“They just said they were still evaluating me,” Smith said. “They said their (OL) class for 2016 is going to be small, so they’re really being careful with who they offer. They said they were going to watch my full year of film – they hadn’t watched it yet – and they were going to evaluate me as a guard instead of a tackle because that’s what they need in their class.”
Smith started at left tackle this past season for Red Bank Catholic as the Caseys won the NJSIAA Non-Public Group 3 Championship.
“I’m definitely open to [playing guard],” Smith said.
Ten schools have offered Smith. Besides Duke and Wake Forest, he has collected offered from Connecticut, Miami, Old Dominion, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, and Vanderbilt.
After touring the three N.C. schools two weekends ago, Smith visited Virginia this past weekend. Those were his only recruiting trips since the end of the football season. Previously, he has visited Boston College, Penn State, Miami, Rutgers, Syracuse, and Virginia.
“I don’t really know who’s sticking out,” Smith said. “I’m still evaluating everything and seeing what my options are. But I like a lot of the schools that I’ve visited so far.”
The absence of an offer has put UNC at a disadvantage.
“I like it a lot,” Smith said. “It’s a school that hasn’t offered me, so they’re not equal to the other schools that I’m interested in. But at the same time, it was awesome. I really enjoyed my time there.”
Smith spent just a couple of hours at UNC two Fridays ago. The majority of that time was with Chris Kapilovic, the Tar Heels’ offensive line coach.
“He talked about where they were at, what they were looking for this year, and how last season went,” Smith said. “He talked about how we won the state championship and some teams that we’ve played and some guys that he knew on the team, like Tommy Hatton one of his commits was on the St. Joseph’s Montvale team that we played. He also talked about the technique that would be important for me to develop.”
Hatton is the latest in an offensive linemen pipeline UNC has built into New Jersey. Besides playing him every season, Hatton and Smith have also attended a lot of the same camps. Smith is also familiar with Brad Henson – the two trained with a mutual friend.
Smith’s UNC visit also included a meeting with Larry Fedora.
“Coach Fedora was just really positive about what they think of me,” Smith said. “He said they’re excited about me. And then he just talked about the direction that the programwas headed, the quality of kids, the quality of the school, and the alumni connections that you have after you graduate. He said they’re building good men in that program.”
Before departing, Smith was given a full campus tour.
“I liked that the stadium was right on campus,” Smith said. “Everything was kind of centrally located. It was a cool school for sure. It was nice.”