Smith-Williams: "It's Where I Want To Be"

Raleigh (NC) Millbrook linebacker James Smith-Williams had been convinced that he would be playing college football away from home.

Raleigh (NC) Millbrook linebacker James Smith-Williams had been convinced that he would be playing college football away from home.

At least that was the case early in his recruitment.

"It's kind of ironic that I'm going to State because I always thought I'd leave to play ball," said Smith-Williams. "But, it's where I want to be."

Smith-Williams called the NC State coaches on Tuesday to talk about an upcoming unofficial but instead elected to commit to the Wolfpack.

"They had been leading for a while," he said. "I wanted to make sure it was the right fit for me and after talking a lot about it with my mom I knew that it was.

"When I told them I wanted to commit I could tell they were excited. Coach Doeren was real happy and coach Huxtable was excited too. They said they now have me and Riley [Nicholson] and are basically done at linebacker.

"Right now I'm a little undersized so I think they will use more more in pass coverage and to blitz the quarterback... that's my favorite thing to do."

NC State had recently informed Smith-Williams that they were likely looking to take just one more linebacker commitment. Did that impact his decision?

"Well, it just made me announce it a little bit earlier," he stated. "I knew it was the right choice for me, so why keep waiting?"

Smith-Williams wasn't a known recruit back in the spring, but he participated in NC State's opening camp session where he impressed the Wolfpack coaches with his performance.

"I measured in at 6-foot-4 and 208 pounds, and I ran the 40 in 4.53 seconds," he said at the time. "I also had a 10'3 broad jump so I think I did pretty well. That was really the first combine where I got my numbers at."

He picked up an offer following his workout and also added an offer from Boston College after camping with the Eagles.

What led to him picking the Wolfpack?

I liked the coaching staff a lot," he said. "Coach Doeren, coach Huxtable... both are great guys."

A terrific student who will enroll in January, Smith-Williams has scored a 30 on the ACT and has an unweighted 3.9 GPA with a 4.9 weighted GPA.

Academics also played a role in his decision.

"I met with the academic advisor for the Bio-Medical department and liked what they have to offer there because I want to major in Bio-Medical Engineering."

Now he will turn his attention to helping the Wolfpack land other top prospects and he doesn't have to go far to do that. Millbrook teammate Marcus Marshall also has an offer from NC State.

"I think State has a really good shot," said Smith-Williams. "I've felt like we were kind of a package deal and wanted to go to college together. We've taken almost all of our visits together and are real close friends. I hope we can get him too."

Smith-Williams will be back on NC State's campus no Friday for an unofficial visit where he expects to meet some other commitments.

"I know Quentez [Johnson] is supposed to be there and Riley [Nicholson]," he said. "I'm not sure who else though. It should be fun."

With his decision behind him, Smith-Williams can now focus on his senior season. Last year he had over 70 tackles and 10 tackles for a loss for Millbrook.

"It's nice," he said. "I can now focus on this upcoming season and doing what's best for Millbrook these next couple of months.

"We start practice next Tuesday and I think our first game is August 23rd. I'm going to be used about the same way I was last year... as a SAM linebacker. I'll also play some defensive end too... it just depends on what we need."

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