Nolan Smith, the No. 2 player in the Chosen 25, is about much more than just football.
In an interview at the All-American Bowl, conversation ranged from slightly outdated video games to Georgia-based rappers to biochemical engineering.
And yes, it also touched upon the football field.
But just like the week of bowl activities, there was much more than just the sport. Starting with the player lounge for the high school stars:
“Man, it’s nice. It’s dope … (It has) everything you could think of,” Smith said over the phone. “Big pillows, bean bags, chairs, couches, the games, shoes, hats.”
Xboxes, Nintendos, PlayStation Portables. There’s Mario Kart. And moving closer to check out the game consoles, there’s a slim white rectangle resting among the others.
“The Wii — Wii Sports,” Smith said. “You know, they don’t sell that no more! But we were bowling.”
Smith said he consistently bowls 300 on the Wii.
In real life?
“I ain’t gonna do that on nothing else,” he said. “I’m aight. I bowl like a smooth 175.”
But mainly, the guys sit there talking and laughing. Smith is particularly tight with Jadon Haselwood, the No. 4 player in the Chosen 25.
Haselwood was at one point committed to Georgia, the school that Smith signed with, and that school is still among his top choices. The defensive end insisted he isn’t recruiting the star wide receiver to join him.
“Jadon’s my dog,” Smith said. “I ain’t gonna push him to go nowhere man, I’m happy with his decision no matter what … No matter where he go, Imma pull up on him.”
The two dogged each other in interviews – from Smith, “Jadon thinks he’s a little Kevin Hart.”
Haselwood: “Nolan’s boujee, man. He’s a Jay-Z type of dude. He gonna come in with Gucci bags.”
Speaking of Gucci, Smith knows Gucci Mane.
The two high school football players are acquainted with lots of stars in the southeast area.
“Any really celebrity in Georgia, I’ve met,” Smith said. “Gucci Mane, Migos, Waka Flocka.”
At this point, Smith and Haselwood are close enough with the rappers that there’s no sense of being star-struck.
“They’re not celebrities to me cause I already knew them,” Haselwood said. “We just treat each other regular.”
That doesn’t mean they’re about to take up rapping, though.
“I wanna go to school, I want to get my education. Rap, you don’t make no money. That’s fake money,” Smith said.
One of the athletes listening in on the other side of the line – either Haselwood or Chosen 25 running back Trey Sanders – piped in by mentioning Tekashi 6ix9ine.
“Where 69 at? He rapping, and he in jail, locked up. If I get my biochemical engineering degree, I won’t never be in a situation he in,” Smith said.