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Paul Finebaum Thinks Kirby Smart Took A Shot At Dabo Swinney

An extreme closeup of ESPN college football analyst Paul Finebaum from the Cotton Bowl in Texas in 2019.

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 31: TV/radio personality Paul Finebaum of the SEC Network speaks on air before the Goodyear Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium on December 31, 2015 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

ESPN college football analyst Paul Finebaum believes Georgia head coach Kirby Smart took a shot at Clemson's Dabo Swinney during the NFL Draft.

The SEC dominated the NFL Draft once again over the weekend. The league had 63 total picks, including 15 first-round selections.

Smart appeared on The Paul Finebaum Show after the first round on Thursday. He appeared to call out another head coach.

“It’s a great sales pitch but what gets me, Paul, you probably – well, let me rephrase that – you probably would believe it, but you wouldn’t believe what some coaches outside our conference tell kids,” Smart said to Finebaum. “They’ll sell to a kid it’s better to not go to the SEC because it’s too tough. It’s too competitive, it’s too physical, you might get beat up, you might get banged up you might not have as good a career there that you go somewhere else.

“Well, that’s not the way the NFL GMs are looking at it, and that’s not the way the NFL coaches are looking at it. They want to take kids that want to compete at the highest level they want to go play in the big-time matchups, and that’s what the kids want. They want to go play in the biggest games in the biggest places. And that’s what they aspire to do. So, for a coach and maybe another conference the sale that, ‘Hey, it might be a little easier path to come over here and go this way.’ No, it just speaks volumes, you want kids to be able to see through that.”

Finebaum thinks Smart was calling out one head coach in particular: Dabo Swinney.

“This is an opinion, let me make that clear, but yes – it was a shot at Dabo Swinney,” Finebaum said on Birmingham-based 94.5 FM radio show “The Roundtable” . “And as [Kirby Smart] was saying it, I thought it was pretty obvious that it was because he was talking about recruiting and I’d have to go look at the transcript, but it left no doubt, he was talking about Dabo Swinney because of the proximity in the recruiting battles.

“If there’s no one else that could be in consideration because Ohio State would not be doing that, based on their recruiting prowess. And I really, you know, if you go outside the SEC, who else really matters? Clemson is the only threat to Georgia outside the SEC, for most players. So, I don’t think he really left much to the imagination and it was toward the end of the interview and he had to go do another interview, otherwise, I may have tried to, you know, be a pesky reporter but that’s who I thought he was talking about. Absolutely.”

Clemson and Georgia have had a bunch of notable recruiting battles over the years. It wouldn't be surprising if Smart and Swinney took some not-so-subtle shots at each other.