Smith Names Top Three

Running back Lance Smith recently took a junior day visit that opened his eyes. As a life-long Buckeye fan, the 5-11, 190-pound Warren, Ohio native says he was pleasantly surprised by his recent Irish visit. Where do the Irish stand with Smith? What did he have to say about his visit? What are his future plans? We spoke with Smith on Tuesday to find out these answers and more.

Running back Lance Smith had an impressive junior season.

"I rushed for 1,700 yards and 18 touchdowns," said Smith of his junior stats. "I think I had 228 carries.

"Coaches tell me I have really good feet. I guess you could say I'm a good cut-back runner. I'm really good in the open field."

Smith already has his first offer with another likely on the way.

"Miami of Ohio has offered me," Smith said. "Wisconsin says I'll have an offer within a week.

"Notre Dame, Penn State and Ohio State are the other main ones I'm focusing on right now."

It was a recent junior day visit that opened Smith's eyes to the Irish and the new Notre Dame coaching staff.

"Notre Dame is nice," Smith said. "Right when you get there you feel comfortable--like you belong there. I really liked it at Notre Dame a lot. Who wouldn't want to go to Notre Dame?

"I talked to their running back coach, coach Haywood. He seemed real up front. He seemed like a real nice guy. He said he really liked my feet, and that he hoped I made the right decision. I really liked him."

We asked Smith if he had more plans to visit schools in the future.

"Yeah, I'm going back to Notre Dame on April 2nd for a spring practice," he said. "I'm also going to Ohio State on April 7th. I'm might go check out some more schools. I'm not sure yet."

Smith, who admits he grew up a big Buckeye fan, says he knows what he's looking for in a school.

"The coaching staff will be important to me, but the people and how comfortable I feel around everyone there will be real important," Smith said. "I really got that feeling when I was at Notre Dame.

"I also like it at Ohio State. I went there last year for the Wisconsin game. It was real loud. You could say I was a big Buckeye fan, but I remember watching the movie Rudy, and I've always kind of pictured myself playing at Notre Dame after watching that movie."

Smith did say he was working to improve his academic credentials.

"I have a 2.5 in my core right now. I know I need to get that up. I'm working hard on that right now," he sad.

When will Smith decide?

"I want to make an early decision," he said. "I want to get it out of the way before my season starts. We'll see if I can do that."

Comments: The Irish have seemed to make quite an impression with Smith. He seemed very excited about Notre Dame. Don't discount the Buckeyes if they offer, however. We'll check back with Smith after his second unofficial visit to Notre Dame early next month. Top Stories