Georgia Football: 6 important leaders who must return next year

Nolan Smith celebrates a fumble recovery. (Photo by Steven Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
Nolan Smith celebrates a fumble recovery. (Photo by Steven Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images) /
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Georgia football
Nolan Smith. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

Nolan Smith makes the sacrifice to stay and do something great

Another shocker on this list is defensive end Nolan Smith. Coming out of high school, he was the No.1 overall recruit, so the NFL was inevitable.

It took Smith a little time to get his feet wet and make a statement. Even with 18 tackles his freshman year, 22 his sophomore, and so far 25 his junior year, he has had to grow up a good bit. He also has four tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks this year.

Fans likely think he is gone after this season because he can be and will be another successful Georgia player in the NFL.

However, he could shock the world and choose to stay for one more year. He is someone who will weigh all of his options before making any decision.

So if the remaining five games don’t go how he needs them to, then he could stay. Much like his fellow defensive lineman Travon Walker, another year will only elevate him to the next level.

While he has done well all three years of being in Athens, there is this confidence and something different about him this year. He is playing so free right now. It looks like it comes easy, and as talented as Smith is, it probably does.

So what’s the catch? If this guy is so good, why should he stay for another year — to be a legend and prove it’s not always just about achieving individual goals but accomplishing something as a team.

Even if the Dawgs win it all, why not come back and try to do it again next year? Smith is a leader, and Georgia will need those on defense next season, so he should shock everyone and stick around to see what kind of greatness they can make happen.