Nevada DE "honored" with latest offer

This will be another solid year for talent in the Las Vegas area. One of the most talked about players is already holding an offer from hometown UNLV and just received an offer from Nebraska. These two may be early, but they surely won't be the last for this pass rushing machine from the desert.

One of the most talked about recruits this year from the state of Nevada will be Mike Smith. The 6-foot-6.5 and 230 pound defensive end/tight end from Las Vegas (Nev.) Palo Verde put together a solid year last year and is looking for more this coming fall.

"We ran mostly a run-style offense so I didn't get a lot of catches. I had seven receptions for 130 yards and one touchdown," Smith said. "On defense I had 17 sacks, 71 total tackles, nine pass break ups, seven tackles for loss and one forced fumble."

His efforts on the field yielded honors on both sides of the ball. His combined efforts on the field and in the classroom earned him a top honor at his school which recognizes sports as well as academics. Mike holds a 3.5 GPA.

"I earned second team all-conference for tight end and defensive end. I won the Panther Award. It's a team on and off the field award. It is for the best all-around athlete and then in the classroom award."

Mike isn't new to the recruiting scene, although this may be his first update. He is already holding an offer from UNLV and took an unofficial to them this weekend.

"Yeah, actually UNLV offered me a full ride. I just visited them last night (Saturday). I took an unofficial visit there. It was really good, it went great. I didn't commit."

It's a good thing too for Nebraska fans that he didn't commit, because waiting for him today was a letter from Lincoln, Nebr.

"Yeah, I got a letter from Nebraska. They offered me. I just feel honored that they offered. It's a football school and a football town. It's kind of overwhelming right now."

Mike's mom had this to say about the offer, "Nebraska is of course a football tradition. It is an honor to get something like this from them. He already has one offer from UNLV and the coaches at USC said that they are pretty sure that they will be offering. He is also getting looks from Oregon and a couple of other schools. It's really exciting."

One thing that is for sure on Mike is his ability. Some things that people may not realize are his age and the growing that he still has in store before he even sets foot on a college campus. "Mike is only 16, well almost 17, so he has time to get a little heavier a little bigger. Probably by the time he gets out of high school he will be about 250," Mrs. Smith said.

While the offer from Nebraska is an honor it may be more of a shock. While Smith gets regular mail from some schools, he never received anything more than a form letter to fill out from Nebraska. Furthermore, no specific film ever was sent out to Nebraska for Smith.

"They just sent me a couple of form letters to fill out. Nebraska was interested in our quarterback last year and he sent out our film to Nebraska for him. I am guessing that they saw me on the film. Our coach never sent anything specifically on me. He might have sent some notes to look for me, but nothing specific."

Tomorrow Smith has plans to call the Husker coaching staff and will talk to at least three staff members. "During school I am going to call Coach Callahan. I know who Coach Callahan is. I am also going to talk to Coach Blake and Coach Wagner. I was looking on-line and they had a good recruiting year last year."

While he is growing up a little bit closer to the West Coast as opposed to the Midwest, he has had a little bit of an influence by schools closer to him up to this point. "There are some other schools looking at me. There's Oregon, Oregon State, USC, and Arizona State. I have a lot of letters from other places, but these are really the schools that have spoken to my coach."

"Actually I wanted to go to UCLA or Arizona State, but if USC really wanted to take me that would be where I would have to go. I will have to take a look at my actual chances at playing to help determine where I want to go too."

Smith was unable to make a school camp or combine last summer because of baseball. Additionally, word about Smith wasn't going to stay quiet for too long.

"I played baseball last year. My coach really said that it didn't matter whether or not I go and that people were going to find out about me. He said that there were teams that played for him in the past and they went to a Nike combine and it really hurt them. He didn't want me to go. I am going to go to the UNLV camp in May. I don't have any other camps planned."

While Palo Verde doesn't put the ball up in the air a lot, that doesn't stop Smith from being a dominating tight end. His biggest strength is at the point of attack with the defensive lineman. "Blocking for sure. We hardly throw the ball. We maybe throw five times a game. I like to block actually. I'm not really looking to play tight end somewhere (in college)."

While playing tight end in college may not be in the cards for Smith, being a defensive end definitely is. "My pass rush is my biggest strength. I am not the strongest defensive end, but I have good technique and I am smart. I can use my speed to get around a tackle."

Smith already has what you are looking for in a defensive end. He has great height, the ability to put more size on his frame and great athleticism for a big man. He admits that there are some things that he is keying on getting better on before this fall.

"I want to get stronger for sure. I want to gain all-around strong. I am going to focus on my squat and my bench press for sure."

While there are two offers in the bag for Smith, this is just the beginning to something big. This summer Smith plans to still play baseball, but will look into taking some unofficial visits as time permits.

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