Smith Leading Hillside into Conference Play

After a well deserved bye week, Durham (N.C.) Hillside opens up conference play Friday with their eyes set on their first goal – a PAC 6 Conference title.

"Everything's going pretty good, right now," said Jonathan Smith. "We're 3-1, we're coming off a loss, but we're heading into a new season [Friday] – our conference games. We had a lot of time to prepare for our first conference game with our bye week, so we're ready to go out there Friday."

With at least three Division I-A recruits on their roster (including Smith, who committed to North Carolina in April), expectations were high for Hillside heading into the season. So, when the Hornets lost to Ramseur (N.C.) Eastern Randolph, 37-14, head coach Ray Harrison made sure his players worked hard on the practice field the past two weeks.

"I think practice was a little harder because of the loss, but also because it's conference time," said Smith. "Everyone has taken it a little more serious."

Smith leads the Hillside defense from his outside linebacker position where he has totaled 25 tackles and three sacks. The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder doubles as a tight end, but with his importance on the defense, Smith hasn't seen very much time on offense.

"Right now, the focus with me is defense," said Smith. "Our offense is doing pretty good right now. When it comes time, we'll definitely make a change to our offense [and add me]."

Position wise, things aren't so certain with the coaches at North Carolina once Smith arrives in Chapel Hill.

"Right now, they're still going to be using me as a linebacker," said Smith. "With my speed, most likely when they go into nickel packages and dime, I'll come in as a defensive back."

Before arriving in Chapel Hill, the UNC coaches are counting on Smith to assist with the recruitment of teammate and friend, Greg Little.

"I've definitely been trying to help out," said Smith. "I just got to keep getting him back to the campus as much as I can so he can feel more comfortable with Carolina.

"I think I'm doing pretty good. I have a lot of work ahead of me, though. We could definitely use him."

Although he missed the Furman game, Smith was on hand for UNC's games against Virginia Tech and Rutgers.

"It's a great atmosphere [in Kenan Stadium]," said Smith. "The fans just go crazy; they love football players, they love everything about the team and all that."

Smith plans to be at almost all of North Carolina's remaining home games.

Jonathan Smith Profile

Inside Carolina Top Stories