RANDLEMAN, N.C. --- Considering his history, there’s a 100-percent chance that Jonathan Smith verbally commits prior to the kickoff of his senior football season, he says.
“I’ll do it before the week of our first game,” Smith said. “You never know what’s going to happen during the season – injuries could come up.”
Smith’s Laurinburg (N.C.) Scotland squad opens up the season on Aug. 21 against Hope Mills (N.C.) South View.
Smith, 6-foot, 228-pound linebacker, was promoted to varsity as a sophomore but missed that entire season with a knee injury.
A commitment won’t mark the end of Smith’s recruitment. He plans to take all five of his official visits. Favorites Duke, Georgia Tech, Michigan, UNC, and NC State have been penciled in as destinations.
Smith ascribes his relationship with the coaching staff for UNC’s inclusion on his favorite schools list. He communicates with John Papuchis, UNC’s linebackers coach, on a daily basis and also speaks often with Gene Chizik.
“They just tell me that they want me up there and I’d be an important key to their defense,” Smith said.
During his attendance at Fedora’s Freak Show about a month ago, Papuchis coached Smith for the first time.
“It was good to work with him that night to see how he coaches,” Smith said. “I think he’s a great coach.”
When Smith camped at UNC last summer, he participated in a “regular” one-day camp.
“It was a lot more fun than just a regular camp – there’s not much grinding out and just doing drills,” Smith said. “There’s a lot more competition than a regular camp. At a regular camp they’re just teaching, but there [at the Freak Show] with the competition.”
The exclusive event concluded in the most unique way – with a four-team dodge ball tournament.
“We won,” Smith said with a smile. “We beat the coaches and I knocked out the last person.
“[The dodge ball tournament] was a big surprise, because I thought we were just going to do drills and leave. But they made it pretty fun. That just says that [the coaches] aren’t just all about business – they’re also about having fun and connecting with the players.”
In June, UNC picked up verbal commitments from two outside linebackers. One of them, Tyrone Hopper, has befriended Smith. Thus far, their paths have been in opposite directions – Smith was born in Georgia and later moved to N.C., while Hopper is a North Carolinian living in the Peach State. But along the way, the pair’s paths have crossed during recruiting trips.
“We’ve been talking on and off,” Smith said. “He just tells me I need to come to North Carolina with him.”
Smith Has Decision Timeline
Inside Carolina Top Stories
Brooks Reflects on Recruiting JourneyGarrison Brooks's recruitment was a complicated process with some unexpected turns, but through it all he kept quiet and avoided the media spotlight. On Tuesday evening, UNC's…
Inside CarolinaYesterday at 5:10 PM
Berry ReturningNorth Carolina's junior point guard has withdrawn his name from the NBA draft.
Inside CarolinaYesterday at 3:25 PM
UNC Gets 'X-Factor' in Dyami BrownInside Carolina spoke to West Mecklenburg High head coach Jarvis Davis to learn more about UNC's newest verbal commitment, Dyami Brown.
Inside CarolinaYesterday at 9:37 AM
Heels Land Four-Star AthleteThe Charlotte standout committed on Tuesday.
Inside CarolinaYesterday at 9:03 AM
Bradley Exploring NBA DreamTony Bradley Sr. spoke with Inside Carolina about his son's decision to enter the NBA draft, but not hire an agent, and their plan moving forward.
Inside CarolinaMonday at 8:09 AM