Last week after IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) got stunned in a preseason scrimmage loss to Columbia (Lake City, Fla.) in the Kickoff Classic, Tigers linebacker Jaylen Brown said the Ascenders, the top-ranked team in the Super 25, would have to, among other things, tighten up on their pass defense if they were going to live up to the preseason hype.
Makes sense since the Tigers threw for more than 200 yards and five touchdowns in route to a 33-13 first half lead.
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Clearly, IMG defensive end Nolan Smith got the memo, and his logic appeared to be simple: The quarterback can’t complete passes when he’s running for his life.
Smith, a Georgia commit who is ranked No. 3 overall in USA Today Sports’ Chosen 25, was all over the field in the first half, racking up seven tackles and a sack to set the tone for a 42-0 romping of Pine-Richland (Pa.) Friday night.
Smith terrorized the Rams all night, wreaking havoc in the backfield and dropping running backs in abundance.
Easy to understand why Clemson and Alabama are still applying pressure trying to get Smith to flip his commitment.
As it stands the Bulldogs seem firm in the driver’s seat since they’re currently the only school getting an official visit from Smith; he’s tentatively scheduled to be in Athens the weekend of Nov. 10 when the Bulldogs host Auburn.
Still, expect the Tigers and the Crimson Tide to turn up the heat in their pursuit of Smith; who doesn’t want a player that tosses offensive tackles and running backs around like ragdolls and power cleans 330 pounds.
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY