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A 5-star reason that helps UGA retain Nolan Smith's commitment isn't in the class of 2019. He's already signed with UGA.

A 5-star reason that keeps 5-star Nolan Smith committed to UGA

Jeff Sentell

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 today calls for a quick check-in on another reason why Georgia still seems to be the school for 5-star pledge Nolan Smith. 

Nolan Smith committed to Georgia in January 2017. He de-committed (for about 60 faux Twitter minutes) on April Fool’s Day.

That ruse provides a good time to share another reason why Smith’s commitment should stick. It goes beyond his love for his home-state school, the recruits he is working on to join him in Athens, his fondness for the UGA coaches and his willingness to use “we” a lot in reference to that specific football program.

We’re not trying to hit all three lines of a DawgNation recruiting storyline trifecta, but there’s one here that occurs quite naturally:

  • 5-star prospect’s continued pledge despite heavy interest from Alabama, Clemson and Oklahoma
  • An elite talent in the discussion for the nation’s top overall player honor
  • His desire to play with 5-star freshman quarterback Justin Fields.

This one hits every one of those talking points.

Nolan Smith wants to play with a dual-threat QB

This harkens back to a conversation from last fall where Smith had his fingers crossed that a 5-star dual-threat QB would commit to — and eventually sign with — the Bulldogs.

Well, that was Fields. Or a guy that looks and plays a whole lot like him.

Nolan Smith-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting-UGA football
Nolan Smith (far right) really wanted to play in college with a dual-threat QB the likes of Justin Fields. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Smith recently discussed what Fields choosing UGA ultimately meant to the strength of Smith’s own commitment to the program.

“Having a dual-threat quarterback is a great key,” Smith said. “From every aspect of the game. By that, he can throw and run. Being a defensive player me having to practice against Justin Fields, that’s fine. But me having to play against Justin Fields if he went to Florida it would have been a big problem.”

Problem solved.

“Now that he’s on our side, I don’t have to play against him,” Smith said. “I only have to practice against him and he’s doing to do nothing but just make me better.”

Was he wavering last summer? Or last fall? Did Fields making the move to UGA help stabilize that? Along with the rest of the nation’s top class for 2018?

“Kinda,” Smith said. “By that, a lot of people said why did he go there with Jake Fromm [already on the roster]? We’re just showing people that we are not afraid to work and we are from Georgia. We are going to stay home. No matter who is the guy in front of us we are going to work and try to outwork him every day.”

Another reason why Ryan Hilinski placed UGA in his final 7

When Ryan Hilinski placed Georgia in his final 7 on April Fool’s Day, we had the chance to collect a few reasons why for that immediate report.

The nation’s No. 8 pro-style QB prospect (247Sports composite) shared those with DawgNation. 

But South Carolina also made that final 7. When Hilinski spoke with SEC Country colleague Hale McGranahan about his final options, he shared this interesting nugget with him about UGA.

Ryan Hilinski-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting-class of 2019-quarterback
Ryan Hilinski has earned his fourth star on the 247Sports Composite rankings. (Ryan Hilinski/Special)

Looking for a tease? Well, the fact that Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart sent him a text on Easter Sunday should suffice.

Why did UGA make his final group?

“I think just talking to those coaches, how real they are and how honest they keep it with me,” Hilinski told McGranahan. “Because they’ve talked to me about their situation and they know what it’s like for a quarterback in high school.”

He continues to mention the vibe he has with new Georgia quarterbacks coach James Coley.

“I think Coach Coley just knows me and knows how to work with me, knows my moods and stuff like that and knows how I work,” Hilinski said. “I think that’s awesome.”

Smart also chimed in.

“I got a text from coach Kirby Smart [Sunday] morning, which is just awesome,” he said. “You never get a text from a coach like that, on Easter Sunday, saying Happy Easter, glad we made your top 7, which is pretty awesome to get.”

Hilinski plans to visit UGA on April 20-21. That G-Day trip should loom large in whether the Bulldogs make his final top 3 and also ultimately earn an official visit.

“I think going to G-Day, we’ll have a better feel after that, because I went there for a little bit of the day, got an offer and we really didn’t get much of a feel for the city, not just a crazy feel overall. Going to G-Day and spending a couple of days out there will be good, to get a better feel for it.”

Miss any Intel? The DawgNation recruiting archive will get you up to speed just as fast as former Georgia All-American LB Roquan Smith found the ball after the snap.