Georgia all-time great Nolan Smith shares why the second national championship is more special for him
Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s the Intel. This rep has the latest with all-time DGD Nolan Smith after Georgia’s back-to-back national championship win against TCU for the 2022 College football national championship.
Nolan Smith was one of the two guys on the recruiting trail that really started all this golden glory for the ‘Dawgs. Richard LeCounte III was the first, but he was the top 10 national prospect to commit to the G.
South Georgia born. South Georgia bred. He was ranked as the nation’s No. 1 player in the country in his class.
It seems crazy now, but he committed in the January of his freshman season. That was back in January of 2017. He would soon transfer to IMG Academy in Florida and no one knew what might happen then.
Smith knew where he always wanted to be.
Alabama. Clemson. Florida State. Miami. Those were teams that were going to rattle that commitment and no one really knew what Kirby Smart would bring to Georgia.
Alabama and Clemson were very big threats to that commitment. Those teams were on top of the college football mountain back then. That’s where Georgia stands now.
That pledge was made before the magical 2017 season. Since he chose the ‘Dawgs, the program has gone 73-10 since that commitment. That’s across six seasons.
That includes back-to-back national titles.
When Smith committed, the ‘Dawgs had just beaten TCU after the 2016 season. When he walked off the field for the last time with his No. 4 jersey on, he had a GoPro camera strapped to his chest. The red light was always on. He wanted to capture everything.
It was so very fitting.
This just all means so much to him. Georgia means so much to him and Smith has meant so much to Georgia.
“Two years man,” Smith said. “We won two championships back to back. I just can’t be happier. Those guys they left their hearts on the line. They were just crazy. I just had a fun time being a part of the trip with them, man.”
Which one was harder in his mind? Which one was more special?
“It is 2023,” Smith said. “Right here. Now. This moment right here. This one right here is a statement to what Georgia has built and what Coach Smart is doing right now.”
It speaks to what the “DGD” knows in his heart that Georgia can be. What it should be. What he wants it to be. The fact that it was won without him making a game-ending sack or putting his stamp on the last several big games says everything one needs to know about Smith and how much he loves Georgia.
And now he can’t wait to be a Sunday Bulldog alumnus next year.
To be one of those NFL guys in the locker room for the next Georgia championship chase like Richard LeCounte III, Sony Michel, Monty Rice, Jamaree Salyer, Matt Stafford and Mark Webb, among others.
“I can’t wait to just watch them next year,” Smith said. “It is going to be crazy the things that they can do. What they have learned from us. They soaked in. They were just attentive every day and just soaked it in like a sponge and they are amazing kids.”
Kearis Jackson, who signed with the ‘Dawgs in 2018, shared his own feeling about the history made it 2021 versus the 2022 season.
“This one was more special,” Jackson said. “Just the fact we were able to do it twice.”
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Kirby Smart on Nolan Smith: “A commitment unlike many others”
Smart was candid in his appreciation for Smith in the post-championship press conference on Monday.
“My relationship with Nolan is unique because Nolan had a commitment to Georgia that was unlike many others,” Smart said. “He was highly touted. Considered one of the best players in the country. Debatable always. He committed to Georgia at an early stage of his career and he stayed committed.”
“Nolan is one of those rare guys that saw the value in being from Georgia. Committing to Georgia. Never wavering from Georgia and leading a class. It reminds me of Richard LeCounte. Where he just said ‘you know what ‘I’m coming. That’s where I’m going and I’m going to affect others. And he never like veered from that. He has some of the toughest DNA qualities I have ever been around. The guy with like physical toughness.”
Smart described him Monday as a “motormouth” in the locker room.
“People embrace him and enjoy him,” Smart said. “Of our captains, he was the leading vote-getter. So it tells you everybody respected him. And he was not playing. He was going to check out and go train and go work out and I said ‘Nolan it will be the greatest mistake of your life if you leave right now and don’t finish this. Because people will remember how you finish it. Whether we win or lose is irrelevant. But for the rest of your life you will be remembered. Were you a captain? Were you there for everybody? Did you stand by this team? Did you impact them in a way without being on the field? Because NFL teams will value someone who can impact their team when they are not playing.’”
Smart said he told Smith the Ohio State win was 20 percent on him.
“He was over on that sideline,” Smart said. “Never doubting. He just kept preaching and it’s little things like that that make a difference in a team.”
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