BEAVERTON, Ore. — Nolan Smith II is a wanted man in college football. He committed to UGA in January and wanted to help build the Class of 2019.
When he did that, his stock has continued to rise. Smith is now rated as the nation’s No. 3 overall prospect by the 247Sports composite. Scout.com just rated Smith as the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit for 2019.
The 6-foot-3, 226-pound prospect has flashed the ability that has had Alabama and Clemson interested for quite some time. Smith took visits — as he said he still would when he committed — to both Alabama and Clemson over the last month.
Georgia fans have paid attention. Smith had a great visit to Clemson. He even brought his mother along.
Smith no longer was listing himself as a UGA commitment on his Twitter page. That’s the social media equivalent of an elixir that makes a plugged-in fan base very nervous.
Why did he do that? What’s his message about that?
“Go Dawgs,” Smith said. “That’s the message right there.”
But Smith later updated his Twitter bio. It once again reflects that he is committed to Georgia.
He was asked two questions about that very specific topic. First, what does Georgia have to do to retain him?
“We have got to get some wins,” Smith said. “We have got to be able to just compete and show everybody that we are more than just a recruiting and a hype squad. Because we go in there every year that we have got the best squad and this and that and we are looking really promising and we get there to the season and we do something like go 7-5, then hopefully that comes to a stop this season and the next season.”
Second, what is the strength of his commitment? That was probably DawgNation’s next question before Smith rattled off an answer that used the term “we” eight times to describe his situation at Georgia.
That’s a statement unto itself that he still considers himself a Bulldog.
Will 10-win seasons keep his eye on the home state and secure Nolan Smith?
“I would say that would be a strong push,” Smith said. “Because really the other schools that are pushing for me are winning national championships or competing for national championships. I would do anything to stay home.”
He’s thinking with both his heart and his mind with where he’s going to wind up playing on Saturdays. If Georgia puts up quality and superlative seasons like the ones that Alabama and now very recently Clemson are known for, could anybody flip him?
“Then it would get down to coaching,” Smith said. “The coaching standpoint and how do I feel about the coaching and really the [defensive] coordinators. It is between my position coach and the D-coordinators. Those are the people that predict my life. They decide when to put me in and to put me in. The D-coordinator decides what plays to call and what plays not to call. That’s a humongous thing.”
Nolan Smith’s outlook for this weekend of competition
He was very happy to be at Nike headquarters in Oregon.
“It is beautiful just to be here,” Smith said. “The plane ride was long but it was worth it. It was worth it all. This weather is amazing. It is not too hot and not too cold. This is just perfect. It is everything that you could dream of.”
What are his goals for the weekend?
“Dominate,” he said. “Compete. Just be explosive. Come out of the gate. Be fast. Prove everybody wrong. Everybody that said I am too small. Everybody that said I can’t hold my ground. Just prove to them that I can hang with the big dogs. I am everything that [they] said I am not.”