Originally written on The Lady Sportswriter  |  Last updated 11/17/14
With Branden Boykin gone, the heir to the "return man's throne" should fall to Branden Smith. After all, he certainly has the credentials to pick up where Boykin left off, and while I'm not predicting multiple 100-yard returns or game-changing plays from the rising senior, I do feel that he'll be entering 2012 with a sense of urgency and purpose that will rival or usurp that of any other player returning

"It's not all about me anymore - it's about my daughter. I was just thinking about what's best for her and not what's best for me, and right now that's getting my degree and sticking it out one more year," Smith said. "I really think and know that I can increase my draft status from here. Right now, everybody doesn't really know my name, know who I am. This is the year everybody will know who Branden Smith is." (Anthony Dasher, UGASports.com, 1/13/12)

I'm not sure what type of information Smith received from the NFL Advisory Committee but, had he made the jump, and been offered a contract—even as an undrafted free agent (or UFA)—he stood to make at least $390,000, as a rookie, next season; more than that if you consider a possible signing bonu.

That said, Smith likely saw the benefit of returning and having more of an impact at his position and, possibly, taking advantage of an opportunity to showcase his versatility.

Smith was limited last season due to a lingering concussion, but his freshman season showed that he has the ability to be a threat both on offense and special teams. He didn't see as many opportunities for that this year with Boykin on the field (and probably as a precautionary measure on the coaching staff's part as well due to depth chart issues), but you can bet he'll be in their ears to get more of a chance in 2012—particularly in light of what Boykin was able to do in his senior season.


Boykin, who was likely set to be a late fourth or even fifth-round selection in the draft last year, raised his stock significantly this season by showing off improved coverage skills and closing out the season strong in the Outback Bowl. His stand-out performances certainly caught the attention of NFL scouts and he now could go as early as the second round.


You can bet Smith considered how he might do something similar in 2012, especially given his potential as a return specialist.


Even more, Georgia will have plenty of momentum heading into next season thanks to a defense that returns nine starters, and you can bet that with all the potential NFL prospects on their roster, people will be watching closely. There is no better time than now for Smith to break out and establish himself as a truely valuable defensive back—especially playing alongside the likes of Sanders Commings, Bacarri Rambo, and Shawn Williams.

He's certainly saying that he's motivated to do just that but, as with anything, seeing is believing.
Related articles
  • Georgia Football: Brandon Boykin Wins 2011 Paul Hornung Award (theladysportswriter.blogspot.com)
  • Georgia's Boykin wins award for most versatile (espn.go.com)
  • Georgia Football: 2012 Mantra is Depth, Depth, and More Depth (theladysportswriter.blogspot.com)
Read more sports commentary at: http://theladysportswriter.blogspot.com/


GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Ronda Rousey on having kids: 'I'm an ovarian goldmine'

Pedro Martinez: Rose should be allowed in Hall of Fame

Pablo Sandoval 'cut things off at the root' with Giants

Scott Boras taking shots at Cubs' history over Kris Bryant

Kingdome debt finally paid off 15 years after demolition

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

49ers waive Jonathan Martin

Former MLBer Curt Ford assaulted, told to ‘go back to Ferguson’

Russell Westbrook was very ‘confused’ by media after loss

NCAA 'concerned' over Indiana's 'religious freedom' bill

Report: James frustrated with Love’s inability to fit in

Shane Victorino rips radio hosts for twisting Hamels trade talk

Bucs admit they’ve been getting calls about Mike Glennon

The last Expo standing

NHL ships nets which have room for cameras inside posts

Toronto Raptors limping into the playoffs

Best picks ever at every spot in first round of NFL Draft

Alonzo Mourning confirms “Who wants to sex Mutombo?”

CC Sabathia attempting to get healthier by getting … fatter?

You can bid on Andrew McCutchen’s recently cut locks

Is Chuck Pagano receiving the Jim Harbaugh treatment?

Wideouts wearing out their welcome

Dean Smith willed $200 to each of his former players

10 best coaches who have never been to the Final Four

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The last Expo standing

Five under-the-radar AL MVP candidates

Michigan sent recruit's GF a letter

MLB teams that could disappoint

25 years ago, the best Sweet 16 of all time was pure madness

The 2015 bad quarterback carousel

17 facts to know before the Sweet 16

Agent: Sam was horrible at veteran combine

Keeping judo ‘pure’ in Europe means keeping MMA out

The Sweet 16 should be seen as success

On the Browns, Hard Knocks, questions and narratives

Sweet 16 West Region preview

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.