"Coach said this scrimmage is going to determine who starts and who is where," Smith said. "I just had a good scrimmage. I just got the feel for the game."
During the following offseason, Smith was moved from rush end to "stud" tackle – still a five-technique but on the opposite side.
"I had more responsibilities than I had my sophomore year," Smith said. "Basically, I just have a nose for the quarterback and that's what I love to do. But I also had to stop the run."
The move had little effect on Smith. He ended his junior season with 117 tackles, 25 sacks, two forced fumbles, two pass break-ups, and 44 QB hurries. In addition to repeating as all-conference and all-county selections, he was named to the Associated Press All-State Team.
With Smith's help on defense, West Rowan went 15-1 and defeated West Craven in the NCHSAA 3A State Championship.
At the collegiate level, Smith could make another position change. He is being recruited for both defensive end and linebacker.
"When I went to Wake Forest camp in June, I did a little bit of outside linebacker," Smith said. "I loved that – how you cover the running backs and more responsibility. I think I could get the job done."
Scott Young, West Rowan's head football coach, believes Smith could easily make the transition to linebacker.
"His athleticism is going to compensate for a lot," Young said. "He could easily make that change on the collegiate level."
Smith has already collected scholarship offers from Duke and East Carolina. He is also receiving strong interest from Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, LSU, Michigan State, North Carolina, NC State, and Wake Forest.
"Upside is the word you hear with Chris," Young said. "He runs a good forty. His vertical jump is out of the water. His broad jump is out of the water. He's got long arms, long feet. He's only 6-2, but he's young [for his grade] so I think he'll grow some more."
Wake Forest's one-day camp was the lone camp Smith attended last summer. This summer, however, he plans to attend several camps including making stops at LSU and UNC.
Smith has already hit the junior day circuit hard. This past weekend, he attended junior days at Clemson, East Carolina, and NC State. He has also attended Duke's and Wake Forest's Junior Days, and plans to travel to Athens for Georgia's upcoming junior day.
On the heels of a great East Carolina visit, Smith is favoring the Pirates.
"ECU is one on the top of my list," Smith said. "They just treated me like I was at home when I visited [Sunday]. I liked the campus. Coach Skip [Holtz], he's a nice guy. I like the program – they won the conference championship last year."
Smith plans to make a verbal commitment before the start of his senior football season.
"I want to get everything out of the way and just worry about my senior year," Smith said.