He’s the second-highest rated recruit in the country and he’s already committed to an SEC powerhouse program.
But Nolan Smith II’s first visit to the school he eventually committed to Georgia when he was a high school freshman didn’t leave a good impression on him.
“I didn’t like it,” Smith, now a senior defensive end at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, told the Herald at IMG’s Media Day on Wednesday. “I hated it.”
The reason? Current Miami coach Mark Richt.
Smith said Richt always recruited Florida players instead of Georgia’s own when he was with the Bulldogs.
“Even Deshaun Watson went out of state, and he won a national championship for somebody else,” Smith said. “There’s a lot of Georgia stories about Georgia boys going to Georgia that a lot of people don’t know about. ... [Watson] went to Clemson, played quarterback and got drafted.”
Watson did take visits to Georgia, among other schools, according to Bleacher Report. The Bulldogs didn’t land Watson, who ended up at Clemson before the Houston Texans drafted him in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Smith, who is a consensus 5-star recruit according to the 247 Sports composite rankings, said things are changing with Kirby Smart as Georgia’s coach.
Watching the Bulldogs reach the national title game last season brought out the fan in Smith, who is from Savannah, Georgia.
“I was like a groupie,” Smith said. “I was like, ‘Wow ... everything is changing.’ We’re building the culture. It’s new, it’s not like ‘Bama but we’re building the culture.”
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