Georgia Football: Tykee Smith talks about his decision to become a Bulldog.
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Tykee Smith says Georgia was perfect fit

“I’m just going to come in, put it the work and get the respect from my teammates and help them do anything I can do to help the team win.”
— Tykee Smith
Tykee Smith said he will play star and high safety for the Bulldogs.
Tykee Smith said he will play star and high safety for the Bulldogs. (Associated Press)

West Virginia safety Tykee Smith joked Sunday night that former position coach Jahmile Addae was not even the first Georgia assistant to contact him when he put his name in the NCAA Transfer Portal several weeks ago.

In a telephone interview with UGASports, Smith said that while a reunion with Addae was one of the reasons he decided to choose Georgia, it was Bulldog defensive coordinator Dan Lanning who made the first move.

“He (Addae) had a huge impact, but he wasn’t even the first one to reach out to me from the staff. Coach Lanning was the first one, and then Coach Kirby (Smart),” Smith said. “We’ve been in touch a lot.”

A third-team All-American as a sophomore in 2020 per the Associated Press, Smith said the Bulldogs made it clear from the start how much they wanted him to be a part of the team.

“I just felt that was the best fit for me. When I was on Zooms, they were all about how they could use me and what they could do with me, you feel me?” Smith said. “It was just what I was looking for.”

According to Smith, the Bulldogs plan on using him at either Star or high safety.

As a sophomore, Smith made 61 tackles last fall for the Mountaineers, including eight tackles for loss. he also had five pass breakups and two interceptions. He will have two years of eligibility remaining.

“He (Smart) said he wanted me there and there was a need,” Smith said. “He said I’ve got experience, and that was something I can really help with.”

Smith-who spoke with fellow Philadelphia native D’Andre Swift before making his final decision-hopes to bring just as much leadership to the young secondary as he can.

“I’m just going to try to keep them where they’re going, you feel me?” he said. “I’m just going to come in, put in the work, and get the respect from my teammates and help them do anything I can do to help the team win.”

Smith will finish classes this semester at West Virginia before reporting to Athens in time for summer sessions at UGA.

The 5-foot-11, 195-pound defender is no stranger to many players on the current Bulldog team.

Smith took part in The Opening in 2018, along with a long list of current Bulldogs, including Georgia Pickens, Carson Beck, Dominick Blaylock, Jermaine Burton, Nakobe Dean, Kenny McIntosh, and Nolan Smith.

The goal, he said, is simple. Smith wants to help the Bulldogs win a national championship.

“No doubt,” he said. “That’s the goal. That’s what we’re chasing.”