5-star commit Nolan Smith shares some candid thoughts at the The Opening Atlanta regional
Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. The play sheet in this edition calls for a walk through about a few interesting comments from 5-star UGA commit Nolan Smith II at the Nike’s The Opening Atlanta regional on Sunday.
BUFORD, Ga. — What if we said UGA has recruited a Nick Chubb-level athlete to play linebacker in its 2019 class? Well, we can say that when it comes to 5-star outside linebacker pledge Nolan Smith II.
It is not #analysis or #conjecture or anything like that. Smith put up a 141.18 score during combine testing at Nike’s The Opening Atlanta on Sunday. That is a fact.
Let’s add the following filters here: Chubb is a running back. Smith is the nation’s No. 3 weakside defensive end prospect for 2018 who has been committed to UGA since January 2017. Smith also put together that performance in 37 degrees on Sunday morning at Buford High School.
— Nolan Smith II (@SmithNoland2) March 25, 2018
With all due respect to Marietta sophomore receiver Jermaine Burton, it was Smith’s day at the Nike camp. He finished the day with a triple crown of sorts.
- Position group MVP
- Sparq testing MVP (of course)
- Invitation to The Opening Finals in July in Texas
But you know what? That best section of that Sparq score would be his short shuttle. Smith’s score ties for the 18th best in the short shuttle among competitors at The Opening regionals so far in 2018.
He’s the only athlete on that list who weighs more than 200 pounds. Much less 234. Smith’s 4.51 in the 40 also ranks No. 8 so far in 2018.
The previous high for The Opening 2018 testing season had been 128.13.
“I feel like if the weather was right and it wasn’t 37 degrees and raining this morning when the first thing we did was the 40 I could have done a lot better,” he said. “But you know God blessed me to get a 4.51 so I’m just happy with that.”
He added another thought on how he viewed the day.
“I was hoping I could go 4.4 [in the 40] but everything doesn’t go as planned. But that doesn’t mean you stop working,” he said.
But things really got interesting when Smith took the time to chat with the media.
That’s when things went below the surface of a 4.51 laser time in the 40, the 39.6-inch vertical leap or the powerball toss of 44.5 feet.
Nolan Smith says ‘we’ a whole lot regarding UGA
Smith was at UGA for the team practice Saturday, the team’s first padded practice of the spring.
“We looked good,” Smith said.
Fans tend to fret over Smith and the validity of that commitment to UGA. Why did he use that specific pronoun for his answer?
The first thing he said was pure Smith. He’s always pretty fun to go back-and-forth within an interview setting.
“I’m not worried about the ‘we’ part,” Smith said. “I’m from the state of Georgia. So when people think of Georgia when I go across the world they think of the Dawgs. So I’m part of that. When people say ‘we’ as in Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech is a part of Georgia. I just want to see people in Georgia do well. I’m from Georgia. I don’t wish shame on anybody but still, I’m from the state. I want us to do well.”
Clemson took a big run at him last summer and continues to do so. Alabama is also a school he will bring up in a positive manner from time to time.
What keeps him committed to Georgia?
“I don’t know,” he said. “That’s a great question. Committed to the G.”
He said he hasn’t mapped out any spring visits yet. Smith said he takes one day at a time and lets his coach map out the visit schedule.
But he readily answered yes when asked if he was going to be at G-Day on April 21.
“Of course,” Smith said. “The new billboard is going to be up. The new [Jumbotron] is going to be up and fun and the new tunnel and the recruiting area for us. It is going to be nice.
“All we needed was for someone to help out with the program. We got an indoor facility. The stadium is looking different. Georgia is going to be totally different from when Mark Richt was there. Not to say that he did a bad job. Mark Richt is a great guy, but we got somebody who knows what he is doing.”
Nolan Smith on new OLBs coach Dan Lanning
Smith might already be capable of writing a glowing performance evaluation to Kirby Smart about new outside linebackers coach Dan Lanning.
“He’s the new guy, but he is coming in and he’s a great recruiter,” Smith said. “He’s a great recruiter to come. Everyone talks about Dell McGee being a great recruiter and the Recruiter of Year. Well just watch Coach Lanning. With the production he is going to have on the field, it is going to be nice.”
He was impressed by the new UGA defense.
“Our whole defense is working,” he said. “We are losing a lot of people. They’ve got expectations to live up to. Being at IMG, I know how they feel. Big shoes to fill every year. The defense we had this year is not like the defense we had last year, but it is going to be nice.”
Which schools are still stalking Smith?
“Oklahoma, Bama and Clemson,” he said. “That’s about it.”
He will “most definitely” take all five of his official visits. Will UGA be in there? Does he need to see the program even after his G-Day visit?
“Most definitely,” Smith said. “I have got to take an official to home. That’s it. [You] can’t not do that.”
He’s set a goal for a 3.7 grade-point average to finish out his time at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
Nolan Smith has a priority UGA target in mind for 2019
Smith is still being recruited heavily by the Bulldogs. He said he hears from both Lanning and UGA inside linebackers coach Glenn Schumann almost every day.
“Sometimes Coach Schumann texts me before my girlfriend,” Smith said. “He texts me at like 6 o’clock in the morning waking up. Or coach McGee. As soon as I roll over, there [will] be like texts from Coach McGee and Coach [Schumann]. That means a lot to me. It is early in the morning and they are sending out texts and stuff like that. It shows they really care.”
Who does he want to play with? Smith wasn’t coy about that topic.
“I need DBs,” Smith said. “I need a back end. Andrew Booth. I need you. Andrew Booth. I need you. You’re a DB. You’re an amazing DB. I need DBs. Like that. We’ve already got the wide receivers. We’ve already got the running backs and we’ve already got D-Linemen. Inside linebackers. Outside linebackers.
“We need DBs.”
Andrew Booth plays at Archer High in Lawrenceville, Ga. He rates as the nation’s No. 5 cornerback prospect for 2019 on the 247Sports composite. The 6-foot-1 Booth also ranks as the nation’s No. 47 overall prospect.
What is his pitch to Booth to join him at UGA?
“He can help in a huge way,” Smith said. “Everyone has seen the national championship. In Cover-2 you have to jam the receiver. You can’t be talking about having help over the top. I feel like if we had someone like a nice DB who could sit there and make a play or make a play on a ball that’s the difference in winning a national championship and being a participant in the National Championship Game.”
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