"He said they're looking for a big time ‘back like me and they need me up in their offense," said Smith. "[He said] I'd love to play there at their stadium."
Pagano is attempting to get Smith up to Chapel Hill for an unofficial visit and is specifically targeting the Tar Heels' Spring Game. However, distance is working against UNC.
"I'm going to see what I can do," said Smith. "I'm going to see if I can make that drive or something."
However because of their proximity, Smith has been able to attend junior days at Florida, Florida Atlantic, and Florida State. He's strongly considering the Gators' Spring Game – which is the same day as UNC's – and also unofficially visiting Clemson before the end of spring.
Pagano will make it down to South Florida during the May Evaluation Period and plans to make a stop at Armwood possibly bearing a UNC scholarship offer.
"He's talking about coming down and speaking to me and most likely offering me," said Smith.
Smith has also already been offered by Auburn, Central Florida, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and South Florida.
However, he has yet to establish a list of favorites.
"I want to wait and see what schools come to the table with an offer," said Smith.
Over the summer, though, Smith will sit down with his head coach and parents and narrow his list of options to five schools.
"It's already been set that we're going to evaluate each school during the summer," said Smith. "[We're going to look at] the depth charts, what offense I fit in best, where I fit in academically – stuff like that."
While he figures to exit the summer with his final five, Smith doesn't plan on making a verbal commitment until Signing Day.
After accumulating over 1,600 yards and 25 scores on the ground as a sophomore, Smith headed into his junior season with plenty of promise. However, a freak injury in the first game halted all the hype – at least temporally.
"It was a play where the ball wasn't really supposed to come to me," explained Smith. "I was standing there, the quarterback panicked and threw the ball to me. I should have went outside, but I went inside. I got hit and as I got hit my arm was under me. I fell on it and fractured it."
Smith missed the next nine games, but was able to return for the last game of the regular season and played in both playoff games.
While Smith assures that his elbow is back to 100-percent, he says it hurts "from time-to-time" requiring him to take pain relievers.
Despite only playing in four games, Smith rushed for 600 yards and 12 touchdowns.