Georgia is overhauling its secondary via the transfer portal and also landed a talented transfer from another SEC school.
According to multiple reports — including Rivals' UGASports.com — the Bulldogs have gotten a commitment from former Clemson cornerback Derion Kendrick. He was an all-ACC selection in 2020 and put his name in the transfer portal in March.
Two weeks after Swinney said that Kendrick was leaving the team, the cornerback was arrested on misdemeanor drug and gun charges.
Not long after UGA Sports reported that Kendrick would be joining the team, the site also reported that former LSU transfer Arik Gilbert would be transferring to Georgia. Gilbert played tight end at LSU in 2020 and had 35 catches for 368 yards and two touchdowns in eight games at LSU.
Gilbert transfers back to home state
Gilbert announced he was transferring from LSU at the end of the 2020 season, though coaches worked to convince him to stay. Gilbert said that he wanted to transfer closer to his home state of Georgia.
Gilbert said that he would be transferring to Florida in January though that commitment was brief. He decommited from Florida a month later. Gilbert was a five-star recruit in the class of 2020 and was ranked as the No. 9 player in the country.
Tuesday was the first day that NCAA coaches could actively recruit on campus after a 15-month COVID-19-induced recruiting dead period.
Kendrick was one of 12 Clemson players who were either a first, second or third-team all-ACC selection as the Tigers made the College Football Playoff once again. Kendrick had an interception and six passes defensed in 12 games in 2020.
Swinney said in March that he would "always be pulling" for Kendrick wherever he continued his college football career. Though we're guessing that won't happen in Clemson's first game of the season. The Tigers and Bulldogs square off in the biggest game of Week 1 in 2021.
Kendrick's availability for Week 1 is more of a sure thing than Gilbert's. With the NCAA granting a one-time transfer exemption to all players, he'll be eligible to play immediately. Since Gilbert is transferring from another SEC school, he needs the SEC to vote to overturn its inter-conference transfer rule. Schools in the conference are set to vote sometime this spring and could remove the conference's rule that requires players to sit out a season without a waiver.
Third major addition for Georgia secondary
Georgia — the favorite to win the SEC East — lost a lot of defensive backs to the NFL after the 2020 season. Eric Stokes was picked in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft by the Green Bay Packers and Tyson Campbell went four picks later to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Safeties Richard LeCounte and Mark Webb were also drafted.
Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart clearly wanted to add players via the transfer portal and Kendrick is the third major transfer to join the team this offseason. West Virginia safety Tykee Smith joined the team after the 2020 season and so has Alabama's Brandon Turnage.
Smith played as a hybrid safety at West Virginia and had 61 tackles and eight tackles for loss in 2020.
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