"He was the guy I built a relationship with and everything," Harrison Smith said. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound safety picked Notre Dame over in-state Tennessee. "He told me don't worry about it because he knows Notre Dame is where I fit in. He told me don't even worry about it, it will all work out. Coming from him, it made me feel there was nothing to worry about."
Wednesday morning, Smith will wakeup a little bit earlier than usual, get over to Knoxville Catholic High and sign his letter-of-intent for Notre Dame before first hour. High school teammate T.J. Franklin will sign with Cincinnati.
Smith got a chance to meet new defensive coordinator Corwin Brown a couple weeks ago, when he came by the school with Irish defensive backs coach Bill Lewis.
"My parents came in and met him," Smith said. "He was real excited, I think it's going to be a lot of fun playing for him.
"He mostly just talked about what they were trying to do, the different things they would be doing with the defense and how they needed to pick it up next year."
Smith can't wait to help. He and fellow Tennessean and Irish commit Golden Tate have sent text messages to each other about possibly living together this summer when the two report to school.
In the mean time, the Tennessee Gatorade Player of the Year, and the 3A Mr. Football award winner is averaging 10 points per game on the school's 15-5 basketball team.
"Our goal every year is to make it to the state tournament," Smith said. "It's pretty irrational to think we can win with all the teams from Memphis, but we are tied for first in our region."
Smith has taken a little bit of heat from opposing schools' student sections at away games this basketball season, because of his choice of the Irish over the Volunteers.
"One (student section) chanted LSU right after the Sugar Bowl," Smith said "But it's not too bad. There is a lot of Notre Dame fans around here too."
After basketball season, Smith will participate in track. An injury during spring football last year cost him most of the season. As a sophomore, he finished fifth in the state (Private League) in the high jump. His personal record is clearing 6-feet, 6-inches. He also competes in long jump and the 100-meter dash.
When he can, Smith tries to find time for the weight room to maintain his 315-pound bench press and his 405-pound squat.
"I'm just trying to get ready for the summer and things like that," Smith stated. "Just trying to get all around stronger."