5-Star Ben Davis Discusses Kirby Smart to Georgia, Confirms Notre Dame Visit

Tyler Donohue@@TDsTakeNational Recruiting AnalystDecember 2, 2015

Credit: 247Sports

Top-ranked linebacker recruit Ben Davis became accustomed to hearing from Kirby Smart during recent years. The longtime Alabama Crimson Tide defensive coordinator helped spearhead a recruitment that's remained top priority in Tuscaloosa throughout this 2016 cycle.

Davis, a 5-star prospect from Alabama, can expect to receive a revised sales pitch moving forward.

Smart will reportedly succeed Mark Richt as Georgia Bulldogs head coach, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Chip Towers. This development occurs days shy of Alabama's SEC Championship Game matchup against Florida, the final obstacle separating the Tide from another College Football Playoff appearance.

Davis, whose father is all-time Alabama tackles leader Wayne Davis, believes it's a big-time hire for Georgia.

"I think him being at Georgia is a really great thing because he is a great coach and will do a good job wherever he is at," the standout defender told Bleacher Report. "Me and Coach Smart have a great relationship."

Smart moves on to Georgia after a lengthy tenure at Alabama.
Smart moves on to Georgia after a lengthy tenure at Alabama.Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

The Bulldogs, parting ways with Richt after 15 seasons, could eventually receive a recruiting boost from this change. It's likely to occur on defense, where fellow 5-star talents Lyndell "Mack" Wilson, a linebacker, and Derrick Brown, a defensive tackle, should be top priorities for a new Georgia regime.

Wilson, another player targeted by Smart at Alabama and Davis' close friend, cancelled Dec. 4 commitment plans Tuesday. Brown, an Army All-American Player of the Year finalist, provided a positive initial reaction to the move.

"I think it is a great hire," Brown told Kipp Adams of 247Sports. "I got to sit down with him as the defensive coordinator and hang out, and he seems cool ... I feel better about Georgia now. I am going to go up there and hang out with them for my official and see how that goes."

Davis already used an official visit to Georgia, attending the team's Oct. 17 victory over Missouri. That experience drew rave reviews from the Gordo High School senior.

"The atmosphere was so turnt! I felt like suiting up and playing," Davis told Bleacher Report afterward.

Nearly two months later, sweeping changes are underway at Georgia. The results may require a second look before national signing day.

"Now that Coach Smart is there, I might find a way to visit again. I'm not sure when yet," Davis said.

Time is limited for the nation's No. 1 inside linebacker recruit, who also utilized an official visit to the LSU Tigers. He plans to spend January official visits with the Auburn Tigers and Alabama, teams he saw battle in the Iron Bowl.

His travel itinerary also now includes a trip to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Davis confirmed his fifth and final official visit will occur in South Bend, Indiana, during the weekend of Jan. 15 or Jan. 22.

He maintains things are still on track between him and Alabama despite the loss of Smart. Davis already dealt with the notable departures of Tide defensive assistants Lance Thompson to Auburn and Kevin Steele to LSU, both of whom left Alabama last offseason.

"Smart's decision doesn't change how I feel about Alabama," he said.

Of course, college football's coaching carousel has only just started to spin. Staffs across America are expected to undergo significant alterations.

Davis, watching the action intently, feels fortunate to still be weighing several options during late stages of this cycle.

"This is why I am glad I am waiting until signing day [Feb. 3] to make my decision," he said.

Quotes obtained firsthand by Bleacher Report National Recruiting Analyst Tyler Donohue unless otherwise noted. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Tyler via Twitter: @TDsTake.

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