Smith, a 6-foot-5, 235-pound tight end from West Chester (Ohio) Lakota West, expects to know his fate a few days after the NCAA Clearinghouse returns to work following the new year. Smith says he meets all academic requires for both the NCAA Clearinghouse and UNC – it's just a matter of receiving that final seal of approval.
When he verbally committed to UNC a little over a month ago, Smith planned to enroll in the summer – like most of his peers. However, shortly after committing he decided to try to move his enrollment up.
"My basketball season was always big with me, but I think I have a chance to get in there and make a difference to UNC and hopefully get some playing time," Smith said. "I figured the sooner I get out there, learn the offense, and get to lifting with the team the better it would be. Spring practice is real huge in the developmental area."
Allen Mogridge, Smith's primary recruiter and UNC's tight ends coach, has supported and encouraged Smith's decision to enroll early. Mogridge has made a few in-home visits with Smith where they've discussed the situation, as well as continued to build their relationship.
"He has really gotten to meet the family and hang out," Smith said. "We love it when he comes in town – it's always a good time.
"When he comes by – Coach ‘Mo' and I have such a good bond – we mostly just kick back. We'll go out to eat; he'll come back to the house, do things like play Xbox. Last time, he got to meet a bunch of my family. It's mostly getting to know him a lot more – talking about his history and his religious beliefs.
"He talks about where I'm going to fit into the program and how happy he is to be a part of my life and get to coach me. [He says] a tight end like me is something they really need in their offense and something they could really use to stretch the field and [provide] good blocking."
Butch Davis has not made his one allotted in-home visit with Smith. Due to the last-minute nature of Smith's decision to enroll early, that in-home visit will not occur, unless Smith's enrollment is delayed.
Smith is projected to play the ‘Y' tight end position (traditional, on the line tight end) in UNC's two-tight end offense.
Despite the tight end depth chart, Smith will receive an opportunity to earn playing time next fall, even if he doesn't enroll in January. But enrolling in January will only improve his chances of seeing the field as a freshman.
"We haven't talked specifics, but what they always say to me is it's going to come down to [me]," Smith said regarding playing time. "They said I have all the attributes, [playing time] depends on how hard [I'm] going to work when I get on campus. [Playing time] depends on how hard I want it and how hard I work."
Smith is the fifth UNC commitment scheduled to enroll in January, joining D.J. Bunn, Sean Fitzpatrick, James Hurst, and T.J. Leifheit.