Notre Dame will get at least one more game out of Jaylon Smith.
Beyond that the program’s Defensive Player of the Year isn’t ready to say.
Following the annual Echoes awards show, Smith was quizzed on his plans for next season after Brian Kelly revealed last week that the All-American linebacker was among five Notre Dame players to request formal feedback from the NFL’s advisory committee on underclassmen alongside C.J. Prosise, Will Fuller, Ronnie Stanley and KeiVarae Russell.
Smith is widely projected as a high first-round pick this spring and perhaps the best linebacker available, should he declare.
“Honestly, just the Ohio State game is where my focus is,” Smith said. “I think it helps, just feedback from (NFL) guys that that’s their job of evaluating collegiate players. Honestly, it’s about getting a victory.”
Ohio State finished runner-up to Notre Dame in Smith’s recruitment, in large part because his older brother Rod Smith was on the Buckeyes roster. The older Smith was dismissed from the program last year by head coach Urban Meyer.
The brothers still swapped gear, meaning Notre Dame’s captain owns plenty of Ohio State apparel. Smith said he’s friends with nearly two dozen Buckeyes players. When the Irish were matched with the Buckeyes in the Fiesta Bowl, Smith traded tweets with Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott about the game.
“I probably know maybe 23 of them. We’re definitely close,” Smith said. “I just felt more comfortable with Notre Dame. But Ohio State’s a great school.
“I enjoy watching them. We’re close throughout the recruiting process (with Ohio State players), developed great relationships. It’s all about ‘Go Irish!’ over here.”
For at least one more game.