Georgia already has three commitments for its 2019 recruiting class, one in which they would do well to take advantage of a wealth of instate talent. One of those early pledges showed this weekend why he became a sought-after target so early.
Nolan Smith, a rising junior at Florida’s IMG Academy (by way of Savannah’s Calvary Baptist) impressed at this weekend’s Orlando regional for Nike’s The Opening prospect camp before even stepping on the field. Listed by most recruiting services at 6’2 and 190 pounds before the event, the outside linebacker prospect measured an eye-popping 6’3 and 223 pounds. That’s a pretty healthy growth spurt for a player whose only major criticism from scouts had been his size. As if that wasn’t enough, Smith showed tremendous athleticism for a guy that size, turning in a 4.60 forty yard dash, a 4.35 agility shuttle, and a very impressive 40.6” vertical jump. Smith’s overall SPARQ score, which combines the results of a battery of speed/strength/agility testing, was 129.75, good for second best at the event behind Cocoa, Florida slot receiver Javian Hawkins and an exceptional score for a guy who has another 23 months +/- before he signs.
As a point of comparison Derrick Henry scored a 138.03 after his junior season. Smith’s score equals the one put up by current Bulldog Lorenzo Carter before his senior season. It is only within shouting distance of Nick Chubb’s 143.91 at The Opening 2013, which is just shy of the 145.00 which indicates you belong not on a football field but in a Marvel comic book.
I anticipate that Smith’s measurable are only likely to improve now that he’ll be training at IMG. And while there’s a big difference between being a combine warrior and an SEC MVP, it’s clear that Georgia appears to be getting a truly elite athlete in Smith.