It has been seven months since National Signing Day and the debate over Branden Smith and Greg Reid rages on.
Week One of the college football season did nothing but confirm what everybody suspected when the state’s two two cornerbacks went separate ways last February — they’re both special players.
Georgia’s Smith, from Atlanta’s Booker T. Washington High, was generally regarded as the top defensive back in the state, a consensus 5-star recruit. Reid was the consummate late bloomer, coming on his senior season at Lowndes to earn the AJC’s Player of the Year honors and blowing up two All-Star Games. In the end he was rated a four-star by Scout.com but actually passed Smith as Rivals’ No. 1 player in the state and ended up with a five-star rating. Reid signed with Florida State.
Both athletes’ wares were on display this past weekend as the college football season got under way. And both were impressive.
Georgia utilized Smith, known for his blazing speed (4.28 40) all over the field and on both sides of the ball. The 5-11, 175-pound defensive back lined up at tailback and quarterback on offense, played cornerback on defense and returned kickoffs. He finished with 42 all-purpose yards: 11 yards on three rushes, three on one reception and 28 yards on two returns. He did not record any stats on defense. While he didn’t break any big plays, the potential to do so was blatantly obvious.
Reid left nothing to doubt on ESPN Monday night. The 5-9, 185-pounder intercepted a pass, recorded three tackles as the Seminoles’ nickelback and had three kickoff returns for 100 yards, with a long of 51, in the Seminoles’ loss to Miami. He gave up one of the Hurricanes’ early TDs but responded with a third-quarter pickand had a huge solo tackle late in the game.
Imagine if these two dynamic players had decided to play together? They almost did. At one point in the recruiting process Reid was leaning toward signing with the Bulldogs and our Michael Carvell wondered aloud what it might be like if Georgia got them both. Alas, the Bulldogs appeared to have finished in third for Reid as he chose FSU over Alabama and Georgia on the eve of National Signing Day.
So let’s hear it from you. Based on this very limited body of work, which prospect is going to make the better college player?