Malcolm Smith (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) doesn't need to leave the West Coast to receive a great education. He certainly doesn't need to travel east to play Division I football, but he is intrigued by the opportunities football has provided him.
"They've been one of my favorite teams," Smith said of his interest in Notre Dame. "I want to [visit] Notre Dame and see everything. I want to see how comfortable I'd be. I've heard a lot of different things from people, but I want to see it for myself.
"I think Notre Dame wants me for the defensive side of the ball. I don't know if that's for safety or linebacker or cornerback. I'm really not sure. It really doesn't matter to me. I don't have a position that I play where I say, ‘I don't want to be out there.' I just like to play. The position really doesn't make a difference."
It is one thing to have a recruit talk about his interest in Notre Dame, but it is another matter all together to get them on campus.
"I have one [official visit] set up for the Penn State/Michigan game and I'm setting up the Notre Dame/Michigan game right now," Smith explained. "For USC and UCLA, I've taken unofficial visits and they're close so it's not a problem.
"Cal and Arizona are other places I want to trip to and those plans are supposed to be taken care of later this week."
Smith's comfort level at each campus is extremely important, but he also wants to be part of a strong program. His measurement won't be in wins and losses as much as he will focus on how the team competes and progresses throughout the year.
"At the beginning of the year I don't think how a team plays will be that big of a factor," Smith explained. "But toward the end of the year, how a team develops and improves will be important.
"The [depth chart] is something to think about, but I don't think it will affect my decision. I'm go out and try to be the best."
As a junior, Smith rushed for 639 yards on 73 carries and caught 26 passes for 399 yards. He also added 41 tackles at the linebacker position.