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 who visited Alabama over the weekend.
Nolan Smith II strongly considering Alabama
Nolan Smith, a 5-star Georgia weakside defensive end commit from IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.), has visited Alabama several times throughout his recruitment, but a trip to Tuscaloosa this weekend was different for him.
“It just felt really special, especially with Tosh [Lupoi], who’d be my position coach, now as the defensive coordinator,” Smith told SEC Country. “It’s just different now. It was a fun trip. It was amazing. I had a great time.”
Smith’s connection with Lupoi is one of the key factors as to why Alabama is strongly in the mix for the Georgia commit.
The nation’s No. 5 overall player in the 2019 class said Lupoi getting promoted to defensive coordinator gives the Tide a little advantage over Auburn, Clemson and Ohio State, which are the other schools he’s still considering outside of his pledge to the Bulldogs.
“Everyone talks about how great Tosh is,” Smith said. “He has lived up to that expectation. He’s the same guy in and out of recruiting. He’s easy to connect with. He’s a great guy. It’s crazy how quickly you can get along with a person.
“Him being the defensive coordinator affected my view [of Alabama] a lot. He’s going to be drawing up the defense with the outside linebackers in mind. He’s going to draw things up that are going to help us. I feel like he would draw up a lot of schemes that will help our position group.”
Alabama signed three Jack linebackers (hybrid between weakside defensive end and outside linebacker) in the 2018 class in 5-star prospect Eyabi Anoma and 4-star prospects Jordan Davis and Cameron Latu. Not to mention Class of 2017 greyshirt Jarez Parks is a Jack linebacker, too.
The Tide will lose outside linebackers Christian Miller and Jamey Mosley after this season. Terrell Lewis is a candidate to declare for the draft, too.
Smith feels like there’s a good opportunity to make an impact at Alabama, if he chose the school, his freshman year. He’s not looking to be an immediate starter at whichever school he chooses, but he does want to fight for playing time right away.
Nick Saban told Smith on Saturday that he feels like he perfectly fits Alabama’s mold as an outside linebacker in its 3-4 defense.
“That’s really what I want to hear,” Smith said. “Most coaches talk about moving me to different spots. That’s what turns me off about some schools. He views me as someone who could rush the passer.”
Now, it’s just a waiting process for Smith. He doesn’t have a set timetable for when he wants to end his recruitment. He wants to see which players leave at the end of the season at the schools he’s considering.
He doesn’t view many differences between Alabama and Georgia right now. He also offered up a funny analogy for how he views the schools.
“That’s like when you go into your house [Georgia] and you see your mom, dad and brothers and sisters and then you go to your uncle’s house [Alabama] and see your cousins,” Smith explained. “Your mom and dad may not be there but people you care about are still there. It’s not your house, but it’s your uncle’s house.”
It won’t be easy to flip the nation’s No. 3 weakside defensive end from Georgia. He’s been committed to the Bulldogs for over a year now and is seen as the leader of their 2019 class.
But, Alabama has made a dent in Georgia’s grasp on Smith. How would he classify Alabama’s chances of flipping him?
“It’s a big chance,” Smith said. “Both teams were just in the national championship and Alabama has a great squad and a great group of guys. They are known to put outside linebackers in the NFL.”
And would he consider himself 100 percent committed to UGA?
Why that answer?
“That’s undisclosed, also.”
Alabama is “for sure” getting Smith back on campus for an official visit in the future, so the Tide will have at least one more shot at hosting the 5-star prospect before he finalizes his decision.
Miss a previous edition? Find every post of SEC Country’s daily Roll Tide-ings recruiting notebook right here .
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