SANFORD, N.C. --- Jahmir Smith proudly boasts two impressive labels; the 6-foot, 200-pounder is a 4.0 student and a 2,000-yard rusher. That combination has attracted some of the nation's most prestigious academic institutions in the form of seven scholarship offers and a lengthy list of inquires. North Carolina has hosted the Lee County product twice in the past six months.
"Jahmir is an awesome, driven young man that happens to be really good at footballl," Lee County assistant coach Foster Cates said. "His overall perspective of life, football, [and] college, it's not normal. It's not what you see in a 17-year old kid. He has a 4.0 GPA. He wants to be an anesthesiologist. He has it figured out. He's going to have most of this [core] high school classes done this semester.
"On the football field, he's 200 pounds and he's 6-feet and he can go 75 [yards] on you. You can tell him, 'Hey man, stick your nose in there and get me three [yards],' and he's going to stick his foot in the ground, go north-and-south, and get you three. He's very fun to coach. He's a great team player."
Smith began his career at crosstown rival Southern Lee, where he was a reserve running back as a sophomore. He transferred to Lee County for his junior year and immediately became the Yellow Jackets starting running back. The move proved to be fruitful: he rushed for 2,130 yards and 40 touchdowns -- with a 6.7-yard average -- for a 12-2 team.
Smith has received scholarship offers from Appalachian State, East Carolina, NC State, Northwestern, Ohio, Old Dominion, and Wisconsin. Meanwhile, Duke, Navy, North Carolina, South Carolina, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, and Ivy Leaguers Harvard and Princeton have expressed strong interest.
"If you look at the FBS schools, I think most of them are going to be the top academic ones in their conference," Cates said.
And Smith will push schools with a high academic reputation to the front of the line.
"I've said to him, 'If you're the best player, the best student, and best person in the room, then you're in the wrong room,'" Cates said. "'You need to go someplace where you're going to be challenged.' And that's what he's going to do."
Smith believes UNC is a school that will challenge him on and off the field. He returned to Chapel Hill -- he previously attended last season's home opener -- for January's junior day in hopes of receiving a scholarship offer status update.
"I've talked to some of their coaches, they really like his film," Cates said. "I don't know where they are as far as the offer process goes."
Some of UNC's uncertainty stems from it lacking a running back coach for nearly two weeks. DeAndre Smith filled the vacancy a week ago.
Besides UNC, Smith has visited Appalachian State, Duke, NC State, and Virginia Tech.
"I want to go visit everyone," Smith said. "I have to make my visits before I [name favorites]."
Smith already has his flight booked for a mid-March visit to Wisconsin. Meanwhile, he's putting the finishing touches on travel plans to Navy and Virginia.
Smith has already decided to be an midterm enrollee... Smith's mother works at UNC hospital.