Georgia head coach Kirby Smart had a specific type of cornerback in mind on National Signing Day.
Smart had already landed commitments from four-star corners William Poole and Tray Bishop, both of whom were listed at 6-feet or taller. Then Smart and the Bulldogs added three more corners in Eric Stokes, Ameer Speed and Latavious Brini on Wednesday.
The three corners add similar height and speed to the mix, which is a different dynamic to Georgia's cornerback group. And Smart explained why he wanted to take this approach to recruiting this position.
“Length, man. We had to get length,” Smart said. “Any time you can get a 10.4 (second), 10.5 (second) 100-meter (dash) guy, plus 6-foot-plus, 6-2, 6-3 in some cases, good physicality, good strength -- I think bulk is a big part of being a good DB nowadays. You’re tackling Nick Chubb and Sony Michel pretty much every week in the SEC. So when you’ve got 180 pound guys, it’s tough if you don’t hit that 200-pound mark. We think we attacked that area. We think we were very successful at getting some longer guys.
“Will they be ready to play next year? I sure hope so. That’s what they’re hoping too. They want to come in here and compete. We needed to get longer and bigger to be able to match up some guys. We hope those guys are able to do it, the three guys you mentioned.”
The shortest of the corners is Poole at 6-feet, which can be considered on the taller side when it comes to corners. The rest of the group almost mimics what the NFL's Seattle Seahawks' approach with the kind of height and length they implemented at cornerback.
Stokes is 6-1, Bishop is 6-3, Speed is 6-3 and Brini is 6-3. Of Georgia's returning contributors at cornerback, none are listed above 5-11.
Smart believes today's cornerback, especially in the SEC, needs to possess more size because of the SEC's tendency to land bigger-body receivers. Of course, the challenge there is to also ensure the bigger corner can still move with agility and quickness.
“I do think longer DBs are the trend,” Smart said. “Foot quickness becomes a problem with length. Can he move quick enough to cover quick, fast, receivers. So many of the wide receivers we faced, and we struggled with, have length. When you play against length, you want a guy with length. Uniquely, we were able to get some guys that we thought had good length to help in this class. I think that’s a trend across the country. I really like DBs that can play multiple positions. They can be corners, they can be nickels, they can move inside, they can play safety. A lot of the good players I’ve been around, that’s what they can do. That’s a big part of it.”