Arian Smith might be ‘world class’, but other Bulldogs aren’t far behind

Updated 3 hours ago
ATHENS – Arian Smith still claims to be the fastest player on Georgia’s football team. However, there is only one way to verify it and that’s not about to happen.
“We’d have to line up to see who really is the fastest, but I feel like we’ve got some other guys who could probably compete with me now,” said Smith, a junior wide receiver from Bradley, Florida. “Like, CJ Smith, Anthony Evans, Ladd (McConkey), they’re all right there with me. So, there’s some competition out there. I can’t really say.”
The Bulldogs aren’t about to risk a pulled hamstring in the preseason so that the locker room full of speed demons can determine bragging rights. But Smith has documentation to back up his claims due to his efforts with the UGA track team.
Having run track his first two years at UGA, Smith’s 10.1-second 100-meter time ranks No. 4 on the school’s list of all-time fastest sprinters. His good buddy Matthew Boling holds the school record at 9.98.
Just for reference, there aren’t that many humans that can even flirt with a 10-second-flat 100. Turns out, though, that the Bulldogs have a few players that can, or at least could if they chose to pursue track full time.
- Anthony Evans III, a freshman wideout from Converse, Texas, has a documented 100-meter time of 10.27 seconds.
- CJ Smith, a redshirt freshman from Apopka, Florida, has recorded times 10.3 and 10.5, according to various track websites.
- Redshirt freshman cornerback Julian Humphrey once ran a 10.5 as a high school sprinter. Fellow cornerback Nyland Green logged a 10.62 at Newton County High.
- Dwight Phillips, a 2024 commitments from Pebblebrook High, also reportedly has been timed at 10.26 in the 100. According to, such times roughly translate into a 4.2-second 40-yard dash.
McConkey is the new addition to this annual discussion. The fourth-year junior out of North Murray High won the Region 6-AAA, 100-meter championship with a time of 11.23 in 2019. But by all accounts, he’s much faster now. And, after rolling up 1,666 all-purpose yards and scoring 15 TDs over the last three seasons for the Bulldogs, it’s evident that McConkey is fast enough.
“I’d like to think so; I can run a little bit,” McConkey said last week. “But some of those guys have different speed, like CJ Smith, Arian, Anthony Evans, freshman, Dom (Lovett). I’d love to see that race. It’d be a good one, for sure.”
Lovett, a first-year transfer from Missouri, ran a 10.45 100 while attending East St. Louis High in Belleville, Illinois.
Suffice it to say, Georgia could field a very competitive collegiate 4x100 team off its football roster. While the veracity of all the
Published times can’t be independently verified, there is enough reputable documentation to be sure that the Bulldogs possess a number of extremely fast players.
And Smith stands tallest among them. In addition to his personal record (PR) of 10.1 at UGA, he recorded a 10.18 100 meters in an NCAA East Regional meet and ran a leg for the Georgia’s 4x100 relay team that clocked a 38.54 and finished second in the NCAA.
Smith’s speed is most starkly apparent on the football field. He has averaged an incredible 20.3 yards per reception in his career. His four touchdowns on 12 career receptions have averaged 56.8 yards in length. Last year’s 76-yard score against Ohio State in the fourth quarter of the College Football Playoff semifinal tops that list.
That has led the 6-foot, 185-pound wideout to want to give football his full-time attention. He did not run track this past spring in order to concentrate on improving his inherent receiving skills.
Obviously, Smith can outrun almost any defensive back on a fly pattern as he did in the Peach Bowl. But he hopes to make improvements this season the more subtle areas of playing wideout in the highest level of college football.
Perhaps more importantly, Smith is hoping to remain healthy longer by being in “football shape,” as opposed to being a track athlete playing football. Smith said he hasn’t been able to complete an entire preseason camp completely healthy since he’s been at Georgia. That’s the goal, this year.
“Just, like, the load, just how much work I’m putting on my body,” Smith said of trying to play both sports the last two seasons. “I can go to practice now and feel healthier. The load is less.”
Smith’s already made strides as a receiver. Toward the end of last season, he was able to share time with McConkey in the slot position, where backfield motion and route adjustment are a significant part of the job description.
At the end of it all, Smith hopes to be known not just for his speed, but for being a great wide receiver.
“Definitely, yes,” Smith said when asked if his receiver skills get overlooked. “I can do anything any other receiver can do. But obviously, some attributes shine more than others.”
World-class speed is hard to ignore.

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