Smiley's play this season has not been up to par, for his standards.
"I have not done too much, just trying to do my job, but I am not making as many tackles as I did last year."
Last season was actually Eric's first year to play organized football. Smiley's first season saw him dominate on the defensive line as he collected 73 tackles, 14 sacks, and 29 qb hurries. The Seattle native earned 1st Team All-State status in his first year of organized football. It all seemed so easy.
"To be honest, a lot of it had to do with my conditioning. I came back (to West Helena) out of shape, and I did nothing over the summer to improve my game. I was not involved in football, so I did not improve at all. But as the season progressed, I started getting in shape, and I started remembering my techniques. It all started to come together, and I felt like my old self towards the end of the season."
Scout.com's #29 nationally rated defensive tackle is currently hearing from two schools.
"Ole Miss and Memphis is about it right now."
What is Ole Miss saying?
"Coach Shibest just calls and checks up on me. He told me that my grades are in good position and to keep up my work. He told me to keep up the good work in the classroom. Coach Shibest said I was in good academic position to qualify. Most colleges thought I was not going to make it (qualify), but Ole Miss really looked hard and got me down the right path. They want to bring me in for a visit in January."
Why did the Rebels believe Smiley would qualify when most others did not?
"Because Coach Shibest came to my school and looked at my transcript last Spring. He got me on a good plan to get eligible, and I have done it for the most part. He came back to the school last week and looked at my Core GPA and ACT and said I am real close to being eligible."
What about Memphis? What are they saying?
"They are telling me that they look forward to me becoming a Tiger, and at any time I am ready to commit, they would love to have me. I am visiting them in January too."