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Nolan Smith did not want to name names. He chose to discuss concepts.
Those thoughts made it sounds like the strength of his commitment to Georgia has evolved from Bruce Banner to Hulk over the last month.
“We are doing something special,” Smith said. “That’s all I can say.”
Smith banked a lot of his own recruiting Intel last week up in Athens as the Bulldogs whipped up on Mississippi State. It makes sense to date the timing of his comments here.
That’s “special” came after he saw that big win last Saturday. That sort of sounds like a no-brainer. If Georgia didn’t earn the “like” button after that win, something would be wrong.
Nolan Smith ranks as the nation’s No. 6 overall prospect for the Class of 2019. (Jeff Sentell/Dawgnation)
But he also broke down where things stood after his latest football game.
That interview came early Saturday morning in Florida. IMG beat Miami Central 24-15 last week, but that game didn’t go final until just before midnight.
Smith also sounded strongly committed before the home state school put on a show.
He spoke about Georgia’s “Wolfpack.” That’s the name the Bulldogs have given their core of outside linebackers.
“OLBs, man,” Smith said. ‘We have got to have a big night.”
Smith even made a prediction about the game: “I’m not Jesus (about picking games) but I hope Georgia.”
Why has there been such a spike in his thoughts about Georgia of late? What does he really mean by the “potential of the program” keeping him committed to UGA?
He brought up a lot of factors, including players staying home in the 2019 class and a dual-threat QB who would not be named.
Nolan Smith sees a potential future on the horizon
Smith brought up what he could potentially see happening at Georgia.
Nolan Smith committed to Georgia back in January. He speaks passionately about the many ways that his time at IMG Academy has already made him into a better player. (Jeff Sentell/Dawgnation)
“You would see a different team,” Smith said. “I’m not calling out any names, but if we get a dual-threat quarterback that would be something. If you look at the recent years of people who won the SEC and the national championship, they all had dual-threat quarterbacks. That’s a big thing.”
“Dual-threat quarterbacks are amazing,” Smith said. “I’m not saying that pocket passers are not. But you have to be a real pocket passer to win. But the dual-threat quarterbacks who can do it with their feet and their arm are really amazing. If I could go to college with one of those dual-threat quarterbacks that I am thinking about right now, it would be a lot of relief off of me.”
He spoke about that in terms of a defensive player having to defend a dual-threat in the pocket.
Especially a gifted 5-star one at that. Harrison senior Justin Fields would definitely fit that description.
“You don’t want to play a dual-threat quarterback,” Smith said. “Because if you rush him, then he is going to run. Then if you don’t rush him, then he is going to pass it and pick you apart. He will have you uncomfortable and be playing a whole game of chess and guessing the whole night.”
He also brought up what no defensive player really wants to say. Yet he believes it.
Undecided 5-star Justin Fields spent some time with undecided 5-star Owen Pappoe and 5-star UGA commit Nolan Smith on the sidelines before the Mississippi State game. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
“The dual-threat quarterback is the worst nightmare,” he said. “You don’t want to see a dual-threat quarterback in. Especially one that is really good and can also pick you apart from the pocket. You’ve really got to try and make a dual-threat quarterback quit. That’s what we saw in the national championship game with Deshaun Watson. They tried to make him quit.”
“They helicoptered him. But he had enough heart that he didn’t quit. He didn’t quit. He pulled that one out just being who he is and having the heart.”
Smith just so happened to take several pictures with a potential 5-star QB like that on Saturday evening prior to the Mississippi State game.
He would go on to say that it was an honor and felt like he was taking a picture with the President. Smith likes to joke and laugh a lot. I think he was kidding.
What factors into Nolan Smith’s decision process?
What is happening with him? Is it a tug-of-war between Clemson and Georgia? Who’s winning that bout? Smith clarified that recently but he’s now made even stronger comments of late.
Has he fallen back in love with Georgia? Were his eyes turned by all that orange and purple?
“I really don’t know,” he said. “There are just a lot of things that are factoring into my decision. From what I want to study in class to a lot of things. I’m just really looking at other options. There are not many other options. But as you can see I am still in love with Georgia.”
Nolan Smith only got a few hours of sleep last Saturday morning but endured that in order to see Georgia take on Mississippi State last Saturday. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)
“I love them. I was a fan of Georgia since I was a little boy. It is crazy now. Crazy that I can always play for my home. I’ve always thought if we keep everybody home for the colleges what that would be like. If everyone from Louisiana stayed to play for LSU and so on. Everybody from Georgia goes to Georgia or Georgia Tech. Let’s see that. I’d like to see that. Let’s see who really has all the best talent. That’s what I really want to try to do and see what we can do. Because if you look, you’ll see that Georgia always has a lot of the top prospects in the ESPN 300 and everything.”
He spoke about that in terms of the Class of 2019. That’s his group of boys.
“If we get everybody to go one place in the 2019 class from the top, then everybody else will just follow,” Smith said. “We all want to play together. It is just about getting the top guys and we all have to make up our minds.”
What Georgia could build in the Class of 2019
Check out the 247SportsComposite rankings of the top 2019 prospects in Georgia. That’s what I did.
Georgia already has commitments from five of the top 25 players on that list. That’s not even counting Smith. He’s now classified as a Florida prospect because he goes to boarding school at IMG Academy.
5-star junior Owen Pappoe (left) received a lot of attention from 5-star UGA commit Nolan Smith last Saturday. Smith is the nation’s No. 6 overall prospect for 2019. He only got three hours of sleep on Saturday morning so he could get to UGA. (Jeff Sentell/Dawgnation)
It seems quite conceivable for the Bulldogs to sign 15 of the Top 25 players on that list. Those prospects could all finish rated among the nation’s Top 200 players.
Smith’s decision also includes an academic component.
“Academics are a major thing to me,” he said. “I’m really thinking about studying engineering or chemical engineering. I’m taking honors chemistry right now. It is not an easy class.”
But he also does ponder the thought of broadcasting. His family has encouraged him to consider that path. The 5-star pass rusher is very charismatic and has a very outgoing spirit.
He’s taken up to asking his peer athletes and coaches questions after events.
As long as I’ve covered his decision, he’s been an athlete that has been motivated by his dreams. Smith was asked to close his eyes. To picture himself making plays in college.
What color jersey does he have on? Red? Purple? Crimson?
“That’s an amazing question,” Smith said. “I close my eyes every day and I’m just blessed and able to go to college and get a free education,” Smith said. “I just think about the bills my Mom won’t have to pay for college. It is amazing and it is a blessing that I’m able to play some football.”
That might not be the answer that Clemson or Georgia fans want to hear. But that’s a real answer that shows Smith is not letting this School A or School B or School C stuff take away from his focus.
Each of his options will allow him to do just that.
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