"He's done a lot," Smith said of his father, Mordecai Smith. The elder Smith played wide receiver for N.C. State in the late 1970s. "He taught me how to catch when I was real little and basically taught me how to run routes and everything a receiver should know. So he basically groomed me at an early age so I am what I am now."
Smith has impressed Kempsville head coach Jeff McGowan with the work ethic he has displayed in his first three years at Kempsville. He not only works hard on the field, but in the classroom as well.
"First off, we always work on our grades," Smith said. "Secondly, we go hard in the weight room. After the weight room, the passing league is right around the corner. We get out, run routes and basically just work hard in the weight room and agilities. I've been growing up around the game, so basically I'm used to all the hard work in the off-season. It's just a regular routine thing."
What has really helped the 6-2, 195-pound Smith on the field has been to work with University of Tennessee senior C.J. Fayton. Fayton, who hails from Virginia Beach as well and attended Princess Anne High School, played wide receiver for the Volunteers.
"Working with C.J. was real nice," Smith said. "He brought a lot of things that he learned at Tennessee to teach us. I just worked with him a little bit and he taught a lot of habits like movements with my hands and head-fakes and those sorts of things. Working with him I think stepped my game up to another level because it helped me read defenses and to do the little things that make a good receiver."
The combination of size, skill, athleticism, speed and work ethic has helped Smith garner national attention on the recruiting scene. He has official scholarship offers from East Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Maryland, N.C. State (first school to offer), Tennessee, Virginia and Virginia Tech. Michigan State, Notre Dame and Ohio State have verbally offered while Clemson and Florida State are among the schools showing serious interest as well.
"It's not overwhelming, but it has been a lot and I just try to take it as it comes," Smith said of the recruiting attention.
To help ease the pressure of his senior year, Smith hopes to make a verbal commitment by the end of summer.
"It's the plan," Smith said. "We're going to take this summer and look at my options and see what's on the table. I'll make a decision based on what's good for me and my academics."
While Smith is willing and anxious to check out other programrs, one school that figures to be strong in this race is North Carolina State.
"Yeah, I've been going to N.C. State's camp since the 8th grade and I'm basically used to the system they run down there and they've known me since I was little," Smith said. "But, the schools I'm interested in are of course N.C. State, Miami – that's one of my favorite colleges, Notre Dame, Clemson... basically all the ACC schools."
As for the in-state 1A programs, Smith says "I'm going to consider Virginia Tech and Virginia. Both are very nice programs and I'm going to check those two out as well."
Smith, who is eyeing a major in Architecture, says location could be a factor in his collegiate decision.
"Location is a big deal right now," Smith said. "Right now, I don't think I want to go across too many states. My parents want to come see my games too, so it might not make sense for me to have to go all the way down to Florida or something. I would like to find a college closer to Virginia."
Smith has yet to take any unofficial visits but, according to his father, will attend the spring games next month at Virginia and Virginia Tech. Smith and his father will take many more unofficial visits throughout the spring and summer in hopes of reaching a decision before the start of school.
In the meantime, Smith, who will be at the Army All-American combine in Durham this weekend, is focusing on preparing for his senior season – a season he feels will be a special one.
"I'm really looking forward to this season because I know we can go far," Smith said. "People talk in Salem and Ocean Lakes, but Kempsville's going to be the team to beat next year. I'll just put that bug in everybody's ear."