On the defensive side of the ball young Dawgs made an impact as well. Although only a teenager and a freshmen, Nolan Smith was a man amongst boys. He was super disruptive, wrecking havoc in the Murray State backfield all game long.
Smith showcased great speed and flexibility. He was consistently able to shoot out of his stance, use his ability to bend and turn the corner into the Racers’ backfield.
Nolan Smith not only showed off his speed edge rushing ability, he also was tremendously effective with his bullrush. There were multiple times in this ballgame, in which Nolan used leverage and brute strength to shove the opposing offensive tackle into the backfield.
Nolan Smith ended the game with just three tackles, but he was far more effective than the numbers show. The number that does pop off of the stat sheet, is the fact that Smith was able to get 1.5 quarterback sacks.
Those quarterback take downs are just the first of many, that Nolan Smith will register in his tenure at UGA. The nation’s number one overall recruit already seems like a special player.
Smith has a chance to go down as the best pass rusher that UGA has seen in years. In fact I think he is a much better player than star edge rusher Leonard Floyd was as a freshman.
Freshman inside linebacker Nakobe Dean saw his first playing time as a Georgia Bulldogs. He did not have to wait until the second half, as he was inserted into the action early.
Dean who was recovering from a sprained ankle played well. He looked fast and fluid as an athlete, with very good closing speed. He finished with three tackles and one tackle for a loss. It was a solid start and I am excited to see more, from the man who many are calling the next Roquan Smith.
The players mentioned, are all certainly a major part of the future of Georgia Football. However with the talent and skill level of those freshmen, the majority of them appear poised to be a significant part of the present as well.
These young players can be major pieces to a championship puzzle this year, as well as help ensure that the Dawgs are in position to complete for SEC and NCAA tiles over the next two to three years. With the level of excellence that coach Kirby Smart and his staff are recruiting at, look for the Georgia Football program to be in the hunt for many, many years.
Congratulations to Coach Vince Dooley on the well earned honor of having the field named after him. Here is to the coach that last led UGA to the NCAA championship, soon witnessing his beloved Georgia Bulldogs winning the National Championship, while playing their games on the field named after him. Go Dawgs!