Who is this Nolan Smith? Those who know him best break him down in just five words
In case you missed it, the Bulldogs signed the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect in the class of 2019. Georgia native Nolan Smith enrolled in January with 13 other members of the #NewBreed19 and #K19 class.
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound OLB turned 18 that month, too. He is set to suit up in front of a welcoming Sanford Stadium crowd for this first time at G-Day this weekend.
There have been a lot of impressive things said about Smith this spring. There was what coach Kirby Smart said early on in spring drills, what promising sophomore OL Jamaree Salyer said at the median of those workouts and even what Smart said this week.
“Nolan plays hard all the time,” Smart said. “He doesn’t always play smart but he plays with great effort and does a good job.”
When Smart said just that, he said a lot.
Those words, when filtered through years of listening to coaches cut block the hype train for promising young players, did mean something.
The “Georgia Way” means not too much. Not too soon. Earn it first.
Especially for highly-regarded players who have yet to do anything at all in the Southeastern Conference.
Smith is not going to leap tall buildings in single bound or take down The Night King in Week 1 at Vanderbilt, but he is going to help Georgia in 2019.
Of that, it seems fairly certain.
Getting to know this Nolan Smith fella from Savannah
To mark his first G-Day, we thought it would be a good time to share a sliver of the reporting that will be part of a larger profile DawgNation is planning for a large number of the 2019 signees this spring.
The former 5-star recruit from IMG Academy (by way of his native Savannah) certainly does leave an impression on anyone who comes into contact with him. That’s been true since this reporter first came into contact with him in his sophomore year.
Here’s the simple premise: We asked 12 more people who have grown to know Smith fairly well to come up with the five best words they would use to describe him. They all fit somewhere into the Smith story.
Most were able to come up with five words to describe the former 5-star recruit. Some needed a few more. They stuck to five words or five phrases.
It was fun, but it also fits the time span. The few seconds it takes to describe Smith in one of those five words will very likely mirror the amount of time he will make his mark snap-by-snap at Georgia.
Getting to know Nolan Smith: The 5-words (mostly) edition
Let’s say this just once: Smith inspires very clear opinions in those who meet him for the first time. Not to mention those who have been a big part of his life and seen him become a supporting character in their own football worlds.
- Former IMG Academy teammate (and Penn State freshman) Noah Cain: “Energetic. Worker. Pusher. Physical. Bright bright future.”
- Former IMG Academy teammate and rising senior Lejond Cavazos: “Crazy. Loud. Atrocious. Beast. Superhuman. Different.”
- IMG Academy Media Relations Manager Johnny Esfeller: “Determined. Observant. Discerning. Ambitious. Intelligent.”
- Auburn freshman OL Keiondre Jones: “Outgoing. Different. Well-spoken. Freak. Wow. Special.”
- IMG Academy defensive line coach Ernie Logan: “Competitor. Compassionate. ‘Dawg. Intense. Opinionated.”
- Former IMG teammate (and FSU freshman) Jaleel McRae: “Brother for life. Leader on and off a field. Different. First rounder or first overall pick. Joker. Character.”
- Former IMG teammate (and Alabama freshman) Evan Neal: “Annoying. Aggravating. Little brother. Joker. My guy. Cool people.”
- Auburn freshman LB Owen Pappoe: “Animal. Athletic. Huge playmaker. Goofy. Good dude.”
- 4-star former IMG teammate Michael Redding III: “Crazy. Very crazy. Energetic. Cocky. Loud.”
- His mother Chakeima Thompson: “Lovable. Caring. Leader. Smart. Talkative.”
- 5-star UGA signee Travon Walker: “Charismatic. Gregarious. Upbeat. Outgoing. Positive.”
- IMG Academy football coach Kevin Wright: “Competitive. Charismatic. Talented. Intelligent. Bursting with opinions on everything.”
Check all of those qualities? See anything repetitive?
It sure sounds like Smith has always had that ‘Dawg in him.