"I was trying to stick with them, that was my goal," Daniel Smith explained. "I knew who they were, and I was trying to see if I could go at their level."
Hardly anybody could, but that day last summer, the 6-foot-4, 205-pound Smith really caught the Irish coaching staff's eye. Since then, the two parties have been in regular touch.
At Notre Dame's football camp on Monday, Smith felt like he was one of the big boys.
"I felt like I was grown, an adult," Smith laughed.
The Clay High standout did cone work, pass-catching drills and some one-on-ones.
"(Receivers) coach (Rob) Ianello said I had a good camp," Smith began. "I felt like I did good. He said I concentrated and caught a lot of good balls. He said I looked focused, and had a lot of good catches. He said he liked everything he saw, and overall my camp was good. It was one day, so they got as much as they could out of me.
"There were a couple other guys there, but I think I was one of the top in my group."
Ianello also coached Smith up some.
"He helped me with my routes and stuff, and just getting off the line quicker," Smith said.
This past season, Smith was a Northern Indiana All-Conference selection after catching 30 passes for 400 yards and eight touchdowns. As a freshman, he caught 49 passes for 800 yards and eight touchdowns.
Besides Notre Dame, Smith is hearing from Purdue, Iowa, Louisville and Texas. He plans on going to a lot more camps next summer.
"They tell me they want to have me around the school as much as possible, but it's kind of hard during school," Smith said of the Notre Dame coaching staff. "Right now, I'm doing football and basketball for school, and going to basketball tournaments around here."
Smith is also a standout on the track. At the state finals in late May, Smith took home two all-state medals. He finished fourth in the long jump with a leap of 22 feet-10.25 inches, and ran a leg on the 1600-meter relay team that finished sixth. Smith has also cleared 6-foot-6 in the high jump, winning the sectional title with that mark.
Smith said he talked to pretty much the whole Notre Dame coaching staff, including head coach Charlie Weis.
"It was a friendly conversation," Smith said. "He asked how I've been doing and things. It wasn't anything too much."
The brother-in-law of former Notre Dame safety Gerome Sapp, Smith is hoping a future conversation with Weis results in a scholarship offer.