UGA Recruiting Daily 27 MAR 2018: Nike Opening Atlanta Observations

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UGA Recruiting Daily 27 MAR 2018: Nike Opening Atlanta Observations

Nolan Smith (219) – The Opening-Atlanta 2018 – March 25, 2018
Nolan Smith (219) – The Opening-Atlanta 2018 – March 25, 2018


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Nike Opening Atlanta Regional Observations


Sunday’s Nike Opening regional showed a good bit about the athletes from Georgia. They’re some tough kids who want to play at the next level. It was cold out at Buford High School Sunday and these players ran 40-yard dashes, hit each other, and just powered through the cold. Sunday showed a lot of promise out of three current Georgia commits, and a lot more promise out of some prospects. Here are my three takeaways from the Atlanta regional.

1: Nolan Smith

Nolan Smith gets a section all his own for this camp. He showed up and posted the highest testing results of the day. Smith posted a 141.18 and ran a 4.51 40-yard dash at 234 pounds. However, it wasn’t just on-field stuff that impressed me. It was how he carried himself and the amount of confidence he had when he spoke with the media. Smith said yes sir, no sir, and yes ma’am and no ma’am to me and the other media members. Manners go a lot way with me, and so that’s the first thing that impressed me.

Secondly, how hard he’s recruiting some of the guys in the 2019 class, especially Owen Pappoe. He told other reports telling things and mentioned to me that he wants to lock down the state of Georgia again. Fans look to find that vocal leader in the class, and it’s definitely Smith. He told me that he liked Coach Dan Lanning and that he took over his primary recruiting at Georgia. The two seem to have a good relationship, and Smith seemed to be all about the relationship with the coaches.

Finally, the on-field stuff, there’s a reason he posted the highest numbers and received MVP honors. He was phenomenal. Smith made some highly rated offensive lineman look lost. He didn’t quit and he was so quick off the edge. Sites have said it, but I expect the next time rankings come out, he will sit at the No. 1 spot.

Nolan Smith Interview:

2: Other Prospects:

This section is about prospects that stood out to me on Sunday. First of all, Harry Miller, an o-linemen from Buford looked impressive. He’s got a nice size to him and gave defensive linemen trouble all day. Miller received one of the five golden tickets for the offensive line. The other four were Kardell Thomas, CLay Webb, Jeremy James and Riley Simonds. Miller has Georgia in his top schools and visits Athens frequently. After Sunday, Georgia needs to up the recruiting on this one. Another name on the offensive line that looked impressive was Simonds. He held right in there on the edge and didn’t take crap from any of the defensive linemen. He has a similar size to Miller, and I could see him getting a lot of offers in the next few months if he keeps competing like that.

As for the defensive line, Travon Walker, Jaelin Humphries, and Derrick McClendon stood out to me. All three showed their talents off and performed well. Humphries is massive, just so big. He’s going to plug some holes at the next level. Walker and Smith didn’t leave each other’s side. He wore UGA gloves and had when he and I spoke last, was high on the Bulldogs. But it appears, Smith wants Walker to wear the ‘G’ and he would make another nice addition to the defensive line class. Nakobe Dean impressed in the linebacker group. He’s smart on the field and did a great job with the drills.

3: UGA Commits continue to Shine:

Georgia commits, Jadon Haselwood and Dominick Blaylock, stood out on Sunday. It’s not hard to see why they sit at the No. 1 and No.2 wide receiver spots. Defensive backs struggled with the two of them, and neither dropped many passes that were catchable. Both had nice routes and really made d-backs work for plays. Blaylock is a stud, he’s going to turn some heads at the next level. Haselwood, in my opinion, is 100 percent committed to Georgia, and after his performance on Sunday, the Bulldogs want him to stay committed. He’s so strong in his routes and just blows my mind with the athleticism. I don’t expect either to decommit.

Final Thoughts:

Sunday was a great day despite the weather. Players showed up performed well and proved why Georgia’s one of the top recruiting states. Georgia commits stole the show and prospects added to the excitement that surrounds the 2019 class for the Bulldogs. I’m going out on a limb right here, but I believe 2019 could be better than 2018, or at least equal to it. Greg and I had a great time Sunday and I learned a lot. Folks, you’ll be getting a lot more camp observations from me, because I’ll head to as many as I can get to. And another thing to note, most of my observations were for the 2019 class. A lot of the 2020 kids stood out to me, but with a year away from them proving themselves, I chose to stick with 2019.



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Savannah Leigh is a recent graduate of the Grady College of Journalism at the University of Georgia. She is an avid SEC, Dawgs, and college football fan. She also adores her four-year-old black lab, Champ Bailey.