Nolan Smith can Sparq. No doubt.
The 5-star UGA commitment showed that last year after transferring to IMG Academy. When Smith tested at the Nike Orlando Opening, he had put on 18 pounds.
But he didn’t lose any of the explosiveness he was known for. He chalked up the weight gain to finally eating breakfast every day at IMG.
Smith has now had another year to get bigger, stronger and faster. That means he should chart very well during combine testing Sunday at Nike’s The Opening regional in Atlanta.
The Savannah native will be joined by several UGA commits and major targets at the event.
Smith measured in at 6-foot-3 and weighed 223 pounds last year. Expect him to be a little taller this time. He should weigh close to 230, but the weight will fit his frame even better than it did in 2017.
That’s saying something. Smith already looked very “next-level” back then. He told DawgNation he had just 5.2 percent body fat at that Orlando regional. Smith was one of a few select juniors invited to the national finals in Oregon. Smith performed like one of the top 5 defensive linemen at that event, too.
The nation’s No. 3 weakside defensive end prospect (247Sports composite) had the highest Sparq rating of any UGA commit last year as a junior (4-star senior Channing Tindall put up a 125.75 last year).
What can he do in testing this year? Can he improve on a power ball toss of 44 feet and a laser 40-yard dash time of 4.6 seconds?
— Todd Huber (@ToddHuberSS) February 19, 2017
Check out that vertical and that agility for a future OLB. Look for Smith to improve on all of those numbers at the Atlanta regional this weekend.
If he really tests off the charts, he can contend for one of the elite performances in Sparq testing history. Smith feels he is capable of a 4.4-to-4.5-second time in the 40, a 42-inch vertical and a short shuttle time of around 4.15 seconds. At least.
If so, he could post a Sparq rating near the national record set by former Ohio State signee Mike Mitchell in 2012. Mitchell, who would later transfer to Texas Tech, posted a 154.47 rating.
The 6-4 Mitchell weighed 215 pounds. Mitchell threw the power ball 47 feet and ran a 4.39 in the 40. His vertical that day was was 40.3 inches.
If Smith is on, he can approach that mark. Former UGA great Nick Chubb put up a 143.91 Sparq rating prior to his senior season. Smith can get close to that range.
5 things for UGA fans to watch at the Atlanta Opening
5-stars Dominick Blaylock and Jadon Haselwood will be at the camp: Haselwood was going to skip the event, but told DawgNation he changed his mind. The nation’s No. 1 wide receiver said he will be there to hang with Smith and his Cedar Grove teammate Rashad Cheney. Cheney, a former UGA commit, is a 4-star defensive line prospect. Blaylock rates right behind Haselwood as the nation’s No. 2 WR for 2019. Those two, like Smith, should turn a lot of heads at the camp.
- More Bulldogs commits on hand: Georgia has the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class for 2019, too. The event will feature all three of the program’s 5-star commits. But they won’t be alone. Four-star cornerback pledge Jalen Perry will make a big impression. Four-star offensive lineman Luke Griffin also should be competing.
- Look for several major UGA targets at the camp: Four-star DL Travon Walker expects to be there. He should reach the final 5 in the OL/DL showcase. Walker is just too big and strong and talented not to. Marist safety Kyle Hamilton also will be competing. He’s another major UGA target for 2019.
- Which young in-state quarterback will shine: That’s a good question. There are a lot of elite young QBs for the state in the 2020 and 2021 classes. There’s 4-star Harrison Bailey from Marietta and 4-star Max Johnson from Oconee County. Aaron McLaughlin, a big-time arm in 2021, is also expected to compete.
- Who will be the breakout target? Channing Tindall was the player for most to see at the Atlanta Opening a year ago. He posted that aforementioned 125 Sparq rating that really got everyone talking about his burst and explosiveness. This camp is often a springboard for several names to enhance their recruiting heading into the final spring practices of their varsity careers. It will be a loaded camp. For example, there are big UGA targets such as Warren Burrell, Hamilton, Jaylen McCollough, Jammie Robinson and DJ Turner II working at defensive back at the camp. Each one of those 4-stars holds an offer from UGA. There should be about 4-5 guys at every position with an offer from the Bulldogs. The Atlanta camp is loaded like that every year.