Not only did Clemson play host to a pair of uncommitted five-star 2018 prospects last Saturday for the Auburn game — defensive end K.J. Henry and wide receiver Justyn Ross — the nation’s No. 1 offensive and defensive players in the 2019 class made the trip to Death Valley, as well.
Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy five-star defensive end Nolan Smith and Ellenwood (Ga.) Cedar Grove five-star wide receiver Jadon Haselwood — both of whom are currently committed to Georgia for the 2019 class — experienced their first game-day visits to Clemson.
For Smith, it was his first time on Clemson’s campus since he took a visit in June after receiving an offer from the Tigers in May.
“It was good,” Smith told The Clemson Insider. “It was just a fun visit. Me and my family had a real nice time.”
What stood out to Smith about the visit?
“It was most definitely the crowd,” he said.
Smith (6-3, 223) was also highly impressed by Clemson’s defensive performance in the 14-6 win, especially the fact the Tigers totaled 11 sacks.
“It was amazing,” Smith said. “Just guys flying around.”
Before the game, Smith caught up with Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables, whom he has built a strong relationship with. He also spent time with defensive line coach Todd Bates and spoke with head coach Dabo Swinney.
“I talked to coach Swinney, and I talked to coach Venables and coach Bates,” Smith said. “Really all three coaches that’s going to have an impact in my life and my development as a player if I go to Clemson.”
Smith was joined on campus by a few of his teammates at IMG Academy, including two of the Tigers’ most active recruiters, five-star defensive end commitment Xavier Thomas and four-star linebacker commit Mike Jones. Four-star defensive back Brendan Radley-Hiles, a 2018 Nebraska commit, was on hand as well.
“I hang out with those guys all the time. It was just funny seeing them again and seeing them have fun at the game,” Smith said. “It was kind of awkward for us watching the game instead of people watching us play.”
Smith is staying tight-lipped about his recruitment and said he doesn’t have any other visits planned right now.
“I’m just enjoying the process,” he said.
Smith, who committed to Georgia in January, is a consensus top-five defensive end and top-50 overall prospect in the 2019 class according to the major recruiting services. Scout ranks him as the No. 1 overall prospect.