When a new coach arrives on campus their first goal is to establish their culture within the program. For fifteen years under Mark Richt, the number one trait he looked for in a player to fit in with his culture was character. Say what you will about Mark Richt’s record on the field but he produced a huge number of kids that became high character young men. With Kirby Smart now in Athens, the number one traits he looks for are toughness and competitiveness.
Smart stated exactly that when meeting with the media after Tuesday’s practice, “Number one trait for us is toughness and competitiveness. We rank kids on scales for competitiveness. If you are a true competitor and can’t stand losing, then you get the true grit competitor award.” Smart continued, “We talked about NFL teams, they quit evaluating kids necessarily on size, weight, and ability – they evaluate on competitiveness and it’s one of the main features that allows you to be successful”.
Take a look at the headlining member of UGA’s recruiting class to date in the Class of 2017, Richard Lecounte, III. Lecounte is known across the state as a tough and competitive individual. Look no further than the state playoffs in basketball when at only 5’11, Lecounte locked down 6’5 superstar M.J. Walker. Only one year prior, in the state playoff semifinals, Walker roasted Lecounte for 30 points. Lecounte was not going to let that happen again.
That is exactly what Coach Smart is looking for. Young men who “self-motivate and self-start”. If you come to Georgia with toughness and competitiveness, he is going to enhance it. If you don’t, he will build it.