Traveling man visits Corvallis

FIVE OFFICIAL VISITS aren't going to be enough for Mike Smith, the 6-6.5, 230-pound defensive end / tight end impact player out of Las Vegas. So this offseason, the Palo Verde High star athlete jumped in his car and hit the road for a few unofficial visits. He recently returned from his trip out west and Oregon State, one of three schools who have offered.

In addition to Oregon State, Nebraska and UNLV have also offered Smith. Other schools showing marked interest include UCLA, Oregon, Cal, Utah, Colorado State, Notre Dame and LSU. The Cornhuskers are his frontrunner.

"I love their football tradition," said Smith. "Its so great, not many other schools can compare."

After a few games this season, it won't be a surprise if a number of teams come forth with an offer for Smith.

"My coach has been telling me that Utah, Oregon and UCLA are going to probably offer me scholarships - and Colorado State, but they want to see me a few times before they actually make the offer. They want to make sure that it wasn't like a fluke last season."

That junior season saw Smith lead the state in sacks, with 17 quarterback takedowns among his 71 tackles. On offense, he caught 7 balls for 130 yards and a touchdown.

At the next level, some schools such as UCLA, are looking at him more as a tight end. Others, like Oregon State aren't sure where Smith would best fit. Nebraska is looking at him mostly as defensive end, but also left open the possibility he'd play on offense.

"I'm really not sure where I'm going to play yet," said Smith. "Most schools are thinking defensive end but UCLA, they'd like me to play tight end."

SMITH RETURNED about two weeks ago from a trip out to the West Coast, where he made unofficial visits to Oregon State and Cal. He said he thoroughly enjoyed the city of Berkeley, and Oregon State's campus surprised him.

"They had so much stuff on their campus, it was amazing," said Smith, who got to talk with OSU coaches Mike Riley and Greg Newhouse while he was there. "All the coaches seem really nice. It makes it harder to decide where I want to go...Coach (Dennis) Wagner, I like him a lot. Him and coach (John) Blake the defensive line coach (at Nebraska), I like them a lot."

CHIEF AMONG THE FACTORS which will influence his decision, the potential for early playing time.

"I don't want to go sit on the bench," said Smith. "I want to be able to compete."

Smith originally hoped to verbal before the start of his football season but now wants to visit more schools before making the call -- and some, including Oregon State, possibly more than once. He said his decision will likely come sometime during his senior football season.

He has an official scheduled for Nebraska on October 7 and will likely hit the road again sometime in the next few weeks to travel to UCLA on an unofficial trip. Besides OSU and Nebraska, LSU and Notre Dame are among those he's considering for an official visit.

"They're recruiting me pretty strong," said Smith. "I don't know, its tough to make a decision because you only get five. One visit probably isn't going to satisfy me, where I'd want to spend four years of my life. I want to make sure its the right place for me."

Smith is an outstanding student, with a 3.5 GPA and has already achieved a qualifying score on the SAT. He also stars in both basketball and baseball at Palo Verde. A first baseman, he hit .485 on the year, leading the team in home runs and RBIs.

Mike Smith profile

BeaverBlitz Top Stories