalist for the Nagurski Prize in his 2019 senior season.
“I used to ask (my mentors), especially JR, a lot of questions,” Smith said. “JR is one of the smartest players I’ve played with to date and he just put so much into me. I just use that and apply it to my game today.”
As one of the more experienced players on the team, Smith was a strong influence. He has the fourth most tackles on the team this year (43) and one sack while he ranks for the team’s highest mark with two interceptions.
With 2022 not his last year of eligibility, Smith will have post-season decisions to make. He could enter the draft or return as a sixth grader.