The Michigan State Spartans were closing in on securing a commitment from one of the state's top prospects until this past weekend. Detroit Southeastern wideout Fred Smith was favoring the Green & White heading into his trip to Michigan last Saturday, but his time in Ann Arbor has brought about a change.
"(Michigan) put it on me," Smith said laughing. "I was supposed to have a little press conference type thing (next weekend), but now it doesn't look like I will. I was leaning towards Michigan State before I took my visit. Now I'm like… confused. I'm just taking it one day at a time now."
"I'm still trying to get it done before the season starts," he continued. "Right before the first game of the season. I can see it happening then. I want to make sure I make the right decision. A smart decision. I'll probably do the press conference thing. Lately I've just been taking the recruiting process like yadda yadda yadda. I haven't really put much thought into it. I just really started thinking about it. Now I've really got to make a decision."
Why the sudden change? The Michigan coaching staff delivered an outstanding recruiting pitch, and the tone of the visit was set right away by receivers coach, Erik Campbell.
"Coach Campbell came at me he hardest," Smith recalled. "Basically it was come (to Michigan) and win. He told me all of the things that Michigan had to offer for me. A prestigious education and competing for National Championships. Plus he made it clear that I was going to play."
"I basically talked to all of the coaches," Smith continued. "I talked to Coach Carr later in the day. It was me and my family. We probably spoke with him for almost an hour. He was basically asking me what I'm thinking and what attracted me to another school. He asked me a lot of questions that I didn't have many answers to."
Another topic that was discussed while on campus was the presence of four-star wideout Darryl Stonum in the class. According Smith, it was made clear to him that he would have room to shine regardless of whom else was in the fold, and that Stonum's presence would only help him.
"They told me that without a doubt, wherever I go, they think I would play," he said matter-of-factly. "That's not even a question. They spoke on the other receiver (i.e. Stonum) and they told me that every time they had one good receiver, they always had another good receiver on the other side. Every good receiver at Michigan has always had a partner."
While the visit obviously changed Smith's view of his recruitment, it only confirmed the stance his family had going in.
"My mother, my father, my little brother, my older brother and my older brother's wife went on the visit with me," recalled Smith. "But that wasn't it (laughing). My auntie, my uncle, and my cousin came too. We were deep up there (laughing). They liked it. They liked it a lot. They have their opinion, and they all love Michigan. But they gave me a little space. They haven't been asking me as many questions about it and have been letting me think. Mom let me know it's really my decision. The last couple of days I've just been thinking about it."
One of the things Smith has spent a lot of time sorting out is why he previously had the Spartans on top. After a great deal of thought, he has settled in on a few conclusions.
"If I was leaning toward Michigan State, it was probably like a 55/45 thing," said Smith. "I just hadn't been up to Michigan in so long. I had been to Michigan State a lot more times. I was starting to get a closer bond with the coaches. Now I'm feeling same sort of vibe at Michigan."