Smith Has a 'Blast' in Chapel Hill

Last weekend, Alex Smith took his final major recruiting trip before he makes his collegiate decision. After helping West Chester (Ohio) Lakota West defeat Mason (Ohio) on Friday night, the four-star tight end headed to Chapel Hill for an official visit at UNC.

"Basically, I had a really, really, really great time," Smith said. "Chapel Hill is just really a different place."

Smith, a 6-foot-5, 235-pounder, is down to Cincinnati, UNC, and Wisconsin. He plans to decide between his three finalists in early November.

"I think our team this year is really good," Smith said. "We're going to win out and get a good shot at the playoffs. I feel like I owe it to [my teammates] to have that decision made before playoff time."

Smith says he's not leaning towards any of the final three schools.

"I'm fresh off all these visits and I'm dealing with my cousin in the hospital, so my mom and I haven't had a chance to sit down and talk one-on-one about our personal thoughts," Smith said.

Smith, who has now taken official visits to UNC and Wisconsin, won't officially visit Cincinnati before his decision deadline because he has visited the school countless times, including nearly every home game.

"With Cincinnati, I've been there a lot," Smith said. "[An official visit] is going to come down to if I decide to go there. They want me to do my [official] visit on a weekend after the season, so I can have a full weekend there rather than come on a game week."

Over the summer, Smith unofficially visited UNC with his mother. On that visit, he wasn't able to talk to the coaching staff as much as he would have liked or hang out with the players.

During his official visit this past weekend, Smith was able to accomplish both aforementioned tasks, plus receive a more in-depth tour of UNC's campus.

"I got to see every aspect of their school from being on campus to going to their business school," Smith said. "[The business guide] there was very detailed – it was just the most informative thing I've been to. I got to meet the training staff and got my height and weight [measured] there."

Throughout his stay, Smith was constantly with Allen Mogridge, UNC's tight ends coach and Smith's primary recruiter.

"Him and I really click," Smith said. "He's a great guy. He cracks me up. But on a serious note, nobody gets more hyped on game days than him. He keeps the energy up, which is good – I loved it."

During their conversations, Mogridge discussed UNC's situation at tight end.

"Last visit, it was more about stats and the possibilities of what I could be," Smith said. "This visit was on them expressing how they'd love to have me there, how much I'd really fit, and how I would have the chance to possibly play early…

"They have another tight end coming in who's going to play ‘Y' and then I'd be on ‘H.' We'd be a good combination and that position would be set "

Smith said he also spent a great deal of time with James Bettcher, UNC's graduate assistant.

When he wasn't with Mogridge or Bettcher, Smith was with the UNC players.

"I had a blast hanging out with the players," Smith said. "Once you get to meet them on a personal level, seeing how similar personality types you can have, it kind of just clicked."

Junior tight end Ed Barham hosted Smith throughout the weekend.

"He's a great guy – we still talk right now," Smith said. "We got along really well.

"He took me out around town for a little bit. I met some more of the guys and went back to his house and played [football video games] with all the guys – five or six other players."

On Saturday afternoon, Smith witnessed UNC's disappointing loss to Virginia.

"It was a great atmosphere," Smith said. "Seeing that baby blue is something special… I thought the game day atmosphere was good. I would have really liked them to get that win, but you see how few juniors and seniors they have.

"They have 58 people [on roster] that are either freshmen, red-shirt freshman, or sophomores. They're young and it's a building program."

Later that evening, Smith went out to eat with members of UNC's coaching staff.

"I got to eat a steak with Coach [Butch] Davis and his wife, Coach ‘Bettch', Coach ‘Mo,'" Smith said. "Meeting them and meeting their families and going out to eat and my mom getting to meet them felt great. They're a great bunch of people – you couldn't meet a nicer bunch."

Smith closed out his official visit Sunday by meeting with Davis in his office.

"[He discussed] just how the guys on the coaching staff really got along with me," Smith said. "He was mostly just talking about life in general to me, which is really good. Just how the people you hang out with affect your future."

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