Kirby Smart is Thankful Richt Signed This Player At UGA

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Kirby Smart is Thankful Richt Signed This Player At UGA

Isaiah McKenzie's game winning 20 yard TD reception (photo by Rob Saye)
Isaiah McKenzie’s game winning 20 yard TD reception
Former Bulldogs Head Coach Mark Richt signed this player that Kirby Smart says he is most thankful for today.

That player is wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie, who has been a most dynamic player for the team this season and is currently leading the team in punt returning yards, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
McKenzie is also tied for the third most receptions, second most receiving yards, and tied for the lead in receiving touchdowns in the SEC.
McKenzie was not a highly recruited player by the Georgia Bulldogs during Mark Richt’s regime, but a week or so before National Signing Day the Bulldogs offered McKenzie and he chose the Bulldogs without ever visiting.
This is what Smart had to say concerning the Bulldogs recruitment of McKenzie, during the Mark Richt Era:

We didn’t recruit Isaiah. First time I noticed him was when he was returning kicks here… I’ve heard through friends of mine that told me he was a late signee that Coach Richt stood on the table for and that a lot of guys on staff didn’t want to take him and that he stood up and said ‘We’re taking the guy and it’s my call. I think he’s a special player.

Coach Smart is very thankful that Richt decided to give McKenzie the scholarship offer and has to be even more pleased with how productive McKenzie has become in the offense.
Smart plans on continuing to use McKenzie in his expanded role and is not too worried about McKenzie physically but understands such a large amount of involvement can lead to wear and tear.
Smart mentions how competitive McKenzie is in practice in that he wants to return every punt in practice and also handles kick returns and handles his normal reps with the Bulldogs offense.
Smart goes on to call McKenzie a player, who just wants to play and says that McKenzie reminds him of former Alabama cornerback Javier Arenas because he had the same attitude.
Smart was asked about how McKenzie has become such a better receiving threat and he gave a very simple answer to this question.

Well, I mean he’s gotten better. He understands the offense. He’s a year older, a year bigger and tougher. He’s gotten open and the offense has catered to him. A lot of plays we design for him.

McKenzie has been an outstanding and very effective player for the Bulldogs this season and it will be interesting to see how that continues as the season progresses.

Kirby Smart Interview September 20, 2016

Uploaded by Bulldawg Illustrated on 2016-09-20.


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Michael Pope is a Journalism student in the Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia, with an emphasis in sports. He enjoys covering all sports, especially basketball, football, and baseball.