Why this 5-star’s pledge to UGA is as strong as it has ever been
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. 5-star Nolan Smith is the feature for today.
If we’re looking at Nolan Smith’s commitment to UGA in recruiting years based on an equivalency matrix for 5-stars which move out of state, that thing could be a fossil. He chose UGA way back in January of 2017.
Some commitments expire relatively fast these days. Smith’s seems as old as the “Night King” in the mega-popular “Game of Thrones” series on HBO. The 5-star loves that series and is able to relate a lot of the character arcs to real life.
When it comes to the strength of that pledge, he makes it seem stronger than Valyrian Steel. That might not mean a thing to those who don’t follow that show so let’s just call it pretty stout.
Smith acknowledges the point that his commitment is as strong as it has been. But it is not just what he says.
It is what those at IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) who hear about the Bulldogs every day from Smith.
“It is almost like a maniac for Georgia,” 5-star RB prospect Trey Sanders said. “I don’t even know, man. I don’t even think Nolan sleeps to be very honest, man. Just don’t think he sleeps. Every time I hear him he is like, ‘Quit playing with us, man. Come to Georgia, man. Come to Georgia, man.’ All that stuff. He loves Georgia. He really loves that place.”
Smith is an equal opportunity barker when it comes to elite running backs. Noah Cain, the nation’s No. 2 prospect at running back, shares the same vibe.
“He’s in my room every day talking about Georgia,” Cain said. “Taking about when can I get back up there with him. He’s a great player. I love going against Nolan every day. That’s one of my close friends here also. We get better every day with one another. If Trey, Nolan and I all go to the same school and it happens that way it would be a blessing in disguise. We would do great things together.”
“If not, we’re at least going to stay in touch enough to support each other in college.”
The same words come from just about anyone who knows Smith. Lejond Cavazos, C.J. Clark, Derick Hunter … The list goes on and on.
Smith still needs 5-star CB Andrew Booth for the 2019 class.
“Need him,” Smith said. “We really need him. Tag him in this story. He always needs to know who much we need him at Georgia.”
Why Nolan Smith’s UGA pledge remains solid
Why does Nolan Smith feel so strongly about UGA of late? Is that commitment stronger than it has been?
“That’s true,” he said. “I’ve just felt a lot of love from Georgia and the people and the staff and the coaches. And there is a lot to love about Georgia.”
There is more.
“I love the way Coach [Dan] Lanning just talks to me,” Smith said. “Not the way he recruits me or anything. He makes me feel like there is more to life than football. I love coaches like that. There’s more to life than football and doing this and that and even the partying in college.
“I say this a lot: Football is not going to take care of me and my family forever. At the end of the day, I love playing football but what I do besides play football will take care of my family forever is if I learn the right things. If I learn how to be a great businessman and handle what comes through football if I am that blessed. I need to have my head on right and own some businesses. I need to be a sharp businessman. My son could take over those one day. His son could take it over. I would want my grandkids to go to $75,000-a-year schools like IMG without playing a sport.”
There were a lot of pictures on social media after G-Day from the recruits who spoke to Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Sanders was there. So was Cavazos and Jadon Haselwood. Smith is the only one with perfect recall of what was said.
“I will always remember that like it was yesterday,” Smith said. “Nick Chubb had the highest [Nike] Sparq-score ever for any Georgia commit. He was like, ‘Dang, man you beat me out. I would love for you to wear my jersey or something like that,’ but I was like, ‘Nah, that is an honor but I’m going to wear ‘Zo’s jersey. I want to wear his No. 7 because (Lorenzo Carter) and I talked about that.’ He said he wants me to wear his No. 7 but he would want to get that N. Smith on the back with that.”
What else was said?
“They told us that Georgia was the place,” Smith said. “They said it was the place we need to be. Those guys said they gave everything to Georgia. They stayed for their last year. Their senior years. They didn’t have to. They could have gone to the NFL, but they said they loved it too much to leave. Then you see how well things worked out for them their last years at Georgia? It worked out because they loved it so much they didn’t want to leave.”
— Nolan Smith II (@SmithNoland2) May 3, 2018
Nolan Smith on the current UGA recruiting efforts
Does he feel Booth is drifting away from the Bulldogs at this time? The recruiting industry commonly throws out that Clemson and Auburn appear to be his two favorites.
Booth doesn’t offer up anything in the regard. Nolan Smith even keeps his thoughts on that to a minimum.
“He isn’t going to drift,” Smith said. “I’ll try to make sure he doesn’t drift. I’m still really trying to get him to come to Georgia and stuff like that.”
When it comes to the never-ending Owen Pappoe storyline, he calls that a “tossup” at this time.
“This is like season two of the Game of Thrones with Owen, we’re just getting started with that one,” he said.
Smith doesn’t overdo things when he tells recruits about his choice.
He keeps it simple. No need to oversell.
“I just say, ‘This is the spot,’ and I let it speak for itself,” Smith said. “They are all going to see. When we win, they will be sitting on their couch thinking I want to watch that game and watch that team play even though I know they won or they were at another visit that day. If you flip through and Georgia versus Tennessee is on, they will have to watch the game to see what Georgia did. Georgia is going to make exciting plays from now on no matter who it is on that field. It is the spot. It speaks for itself.”
He’s learned a lot about recruiting in the time before and after his pledge to Georgia.
“I would tell a young man coming up now not to enjoy their recruitment too much,” Smith said. “It is not real. At the end of the day, they are going to show you the best of what would be at your potential school when they bring you there. They will show you the best of the best about that place.”
“They are not going to tell you about the 5 a.m. workouts or waking up at 5 o’clock in the morning that our former IMG guys come back and tell us about now.”
It takes a lot to be truly elite these days. Smith rates as the nation’s No. 6 prospect for 2019 on the 247Sports composite rankings. His 247Sports rating has him at No. 2 overall.
He can clock a 4.5 in the 40. Laser time. Even in chilly conditions. Smith can post a vertical leap of 40 inches and a pro agility drill of 4.15 seconds.
That’s at 6-foot-3 and 233 pounds.
Is the iron price it takes to test that well worth it?
“If you want to do Game of Thrones references then that’s like asking Cersei when she finally sat on the throne if it was worth it for her,” Smith said. “She was the first queen. She would still say it was worth it in that story after she lost her husband and her sons and all the people she cared about. They were dead. But she would still say it was worth it to just sit there on the throne.
“So yeah, it is worth it to just be able to stand here and say I know that I still have a whole lot more work to do. But with that I have done so far, I have made a little name for myself.”
Nolan Smith feels he can relate to Jon Snow
We’ll continue the Westeros parallels just a little further. That’s because it allows a very unique way to look at the 5-star pledge.
When Nolan Smith made that comment about having a little bit of a name for himself, he said that like he was starting up at a mountaintop. He knows he still has a long way to go. But he relates to a certain “Game of Thrones” character.
“I’d most definitely be Jon Snow, man,” Smith said. “I didn’t know my father. Someone took me under their wing. Someone was my other father figure. I didn’t know much about my real father coming up. Now, I’m just a guy who works hard.
“I’m a blue-collar guy. Jon Snow was one of the first actual statements of a blue-collar worker in a hero’s role. Back in those medieval times. I like to take the role upon myself. Even in the battles, you see Jon Snow as the commander but he’s the person leading the charge. He doesn’t ever want to be behind his men. Letting them do the work for his victory and then taking the credit.”
“Most kings, you know, when they see the fighting and the charge and the real battle coming at them, they don’t want to take that charge. When I see that battle-turning final charge, I want to lead the way and help fight that battle. I’m not going to sit there and watch everyone else get beat up and then trot out to claim that victory.”
What does the UGA class still need? Smith said 5-star DT Travon Walker is a priority. The same goes for Clark and Hunter. The class needs guys to push the pocket, he said. He also named Pappoe and 4-star Texas safety Lewis Cine.
Physical safety Jammie Robinson establishes his ‘Big 6’
Jammie Robinson, the 3-star prospect from Crisp County (Cordele, Ga.), named his final 6 on Tuesday. The likely college safety rates as the nation’s No. 33 ATH on the 247Sports composite.
THIS WHAT YALL BEEN WAITING FOR…🔥🎥🏈 “BIG 6” “TOP 6”🤫🙏🏾. #GoBlue〽️ #GoMocs😎 #GoDawgs🐶 #SpursUp🐔 #WarEagle🐅 #BBN🔵⚪️. @RobGregoryGC @CoachMHouse @CoachCPartridge @shelton_felton @Coach_mtucker @T_WILL4REAL @Coach_TRob pic.twitter.com/95b4H8aEJy
— BIG 6💰 (@Jammierobinson6) May 29, 2018
It was impressive to see him include Chattanooga with Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky and South Carolina. That was a gesture of loyalty and appreciation to his former prep coach. Current Mocs assistant coach Shelton Felton started him on the path to college football as a freshman in 2016 and also provided him with his first college offer after he left Crisp.
That why Chattanooga will always be in his final group. Robinson first told Rivals.com’s Chad Simmons that Georgia and South Carolina were his two leaders out of that “Big 6” at this time.
“Because they both are recruiting me hard and they both are making that relationship strong with me and my family,” Robinson told DawgNation.
He also said he’s hearing a recruiting pitch from a current player at both programs. Senior CB Keisan Nixon is that guy for the Gamecocks. Junior DL Tyler Clark, a native of the 229 area code like Robinson, is trying to match that tug for the Bulldogs.
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