Former Georgia edge rusher Nolan Smith loved seeing the support from his former teammates after his NFL Combine performance earlier this month. After Smith posted an official time of 4.39 seconds in the 40-yard dash, video emerged of several Bulldogs players cheering him on back in Athens.
Smith’s time was the fastest among all defensive ends and edge rushers who participated, boosting his draft stock according to ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. In a recent appearance on The Pat McAfee Show, Smith explained what it meant to see his former teammates so excited for his success.
“My first thought was, ‘man, that’s amazing,'” he said. “The guys that were in the locker room just sitting there watching us run — me and (Robert Beal Jr.) — after practice. Because those Tuesdays at Georgia are crazy. Just to see those guys excited for me after all those weeks of me getting excited for them, it was great.”
Smith is projected to go No. 12 overall to the Houston Texans according to Kiper’s latest mock draft. He played eight games for Georgia in 2022 before suffering an injury that caused him to miss the rest of the season, including the Bulldogs’ second straight national championship victory.
The year before in 2021, Smith finished fifth on the team with 56 tackles (eight for loss) along with 4.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and one interception. He credited what he deemed “Bloody Tuesdays” at Georgia for helping prepare him to make an impact in the NFL.
“Bloody Tuesdays at Georgia,” he said. “The work get put in the bucket. The sweat get put in the bucket on Tuesdays. That’s the secret around Georgia. That’s the key to the secret sauce. …It’s physical football. Build toughness, character and just molds men.”
WATCH: Georgia players react to Nolan Smith’s impressive showing at NFL Combine
Nobody was excited about the time more than Smith’s former Georgia teammates. Those not making the jump to the NFL and looking to three-peat gathered in Athens to watch Smith run the 40-yard dash. Everybody knew from the break an impressive time was about to be recorded.
Marvin Jones Jr. caught the room’s reaction during an Instagram Live. When the 4.44 number was shown on NFL Network, everyone went crazy in celebration. Teammates supporting teammates — that’s something you love to see.
Following his big performance at the combine, Smith will hope to hear his name called early in the first round when the NFL Draft begins on April 27 in Kansas City.