Nolan Smith’s season is over, a huge loss for the top-ranked Georgia Bulldogs. Smith left this weekend’s game with a shoulder injury and has since been diagnosed with a torn pectoral.

The pectoral muscles sit at the top of the chest and connect at the shoulder. It’s unclear if Smith’s injury is to the muscle itself of to the pectoral tendon, which connects the muscle to the shoulder joint. This is an important distinction because a torn tendon will often require surgery and can take longer to heal.

It has already been reported that Smith will undergo surgery, which makes me think it is the tendon that is damaged.

Smith is a key piece on the Bulldog’s dominating defense as they look to defend their title. He has 18 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 1 pass break-up and 1 quarterback hurry through eight games this season. Smith is a projected first round pick in the 2023 NFL draft. While he is unlikely to be fully recovered by the time the combine rolls around, this isn’t an injury that should affect him into next season. Teams should not hesitate to draft him based on this injury.

When asked about Smith’s impact, Georgia Coach Kirby Smart said: “Nolan is a natural leader. He’s been that way since I met him when he was in eighth grade and he came up here to camp. He’s been a natural leader. His leadership is more important than his ability, and his ability is pretty strong. He creates a toughness about the he holds people to a standard of the way you strike blocks, the way you close on counters, the way you rush with effort, special teams, I mean, he plays on all special teams. He’s just a core guy.”

There have been quite a few NFL players to suffer the same injury in recent years, including T.J. Watt and J.J. Watt.