Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.) outside linebacker Nick Smith certainly has the bloodlines. The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder, who added an offer from Maryland Feb. 18, has a father, Fernando Smith, who played eight season in the NFL. Smith’s uncle, meanwhile, is Robaire Smith, who starred in the League for 11 seasons with the Browns, Texans and Titans.
“You know, it’s great having them around,” said Nick Smith, who now has offer from UMD, Nebraska, UNC, FAU, Louisville, Cincinnati, Indiana and others. “My dad, he’s always on me about working hard on the field and in the classroom. He keeps me straight. And my uncle, he went to Michigan State and he gives me a lot of recruiting advice. So it’s great to have both of them, two guys that made it in the NFL and played for a long time. They can tell me how they got there and succeeded, and what I have to do to reach that level too. I know how hard I have to work to accomplish what they did.”
Smith is off to a great start. He’s coming off a junior campaign where he recorded 91 tackles, six sacks, 24 tackles for loss and a pick. Moreover, Smith has solid grades in the classroom, and a growing offer list to boot.
His recent scholarship came from the Terps and linebackers coach Matt Barnes. Barnes actually offered Smith’s teammate, Robert Porcher, who has NFL bloodlines of his own, just minutes before as well.
“When I first got the offer I was pretty excited, but it was even better when I found out that they offered my teammate too,” Smith said. “I called Coach Barnes after our 7-on-7 practice and he gave me the news. We talked about what I was looking for in a college, and he was asking me a few questions about myself. Then at the end he said, ‘I want to let you know you have an offer from Maryland and we offered your teammate as well.’ So I was real excited. It’s a school I’m going to be looking into.”
Smith said he and Barnes didn’t have an extended conversation. Mainly, they discussed what Barnes liked about Smith’s game and his potential role at Maryland.
“We didn’t really talk about the school much, so I have to research them to learn more,” Smith said. “I do know Maryland has a new staff and they’re Under Armour. I love the Maryland uniforms; I’ve never seen anything like them.
“And my dad played in Baltimore, with the Ravens, for one season (in 1999), so I know some of the area up there. I remember it being nice up there and liking it, but it was cold (laughs).”
Even before landing the offer, Smith and Porcher had discussed the possibility of attending the same college. The Terps joined Louisville, FAU, Indiana and Cincinnati in giving the two defenders that opportunity.
“Me and Robert have been looking into going to the same school. We both have similar offer lists and are looking at a lot of the same places,” Smith said. “We’re good friends and we have a good relationship. We’ve visited a lot of the same places so far, and we’ll be visiting Maryland together too. But at the same time, we do have to see what the best fit is for us individually.”
Smith said the two probably wouldn’t be able to visit College Park, Md., until later during the spring. First, they’ll be trekking through UNC, which could be on the verge of offering the pair, April 2, with potential trips to South Carolina and Florida also on tap.
Smith, and Porcher for that matter, have already seen UCF; Georgia Tech; and Auburn. The linebacker himself has also taken in his uncle’s alma mater, Michigan State.
“Right now it’s still early in the process, and I’m taking my time and checking out these schools,” said Smith, who has no intention of committing before his senior season. “I don’t really have a preference for conference or a dream school or anything like that. Big Ten, SEC, ACC – I like them all.”