Nolan Smith kinna has that Superman vibe, right? He’s got the Clark Kent look with the glasses in his program headshot, he’s studious, and just seems like the kindest, gentlest dude.
Then, the pads go on, the whistle blows, and BOOM – he’s in the backfield faster than a speeding bullet.
Like his comic book mirror, Smith is also familiar with carrying the weight (and maybe burden) of enormous expectations.
He came to Athens as the number one ranked high school recruit in all of America and Georgia football fans seemingly expected him to strap up and win the Bednarik as a true freshman.
This season, as a seasoned junior, he seems to be rising to those lofty expectations, and it started in game one. On Clemson’s first drive in the Duke’s Mayo Classic, facing third down deep in their own territory, the Tigers dropped back to pass looking for a drive-extending first down.
Nolan Smith had different plans. He tore around the end and dropped DJ Uiagalelei for his, and Georgia’s, first sack of the season and his junior season was off and running.
He continued that momentum against South Carolina Saturday night, posting maybe the best game of his career, logging a team-leading eight tackles and 1.5 sacks, with the half-sack resulting in a safety shortly before halftime. His efforts garnered him SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Week honors.
For his heroic efforts, Nolan Smith’s helmet gets a sticker with the iconic Superman shield so everybody knows he is not of this planet.