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 chat with former NFL great Chuck Smith about the inherent potential for 5-star UGA commit Nolan Smith.
Chuck Smith has been called the Phil Jackson of pass rush gurus and The Sack Whisperer for his work with football’s past, present and future.
The former Tennessee Vol has a client list which includes a who’s who of waylaying quarterbacks — from Aaron Donald to Von Miller to everyone in between. Blacksmiths work with iron and steel. Wordsmiths toss around words. A “Chucksmith” could refer to the guy who trains the next generation of quarterback hammers.
He’s already working with 5-star Georgia commitment Nolan Smith in the class of 2019.
Chuck Smith, who logged nine seasons in the NFL, sees a vast amount of potential in the nation’s No. 5 overall prospect in the 247Sports composite rankings.
“The first thing is he’s confident,” Chuck said of Nolan. “That’s No. 1 in pass rush. You have got to believe in what you do. He’s tall. He’s got long arms and has range. Then he’s got great bend.”
Nolan Smith is also hyper-athletic. His recent testing numbers at The Opening Atlanta regional are almost illogical. His otherworldly Sparq 141.18 rating belongs next to the name of a 5-star running back or wide receiver. Not an outside linebacker.
They don’t make many guys like Nolan Smith. He clocked a 4.51-second laser time in the 40-yard dash and almost posted a vertical jump of 40 inches. That’s at 234 pounds.
“He has something that only certain guys have that I call special,” Chuck Smith said. “He has the ability to change direction in a 5-by-6-yard area very fast. [Nolan] brings that to the table and he can pivot, he can plant and he can explode. When you have that kind of movement, you can become a very skilled player.”
The evolution of Nolan Smith into a terror off the edge
Chuck Smith works with other young players, too. He also works elite camps such as The Opening Atlanta regional. He’s been able to watch Nolan Smith for several years.
“I think as a freshman everyone saw him and thought he was an athlete,” Chuck Smith said. “Freak. Little freak and all. But I think over the last year he’s learned that he has to be a technician. Especially after spending his last year at IMG Academy.”
Nolan Smith tested well at The Opening Orlando regional last February and became one of those rare juniors named to the national finals out in Oregon. Smith was one of the top defensive linemen on that big stage, too.
The Atlanta regional didn’t have the talent at offensive tackle that other regionals usually do. Take the Charlotte regional last spring. Smith had his way all morning with those tackles.
“Last year I was trying to fight to go to The Opening [Finals] and stuff like that,” Nolan Smith said. “It was like my junior year and stuff like that. Now, I think I am really just going to open the toolbox and the tool shed. I’ve got a lot more than just the speed rush with the swipe and then the long arm. It is a lot of things that I can open up with.”
His coach at IMG Academy got mad at him because he never used his spin move in the game. The coach felt Smith had one of the nicest ones on the team. He feels comfortable enough to use that now.
The IMG Academy standout lost just one single rep, but that was because he started working on his inside spin move.
“He’s progressed with his hand placement from just being that athlete with great effort,” Chuck Smith said. “He has great moves. I think he has the one thing you really can’t coach up in the way he can bend and come with speed off the edge.
“I think he’s figured out who he is but he’s also added some power to his game. He’ll run you over now. Those are some great commodities when you are looking at colleges and the guys they need to sign to win.”
How Nolan Smith can and will get better
Chuck Smith has a prescription for how Nolan Smith can turn all that tantalizing potential into SEC production.
“He has to work on his hands when he is hitting the corner,” Chuck Smith said. “With what he saw here today, he could outrun guys. At the end of the day, he can outrun guys at this level. But eventually, you have to bring your shoulder down and rip up. So I think what he has got to work on is really having a counter out of that.”
He’s teaching Nolan Smith a new move. Or a new set of moves.
“What I’m teaching him in the spin,” Chuck Smith said. “So we’ve been working on it. He’s going to come and get after it in the gym with me this summer. He’s going to speed like Lorenzo Carter and spinning like Von Miller. And he’s going to be speed like Arden Key and spinning like Davin Bellamy. So I’m going to teach him the same way that I teach those guys.
“There’s no difference. They just learn it and then dominate at their level.”
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