Kirby Smart shares his initial impressions of early enrollees Nolan Smith, Jermaine Johnson
It would be fair to say Georgia made a clean sweep of overall No. 1 prospects for the 2019 recruiting cycle.
By signing the nation’s No. 1 overall high school prospect in five-star Nolan Smith out of IMG Academy and the nation’s No. 1 junior college prospect in four-star Jermaine Johnson out of Independence Community College, Georgia looks to be getting instant impact from two of the newest faces on campus. Both players can play either defensive end or outside linebacker positions in a pass rushing mold.
Even better for the Dawgs, both players enrolled early and are participating in spring practice in Athens.
According to their head coach, both players came in on a mission and that has revealed itself on the practice field. Here’s what Kirby Smart had to say on Tuesday when discussing these two young defenders.
“I’ve seen hunger out of both of those guys. They don’t know exactly what to do yet, but man they do it hard. There’s something to be said for that,” Smart said. “We’re going to play kids at the University of Georgia who give effort and play hard and do the right things. Those two guys, they play hard. They don’t know what they’re doing yet, and that’s our job.”
While they are both out there playing hard and have made what Kirby calls “Super Man plays” during practice, both newcomers are also on a steep learning curve if they plan on seeing the field early in 2019. Thankfully, the coaching staff has plenty of time to work with each of them to get their minds caught up with their bodies and effort on the field.
“I’m very thankful they’re here for (these) 15 practices,” Smart continued. “I mean Nolan has flashed some plays. He made a helluva hit today and a really good play. He’s also flashed some ‘What are you doing?’ Jermaine has been the same play. We call them ‘Super Man plays,’ where you look out there and say ‘Who is that guy? Who is that jersey number?’ But then they’re lost some too. I’m fired up to coach those two guys because I’m excited about what they’re going to do to the guys in front of them from a pushing standpoint.”
Photo credit: UGA Athletics