"Coach Vic coached one of my coaches back at Clemson," Smith said. "So like there's been a bond. It's been a long time before he offered."
That bond will lead Smith to visit Chapel Hill some time in the coming months.
"I'm going to go up and visit and see what it's like," Smith said. "I know it's one of the top programs in the nation in academics."
Sixteen schools have offered Smith, including Auburn, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and UCLA.
In addition to UNC, Smith plans to schedule first-time trips to Mississippi and UCLA, as well as a return visit to Clemson for a Tigers' Junior Day.
Smith has already visited Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Wake Forest. Those trips haven't yielded a leader or anything resembling a favorite schools list.
"Everything is pretty much even right now," Smith said. "I'm just looking for a place where I feel at home, a great coaching staff, and a great game day atmosphere. And I want some place where I can go in and play early."
According to Smith, Koenning pictures Smith playing weak-side linebacker within UNC's 4-2-5 defensive scheme.
"I'll play anywhere man," Smith said. "I just want to go anywhere and be involved."
Smith, who was named Georgia Sportswriters Association's AA Defensive Player-of-the-Year, started at outside linebacker for the West squad during Georgia's Rising Seniors Bowl last week.