Four-star junior offensive lineman Trey Smith had been in contact with Notre Dame for several months. Turns out the Irish were more interested in the 6-foot-5, 291-pound athlete from Jackson, Tenn., than Smith realized.
A conversation with offensive line coach Harry Hiestand revealed as much this week.
“It’s actually a funny story,” Smith said. “A month ago or a month and a half ago I got an envelope like the ones that schools send you all the time. This one was from Notre Dame. They had sent a couple before but this one said it’s very special and to read it. At first I set it to the side and then I messaged coach (Brian) Kelly and he said we have great news coming. I read it and it said I was qualified to be a Notre Dame football player and I’m at the academic standards and obviously the athletic standards for it. It looked like an offer but I don’t really go by that.”
Hiestand made Notre Dame’s position clear on Tuesday.
“We sort of got to the question of whether or not I was offered or not and he said that envelope that they sent me like a month ago was an offer,” Smith said. “I’m extremely excited just for the opportunity. I was really looking forward to that offer.”
Smith now holds 20 offers, a list that includes Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Ohio State and USC.
Next up for Notre Dame is securing a spring practice visit.
“I call coach Hiestand about every four weeks and coach (Mike) Elston is another one of my recruiters but my main guy I talk to is coach Hiestand,” he said. “I’ll probably end up going to Ohio State and Notre Dame. I’m really pushing for a trip to Notre Dame this spring.”
Smith has already visited Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Alabama, Tennessee, Clemson and LSU.
“One thing I really was excited to do was to meet the head coaches,” he said. “It was fun meeting them and it was awesome to get to see the stadiums you always see on Saturdays. You always dream about going there as a kid and playing NCAA football. You always dream and imagine that one day you can do that maybe.”
Most schools are recruiting Smith on the offensive line but a few have hinted he could move to defense.
“They’re always telling me I’m athletic enough to play any position on the offensive line. A couple schools have hinted toward defensive line even,” he said. “I prefer offensive line because I think that’s what I was made to play but D-line or anywhere, I can do it.”
Smith believes his natural position is at offensive tackle and he certainly has the mindset to play up front.
“I bring a lot of nastiness when I play,” he said. “I like to be aggressive and I set goals. I want to be the one who gets the most pancakes on the field and my second goal is I want to be the most aggressive, meanest, most physical lineman out there that night and have my physical presence felt.”
Scout.com ranks Smith as the 57th best player in the Class of 2017.