Smith Planning Visits

North Carolina pledge Andre Smith is working on returning to Chapel Hill during the football season.

“I don’t have anything on paper, but I want to go to the Virginia Tech game, because one of my former teammates is now a true freshman starter for Virginia Tech [Isaiah Ford],” Smith said. “I just want to get up there and be able to see him and also be at Carolina at the same time.

“And I want to take my official for the NC State game.”

Smith, a 6-foot, 238-pound linebacker from Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian, is in the planning stages for both visits.

“I’m going to talk to Coach [Dan] Disch about it, but I’m trying to plan it out with my parents right now,” Smith said. “I’m just making sure[my parents’] schedules are clear and everything like that.”

Thus far this year, Smith has visited UNC for the Tar Heels’ spring game, as well as Fedora’s Freak Show in June.

“My favorite visit so far was the Freak Show,” Smith said. “I got to work with Coach Ron West – or Big Daddy as they call him. I just felt like getting the opportunity to work with your future coach, instead of sitting on the sidelines, I think that’s a big bonus. I got to see how he truly coaches and how he prepares. I got to go through a lot of the drills that he has his linebackers go through. It was good to experience that.

“During the spring game, it was nice to see Carolina back in action. I got to see the new team and how they’re going to play. I got to see Travis Hughes, Ryan [Switzer] even though he didn’t do much just catching punts, and also some of the incoming freshmen like M.J. Stewart – he had a couple picks in that spring game.”

Another highlight of the Freak Show occurred once it concluded. Larry Fedora gathered the campers at midfield and then asked the verbal commitments in attendance to stand behind him.

“It was very exciting to see my future teammates – the guys I’m going to go through a lot of pain with and a lot of good times with over the next four years,” Smith said. “It was good to have that moment with them. And then having new guys jump on board like Juval [Mollette], Jay Davis, and Nick Polino – it was a great experience.”

Speaking of Polino, he and Smith were opponents on the football field for a nationally broadcasted game a few weeks ago.

“He was like talking to me [during the game],” Smith said. “There would be a TV timeout and he would be talking to me. My teammates would be mad like, ‘Why are you talking to him?’

“It was cool to play against him. He’s a beast. He’s an absolute beast. All those boys [at Buford] are beasts. I felt like he was the best on the O-line. I hate to say this, but he was serving up pancakes, but he didn’t get me.”

Smith might not have been pancaked by one of Polino’s blocks, but the two crossed paths several times during the game.

“He’s really one of the best O-lineman I’ve played against,” Smith said. “We went up against each other plenty of times and then afterwards he’d pat me on the head and just said ‘Good job. Way to fight back.’”

UNC may not be the only school that Smith visits. He’s considering dropping by a Central Florida, Florida, or Florida State game since they aren’t too far from his home. Furthermore, he’s looking into official visits to Miami, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and maybe South Carolina.

Being a close friend of Ronnie Harrison, who switched his commitment from UNC to Alabama after visiting the Crimson Tide as a UNC pledge, Smith is familiar with the soft commitment process and its potential outcomes.

Smith says the UNC coaching staff need not worry about him.

“Carolina has been there since Day One,” Smith said. “They came right after my sophomore year. I feel like that these other schools are just now offering me, but North Carolina has seen something in me for a long time. I feel like [UNC] has a plan and they actually want me and need me. I want to take these visits to take advantage of the opportunity that I’ve been blessed with.”

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