ATHENS, Ga. – Maurice Smith made the most of his one season at Georgia. He is now trying to take his senior performance to the next level as a member of an NFL organization.
Smith took part in the Bulldogs Pro Day workout on Wednesday inside the school’s new indoor athletic facility. This was his chance to impress pro personnel after getting shut out of the NFL Scouting Combine and Senior Bowl.
The Bulldogs defensive back finished 2016 with 50 tackles, two forced fumbles and two interceptions. He played in all 13 games as their nickel cornerback.
Prior to Georgia, Smith made two starts in his three years at Alabama. While the playing time was great, Smith said that his time in Athens meant more than his performance on the field.
“It was a blessing,” Smith said. “I don’t even look at the playing time. I look at the fact that I was able to make some type of impact on the team and hopefully that will help them later on coming down the road to understand the expectations and things like that. Overall, it was a great move.”
Smith was given the opportunity to come to Georgia by his former Crimson Tide defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and defensive backs coach Mel Tucker. The Bulldogs head coach and defensive coordinator had to be patient in the process to get him to Athens because Tide coach Nick Saban was not willing to release him initially.
Smart had a prior relationship with Smith, which allowed it to grow in another program. The UGA coach said he tells NFL teams they would be getting a high-class player in their locker room if they acquire Smith.
“I think the proof will kind of be when the draft comes,” Smart said. “I think he got to play a lot, and played well. ‘Mo’ is a high character, tough kid. All these guys (scouts) ask how smart is he? 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 get drafted. That will depend on his speed, that will depend on a lot of other things.”
Smith is also trying to get his master’s degree in public health at Georgia within the two-year window stipulated by the SEC for his transfer from Alabama. If he does not, then the Bulldogs would be blocked from securing future graduate transfers.
Smart said they are working with the SEC on the matter if Smith does indeed make an NFL roster. While he continues to train for a shot at the next level, Smith is taking gerontology and biostatistics online.
The former Georgia cornerback is doing all of this while he trains with his father in Houston. He has a workout planned with the Atlanta Falcons before April’s draft.
Official 40-yard dash times were not released Wednesday, but Smith said he believes he ran in the 4.40 second range. He was hoping to run a tenth of a second faster.
Smith said he is not upset about his exit from Alabama to this day. He said he is thankful to Smart for getting him to Athens and to Saban for the opportunity he gave him in Tuscaloosa.
Smith said he now has his eyes on the future and whether or not football is a part of it. He said he’s willing to let the past go.
“Looking back at it, not having a place to stay, not having really a place to work out, having to do it all on my own, not having a trainer, and not going through spring? 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 definitely make a team.”
(You can follow Dan Mathews on Twitter @DanMathewsATL)
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