More freshman impact: Georgia’s Smith or FSU’s Reid?

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?

82 comments Add your comment

Big Dawg 'N VA

September 8th, 2009
8:07 am

Both are phenomenal players but I would have to say that Reid will be the better prospect simply because the Noles aren’t afraid to use him. If the Dawgs can get Smith more direct snaps from center or maybe develop more packages with him and A.J. then we can see the full potential/effect of Smith. Reid was dominant last night, all over the field!!! Come on Dawgs, unleash the offense!!!!!

Paddy

September 8th, 2009
8:27 am

Reid sure did not look like a frosh. That kid can flat out play. I am sure Smith will show us fans what he can do very soon. Glad they both stayed in the South so we all could enjoy seeing them play.

EW

September 8th, 2009
8:34 am

Reid looked like a leader on the sidelines already. I would say he looked more impressive in his opener but I like the added versatility we have with Smith.

Hunting Dawg

September 8th, 2009
8:34 am

Reid, hands down based on the 1st game of the season.

Dawg Fud

September 8th, 2009
8:35 am

Reid will likely have more freedom to make plays because FSU’s coordinators and position coaches are far superior to UGA’s. Hate to admit that as a UGA alumnus but it is the truth. Bobo v. Jimbo Fisher and Martinez v. Mickey Andrews…no comparison.

Georgia has great head coaching and recruiting but its position coaches and coordinators are average at best.

If I was top-rated defensive player, I would love to play for either Mickey Andrews or Charlie Strong. I like their fire and that is what it takes to play defense.

GO DAWGS!

RedKneckerson

September 8th, 2009
8:35 am

Brown at Ut had a pretty big impact (110 yards) Teague also had 86 yards receiving. Oku had about 50 yards rushing and 2 Td’s. Those were just a few of the 11 freshamen that saw extensive play against a decent high school team Sat.

Cameron

September 8th, 2009
8:43 am

Who will be the better college player remains to be seen. But, Greg Reid made the bigger impact in week one.

Hay Maker

September 8th, 2009
8:43 am

Who knows ? What we do know is that we have to play with the players we have and not worry about what should have could have had. We have South Carolina coming in this week . If you are a Dog fan you better get your head around this game. Ga better find a running back quick becuse what I saw last week we don’t have one I know King will be back this week but what has he done but get hurt. I don’t think king is the answer I think a new offensive and deffensive cor is the answer. I know this sounds drastic but these are drastic times Ga is in trouble my friends.

RedKneckerson

September 8th, 2009
8:46 am

Wilddawg,Wildcat,Wildhog,Wildgator….whatever the heck you choose to call it is about the most absurd play any team can have unless they have a 230 lb. QB taking the snap. For these teams that line up a 190 lber for a direct snap and watch him run the ball between the tackles is silly. The next play that actually catches the defense out of position for such a play will be the first. What a waste of a play and a waste of time. And all the teams that run it do the same thing, but the fans think it is some special play that only their beloved coaching staff invented.Just plain silly.

Chris

September 8th, 2009
8:48 am

Smith looks to have great potential but he should not have been returning kickoffs. He is still a true freshman and will make freshman mistakes. You said he had 28 return yards on kickoffs. Well, he returned one of those kickoffs from 7 yards deep in the endzone, and only made it to the 8 yard line. A classic rookie mistake that gaves us terrible field position when we desperately needed a good drive.

This isn’t Smith’s fault as our coaches who take no blame would probably point out. It is POOR coaching. A true freshman should not be in the game returning kicks when we need quality decisions made by a seasoned kick returner…kneel on the ball and take it at the 20. Poor, poor coaching.

LJB

September 8th, 2009
8:53 am

Reid is a special play maker. He has a swagger like no other freshman in college football. U cant really say who will be b etter at this point, but Reid just jumped out at you last night. I mean you basically heard his name all night.

BigTimeTECHFan

September 8th, 2009
8:55 am

Both look like they will be impact players when it all over, but Reid looked like the best player on the field last night, true FR in his 1st game, it was amazing. He will be a great one.

patiot-dawg

September 8th, 2009
8:57 am

CMR and CBB will never use him properly so its Reid all the way. Smith has Percy Harvin potential. Myer put together plays that isolated him on 2 or 3 defenders, Ga puts together plays that isolates Smiyh on 7 defenders. All you have to do is look at the OK St game and see what will happen. Cox should have been pulled and Gray given a chance. Grey is taller (how many passes were knocked down), has a stronger arm (Can Cox even throw it to AJ down field?) and is very mobile. Think of all the things Gray can do that would challenge defenses. This Joe T all over again at UGA. We will stick with Cox until the season is over which could be this Saturday.We need to ask a very simple question: How is it that a school that has a top 10 and many top 5 recruiting years every year can be so underachieving?

I forgot to tell him

September 8th, 2009
8:57 am

Smith caught a kickoff return 8 yards deep while backing up and brought it out. A good coach makes sure that doesn’t happen especially w a Freshman.

gatordowneast

September 8th, 2009
9:02 am

Reid year one. UGA and UF would have had difficulty getting him admitted. At FSU, he not only was admitted, but will have people taking tests for him, altering class attendance records and providing cover for other indescretions. He will be an impact player as a freshman and most likely will transfer to a Mississippi JC before finishing his career at jackson st.

john

September 8th, 2009
9:05 am

this really fricken matters……………boring….How about write about one of the Ga QB’s that might have a little zip on his passes. Forgive me for ever getting upset about Stafford’s touch. Right now we have more “touch” than Carter has pills…………blah, blah……we need to get after it this week!

Big Dawg 'N VA

September 8th, 2009
9:21 am

With a little “home cooking” we should beat Spurrier this weekend. But I would be leary of the wide receiver screens that “he” always throws at us and that we seem to have no answer for everytime we play him!! He knows our weaknesses and scouts us better than anyone we have faced. It’s personal between him and us and CMR better realize that!!

Dshep

September 8th, 2009
9:32 am

REID DID!!!!!!!!!!

RedKneckerson

September 8th, 2009
9:33 am

Early line has the Cocks as a 5 1/2 point favprite. That is pretty much saying 8 1/2 since it is common for the home team to get at least 3 for playing at home.

Gerald

September 8th, 2009
9:34 am

Chip:

Seriously, who cares? Both FSU and UGA got great athletes, the schools don’t play each other, and both schools have serious problems to work out if they are going to reach their goals this year. As a matter of fact, FSU’s problems are not as bad as UGA’s, because it looks like FSU can finally score points and they play in a much weaker conference.

Why not talk about kids currently being recruited i.e. the performances of kids in Georgia high school football last Friday and Saturday? Did the pathetic showing of Georgia and the lackluster showing of Georgia Tech change those team’s recruiting plans? It certainly looks like UGA needs bigger DEs, left tackle has to be a need now, and maybe UGA needs to see what is out there at QB. Georgia Tech, meanwhile needs to just get guys who don’t have the Chan Gailey mentality (or let’s face it, the George O’Leary mentality) and who are willing to fight … guys who actually want to go to Tech regardless of their number of stars instead of guys that are going there because UGA doesn’t want them or they figure it is a clear path for early playing time. That’s one thing that Bobby Ross did … he identified kids who actually liked Tech as an institution and a football program and were willing to play hard. Gailey and O’Leary never did that because they never wanted to be at Tech themselves. Gailey made it clear when Tech hired him that he wanted an SEC or NFL job, and he only came because Tech begged him. O’Leary meanwhile, his dream job was always either Notre Dame or Syracuse. But Bobby Ross wanted to be here … he came to Tech from an already successful program that he built at Maryland. If Johnson is going to outdo O’Leary and Gailey, he is going to have to avoid the opportunists SEC bridesmaids and start recruiting kids who want to go to Tech.

Frank Lane

September 8th, 2009
9:43 am

Reid was the better of the two in Game 1. Wasn’t he also the blitzer who hit the Miami quarterback in the arm and cause the interception for the touchdown late in the game?

Phil

September 8th, 2009
9:43 am

No contest, Reid. I live in South Georgia and saw a lot of Reid when he was at Lowndes high. I could not believe Richt did not go full speed ahead to keep this guy in state. Everybody was talking about Branden Smith and I said it would be hard to imagine that Smith could be better than Reid.

I think this weekend proved me out. How many bonehead plays did Smith have? Running those kickoffs out of the end zone when he should have downed them.

I wanted to kick the TV when jumped on his own guy when they were trying to down that punt at the 2 yard line.

Richt was content with signing Smith I think. He should have been camped out in Valdosta and doing everything in his power to get Reid.

Sanford Drive

September 8th, 2009
9:56 am

Reid looked awesome. Of course, if he had come to UGA, Richt would’ve made him into an average player, so good for him for picking FSU.

JP

September 8th, 2009
10:01 am

Reid by a lot. I want to see him on offense just not when they play my beloved gators!

Wildcat00

September 8th, 2009
10:06 am

I have to admit knowing Greg, he played like he was taught growing up in Valdosta, and playing for Lowndes. I hope that he stays out of trouble, because he has the potential to become an All-American. Brandon Smith will become an awesome player the later part of the season, when Coach Richt takes over calling the plays. It is time to change up the plans of the coordinators.

Chip Towers

September 8th, 2009
10:09 am

**redneckerson:** Touching on other impact freshmen later this morning, Bryce Brown being one of the them. . . .

**john:** Sorry but not my place to critique the UGA QBs. . . .

**gerald:** I plan to get around to all that. Will be blogging all day every day all week. Thanks for your insights.

Dawg Fud

September 8th, 2009
10:13 am

RedKneckerson – wow, 5 1/2 point underdog? that is not comforting.

i just don’t get the sense that this UGA team is very good. i don’t say that to be a negative person, it’s just what my gut tells me…and i hate it.

regardless, i am going to back the Bulldogs and root my tail off for them this Saturday. the chips will fall where they may.

GO DAWGS!

Johnny DangerDawg

September 8th, 2009
10:13 am

A freshman (like Smith) can learn a few running plays much more easily/quickly than he can learn wide receiver routes. I like that UGA found a way to get him in the OSU game. But I really don’t see how UGA can put Smith on offense in future games until he does finally learn WR routes. Every time he lines up at running back or QB, the defense *knows* Smith is running the ball, and they’ll be all over him.

Yo

September 8th, 2009
10:17 am

Agree with you JP. If I was FSU I would find a way
to get him the ball in the open field on offense.
He has the ability to be the next Percy Harvin except
he can definitely play CB too.

Smith is a little faster, but Reid (while fast) has
a jack rabbit ability that is uncanny. He can be
going full speed immediately. He can change directions
on a dime. What will seperate Reid from all others
is his desire to be great. That and he is willing to
put the work behind that desire. Every time he gets
the ball in his hands he has one thing in mind…this
is the time to take it to the house….and in his mind
I think he thinks this is the time he will. Also, Reid
is surprisingly strong when he has the ball in his hands.

Shaneneeee Faneneeeeeee

September 8th, 2009
10:19 am

Neither of them. Both their teams lost. That is what matters at the end of the day.

KD

September 8th, 2009
10:33 am

Need to use him more on the offensive side of the ball, keep Prince returning punts, I think I remember 3 different guys returning punts on Sat. Looks like we will probably be playing in the OUTHOUSE BOWL this year instead of the Outback. I was wondering what type of punishment did Perris from OSU receive, I guess he had to write 1000 sentences saying he will not do that again.

KD

September 8th, 2009
10:37 am

One more thing– A 3 MAN RUSH ??????? That’s not going to get in th SEC

plowboy

September 8th, 2009
10:39 am

it seems like ga recruits only athletes who are maybe big and fast and strong but played no competition in high school , why would you recruit someone from let`s say irwin county high school , never ever played a real high school team

JB

September 8th, 2009
11:02 am

play book in Athens old, covered in mold. damn the idea of taking what you’ve got and work a game plan around it. our coach’s have the ” we live by the airport, what noise” syndrome. We must be the easiest team in the world to prep for. Yes, when you have a Stafford and Knowshon, it works. Guess what , they left and we’re trying to run this offense with NO ARM and NO imagination. I hope King has something to show, if not, no running or passing game= 6-7 loses.

senoiadawgs

September 8th, 2009
11:06 am

Wow Reid was awesome last night!!!! Smith could have been awesome as well as you can see the potential but my goodness did any coach ever talk to him about taking a knee in the endzone. Goodness, UGA Richt get the darn act together or take over the play calling. Get a real special team coordinator.

The Sat. loss to OSU is all on the coaches except for Willie. Willie did a nice job containing those playmakers for OSU. We really can’t complain with scoring drives of 60, 25, 35 and 5 yards. Minus some boneheaded ref calls at least the score may have only been 19-10

Reality Check

September 8th, 2009
11:09 am

Phil How many bone headed plays did Smith? He had 1. You act like Smith made a ton of mistakes and doesn’t have an upside. Smith is an exceptional player. Is Reid better? Physical talent – yes but does he come with baggage, we will have to see. I hope GR stays out of trouble and does great things at Florida State but anyone would have to agree there is some risk with him. UGA recruited him very hard at the end and he chose FSU. bottom line.

john

September 8th, 2009
11:13 am

I understand about the QB situation ….it just appears that with the flow of the game we should have attempted to change the pace. It was almost a statement (considering Joe was not 100%) that we have nothing behind him.

MoDawg

September 8th, 2009
11:15 am

Easy one…Reid, by far. The kid is a “baller”.

Give Branden Smith a little time, and he will show his skills.

john

September 8th, 2009
11:16 am

I’m sure the #1 thing that both Smith and Reid know today is that losing does not feel very good. It’s even worse when you know you have superior talent across the board.

jw

September 8th, 2009
11:21 am

UGA needs to get more creative, and surprise people for A CHANGE, granted it needs to WORK, but we are so BORING. If Richt can not get some creativity out of these postiion coaches and we just do the “same ole, same ole”, Every team in the conference will have our lunch and our number ONCE AGAIN. Where is our FIRE and our SPARK. Richt talked about having some FUN this year, I am not seeing it yet. If you do not use these talented kids they will go elsewhere, they want to have fun too! I do not think Reid is better than Brandon, there was just very little D on the field last night. Almost every kickoff had a huge run back for both teams! Neither team showed much defense last night, remember this was the ACC not SEC.

Billy Bob

September 8th, 2009
11:26 am

Reid, he’s definitely a playmaker. Smith may get their but Reid’s there.

FSU needs to find some receivers who can catch the football.

SuperB

September 8th, 2009
11:50 am

Smith and Reid– like comparing a Porsche and a Mustang GT: both sleek, both fast!

#2 BAMA FAN

September 8th, 2009
12:11 pm

Reid looked great last night and wish the crimson tide has him. Smith will probably be the better player in the future because he bigger and faster and Georgia needs to find him a spot to start
in one position and let him learn and than let him play in special packages with the offense.

Kingster

September 8th, 2009
12:12 pm

I am from Valdosta (went to Valdosta High) but that Reid kid is extremely good, please keep your eyes on him, there is a Thorpe award down the road for him, to bad UGA.

Glenn

September 8th, 2009
12:13 pm

Reid had a bigger impact of course. If Smith had played more and should have by all means it may have been a different story. You will see what the Dawgs are made of this week. They are a better team than Ok. St. but lost. The Dawgs should beat S. Carolina by 21 points. They may not even win the game. Somebody needs to call a good game this week and the players need to make the plays. Thats the difference in 0-2 or 1-1. AND THATS THE WAY IT IS

Wildcat, are you drunk?

September 8th, 2009
12:21 pm

Fourth quarter, seven minutes left, still time to get back in it. 2nd and 4, we ask a flu ridden qb to throw a deep ball…incomplete. 3rd and 4, we ask a flu ridden qb ro throw a deep ball….incomplete. Game over. That series had Richt’s play calling from his first two seasons here written all over it.
That said, I’m still a Dawg, will always be a Dawg, and hope Richt is always a Dawg. But. we
ve gotta run the ball more. Even without Trenton, our OL is our strength. Use it!!!

Kingster, listen up.

September 8th, 2009
12:23 pm

We know you are from Valdosta, so is Reid. It’s not ‘to bad’ for UGA, it’s ‘too bad’ for UGA. Note the spelling. That’s why Reid is not at Georgia. He couldn’t get in ACADEMICALLY.

Reality Check, time for a recount

September 8th, 2009
12:30 pm

Smith had three, not one, boneheaded plays. Two kickoffs he returned from way too deep, understandable since he is a 4.3 guy and used to having his way on the field….in High School. The third bonehead is the one that I just didn’t understand and can’t make an excuse for. Prince Miller standing on the 2 yard line waiting to catch a punt that had hit on the two and bounced straight up. Standing there for a couple of seconds, and Smith comes running down like a bird dog out of control and jumps up to down the ball, colliding with Miller, and causing the ball to bounce into the endzone for the touchback. That’s not a freshman mistake, that’s just a dumb mistake. His exuberance is fine, he will be a good player for us, I am sure, but he has to use his head up here in the SEC. Saying that, the first runback from 8 yards deep was most certainly his fault. The second was most certainly the fault of Jon Fabris, who should’ve made it his mission to make sure Smith knew why he had done wrong and that he wouldn’t do it again. Starting to wish Fabris had taken the OK. job years ago.

Flo-Ri-Duh!

September 8th, 2009
12:40 pm

Reid is a Deion Sanders clone – fast, smart and elusive and will be an all-american corner if he can stay out of trouble. Smith has great “potential” but is not as well coached and is a year away from being a starter.

Reggie

September 8th, 2009
12:45 pm

Mark Richt has taught our team to play “not to lose”, instead of “playing to win”. Branden Smith is a great athlete who need to be taught how to play to win. I hate to say this, but if branden had chose the gay-tors, it would be lights out….. UGA coaching staff, WAKE-UP! The time is know, we have the players… Teach the kids “how to win” and not “not to lose”.