NC State linebacker’s coach Andy McCollum has ties to Dublin (Ga) High School that helped pave the way to a Wolfpack commitment from linebacker Thomas Barnes in the class of 2007. Barnes would go on to play in 10 games as a true freshman while logging 14 tackles and 1.5 sacks along the way. McCollum has targeted Dublin yet again in 2008 and has his sights set on landing another of the Fighting Irish’s top rising seniors.
At 5-10, 173 pounds and boasting 4.5-second speed in the 40-yard dash, QB/DB Rashard Smith was a do-it-all athlete for Dublin that tallied better than 2,500 yards on offense from his QB spot while collecting 59 tackles and nine interceptions on defense, one of which was returned for a touchdown. For his efforts Smith was named middle Georgia player of the year, 4-AA player of the year, Atlanta Journal Constitution all-state and the 2A state defensive player of the year.
Despite being one of the top prep players in the state of Georgia, ironically, Smith boasts three offers from the state of North Carolina with NC State, Wake Forest and UNC all making early pledges.
Smith had a chance to attend junior day at NC State a few weeks ago and came away with his initial up-close look at the Wolfpack’s football program.
“I liked NC State,” said Smith. “They have nice facilities. The football facilities are strictly for football. They work on getting you flexible and they do things together just like a football team should. They want me for defensive back most likely but they like me as an athlete just like I play in high school.”
Smith has also developed a strong relationship with coach McCollum- a connection that goes back a couple of years.
“I like coach Mac because my tenth grade year, when he wasn’t coaching anywhere, he used to come down to our practices all the time,” said Smith. “I was starting on defense then and we had nine other seniors starting so he always called me the puppy of the defense. We’ve just been joking about that ever since. We talk every now and then.”
Smith is also familiar with Wolfpack LB Thomas Barnes and Barnes apparently has done his part to try to convince Smith to run with the Pack.
“Thomas Barnes is there and I talked to him,” he said. “ He’s trying to get me to come up there. I ask him questions about it and he tells me I need to come up there and play.”
In addition to State, UNC and Wake Forest, Smith is also hearing steadily from Auburn, Alabama and Florida State. With a couple of trips already behind him, Smith is looking forward to visiting Tallahassee in the near future.
“I’ve already been to Clemson,” said Smith. “I was supposed to go to Auburn on March 29th but we were playing basketball. I’m going to Florida State next weekend.”
As for favorites, Smith says he’s nowhere near naming a favorite and is simply gathering information on potential schools.
“They are all even right now,” he said. “I’m just going into my senior season with a level head. I’ll probably take some official visits before I make a decision.”