Isaiah Smith, an Ole Miss signee in February from Columbia Central HS in Tennessee, said nothing but getting to Ole Miss has been on his mind since he inked with the Rebels.
"It's all I think about," said Smith, a 6-0 1/2, 220-pound linebacker.
He won't have to think about it much longer. On Monday, May 28, he will be moving into his dorm room in Oxford.
"I'm very excited. I think it is important to be on campus early and get a head start on August practice," Smith noted. "I had got all my grades in order and I'm ready to go.
"I turned down an invitation to the Tennessee-Kentucky All-Star Game this summer. I thought it was more important to get ready for my freshman year at Ole Miss. The only way to get adjusted and acclimated to your new surroundings is to jump in as soon as possible. That's what I am doing."
Isaiah has been biding his time running track for Central. He was a sprinter on the track team.
"I ran the 100, 200, 4 X 100 and 4 X 200. Two years ago, when I weighed around 205 pounds, I ran a 10.8 100 meters. Now that I am bigger, I'm not as fast. I had an 11.1 this year," he said. "I have also been going by the workout book Ole Miss sent me with my weightlifting and watching some film of the Rebel defense LB Coach (Dave) Corrao sent me.
"I want to be as ready as I can be. My main goals are to adjust to college classes and get in the best shape I can for August."
Smith considers his speed and size his strengths as he transitions to college ball.
"I run well and I am also a pretty good size for an outside linebacker," he noted. "What I need to work on is reading plays and reacting quicker within the 4-3 system we will run. I realize the blocking in college is different than high school, so I'm sure there will be an adjustment period. In high school, most schools use a trap scheme whereas in college it's more zone and that's a big difference I will have to get used to.
"I've never played in a 4-3 before, so I will have to learn my assignments and the Ole Miss terminology - two more reasons I'm coming in early to get a head start."
Smith's goals for his freshman year sound realistic.
"My desire is to play as a true freshman, even if it's just on special teams, but if I need a redshirt, that's fine too. I'll be shooting for playing time though and think I can contribute somewhere. I just want to get my feet wet and progress from there," he said. "I have confidence I can help the team quickly."
Isaiah knows the Rebel coaches are looking for immediate help from some incoming linebackers. He'd like to be part of that equation.
"It's all up to me to fill the needs that are on the squad at linebacker," he ended.
Isaiah Smith update -
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