"I was really excited thinking I was going to get in until the last second. It was disappointing. But I'm going to be a Tar Heel either way, so it really doesn't faze me too much."
When Smith verbally committed to UNC just before Thanksgiving, the 6-foot-5, 255-pound tight end from West Chester (Ohio) Lakota West planned to enroll in the summer – like most of his peers. However, shortly thereafter he decided to try to move his enrollment up to the spring semester.
In order to pass the NCAA Clearinghouse in time to enroll in January, Smith had to take online classes.
"To tell you the truth, what happened was my counselor… she signed me up for an online course that was a chemistry that the NCAA does not accept," Smith said. "So I was stuck in a bind. And then I tried to rush and get a Spanish course done in time, but they had already started classes so I couldn't get in."
Smith took the aforementioned Spanish course's final exam Tuesday. With a passing grade, he'll be fully qualified.
Smith's new plan is to move to Chapel Hill right after signing with UNC in February.
"I could live in an apartment off campus and take online courses," Smith said. "But I couldn't actually practice with the team, but I could lift with the strength coach and go out on my own time to lift and stuff."
Regardless of when he moves to Chapel Hill, Smith plans to enroll in the first summer semester in May. Most incoming freshmen will enroll in the second summer semester.
Between now and Signing Day, Smith is working out at a local gym with a personal trainer and playing on a recreational basketball team.
"[The UNC coaches] already told me I'm the size of a college tight end right now," Smith said.
Smith says he speaks to Allen Mogridge, UNC's tight ends coach, daily.
"He talks about the potential and how good the team is going to be and how each player is the key member to making that team so much better, and where North Carolina is going," Smith said. "He just keeps me excited about things. He really keeps my head up [and] keeps me motivated."