Kirby Smart bans transfers to Miami: 'I wanted to set the precedent'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Sunday March 20, 2016

Kirby Smart has changed Georgia’s stance on transfers, and that includes no one following Mark Richt and Thomas Brown to Miami (FL). But has that actually been an issue?

Smart spent the opening remarks of his Saturday press conference clarifying some things. Running back A.J. Turman was granted his release, but was restricted from Miami and SEC schools. Turman wasn’t planning on either scenario, so it’s not an issue there, but Smart wanted to make precedent clear. Richt didn’t place transfer restrictions when he was at UGA.

One of the reasons I put Miami on there was I wanted to set the precedent for the future, that kids would not be able to go to Miami right away,” Smart said. “It’s very important you (media) understand that. That’s pretty much standard operating procedure. When a coach leaves one place, a kid can’t go there with the coach. That’s important to me that people understand that.

“There is a process in place in the NCAA where any kid can appeal a transfer restriction. A.J. did not appeal anything. There’s some misinformation out there. He didn’t have to appeal anything, because we granted him a release to where he wanted to go. A.J. is happy with the situation.”

When asked about coaches moving schools without penalty (other than buyout) while players can't, Smart pointed to the NCAA appeals process and said many kids can win those appeals. 

But while there may not be an issue with restriction in this situation, Smart isn’t happy about Turman’s departure, saying Turman didn’t give the new staff a fair shot.

Georgia is down to just two healthy running backs in spring. Smart hasn’t hidden his frustration with the team’s depth.

“It’s tough, guys. We’ve got a problem there. We’ve got a deficiency there,” Smart said. “We’ve got to hope Nick (Chubb) gets healthy. We might have to look at moving someone to that position. We’ve talked about it as a staff, who could move there or who could double-teach positions. We signed one guy there coming in. … In the press conference the other day, when you talked about the depth problem, after three practices, that’s a bigger problem than anything else.”

So Smart is selling playing time in recruiting. But it’s playing time for several backs. There aren’t many every-down backs in football anymore. Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry at Alabama is becoming an exception, and Smart knows that doesn’t necessarily hurt their NFL chances.

“I always tell the Terrell Davis story,” Smart said. “When I was here, Terrell didn’t get a lot of carries, but he played a long time in the NFL. It pays off, sometimes, when you’ve got a little left in your engine when you get there. These kids, in recruiting, they look into that stuff. We’ve got a need there. We’ve got a commitment that we can sell, from Coach Pittman and Coach Chaney at Arkansas that we can run the ball.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to