Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings, a rundown of everything happening in Alabama Crimson Tide recruiting with Chris Kirschner. In this edition, we talk the latest with a 5-star Georgia commit.
Nolan Smith still seems like a long shot for Alabama
Whenever I talk to Alabama fans about who they want to see in the Crimson Tide’s 2019 recruiting class, many times Nolan Smith II, a 5-star Jack linebacker from IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) is mentioned. It could be because he is one of the most gifted players in the 2019 recruiting cycle, because he is committed to Georgia or a combination of both.
There were a few minutes on April 1 during which it seemed Smith was going to end up committing to Alabama after he announced his “de-commitment.” It turned out to be an April Fool’s joke that wasn’t executed well.
Still, Alabama fans and coaches have hoped to change Smith’s mind on the Bulldogs. His commitment to Georgia is stronger than ever, though.
“I’ve just felt a lot of love from Georgia and the people and the staff and the coaches,” Smith told my DawgNation colleague Jeff Sentell. “And there is a lot to love about Georgia.”
“I love the way Coach [Dan] Lanning just talks to me,” Smith said. “Not the way he recruits me or anything. He makes me feel like there is more to life than football. I love coaches like that. There’s more to life than football and doing this and that and even the partying in college.
“I say this a lot: Football is not going to take care of me and my family forever. At the end of the day, I love playing football but what I do besides play football will take care of my family forever is if I learn the right things. If I learn how to be a great businessman and handle what comes through football if I am that blessed. I need to have my head on right and own some businesses. I need to be a sharp businessman. My son could take over those one day. His son could take it over. I would want my grandkids to go to $75,000-a-year schools like IMG without playing a sport.”
Smith is highly coveted by the Alabama staff and has been for about two years. At 6-foot-3, 233 pounds, Smith posted a 4.51-second 40-yard dash time, a 44.5-inch vertical jump and a 4.15-second 5-10-5-yard shuttle time.
The nation’s No. 6 overall player has been committed to Georgia for more than a year, but he has made numerous trips to Tuscaloosa. He compared the Alabama staff to a part of his family, but it hasn’t been enough for him to change his mind.
Smith has actively recruited for the Bulldogs and is trying to get several of his IMG Academy teammates, such as 5-star running back Trey Sanders, who is a major Alabama target, to commit to Georgia.
“I just say, ‘This is the spot,’ and I let it speak for itself,” Smith said of his recruiting pitch. “They are all going to see. When we win, they will be sitting on their couch thinking I want to watch that game and watch that team play even though I know they won or they were at another visit that day. If you flip through and Georgia versus Tennessee is on, they will have to watch the game to see what Georgia did. Georgia is going to make exciting plays from now on no matter who it is on that field. It is the spot. It speaks for itself.”
As I’ve said for several months now, it is great that Alabama has hosted him several times on campus, but Smith has no intentions of reopening his recruitment. Those Tide fans who are hoping he changes his mind should probably focus on other Jack linebacker targets.
The good news is Alabama is in good shape with several Jack linebackers in this class, such as 4-star prospects Kevin Harris and King Mwikuta, who are committed to the Tide; the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit, Kayvon Thibodeaux; and 4-star prospect Mohamoud Diabate, who can play several linebacker spots in the Tide’s defensive scheme.
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