"Rutgers, Virginia Tech, Connecticut, Syracuse, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Illinois, Michigan State and UCLA are my top 12," the 6-foot-5, 265-pound Smith said. "There was a common theme.
"Just being consistent with all the coaches, building a relationship with them and facility-wise. There are some schools I haven't visited yet, but I've been on the internet looking and their facilities are nice, the fan base, they all have the potential to win a national championship."
Smith considers a strong relationship with the coaching staff a necessity.
"It's very important because I'm going to spend a lot of time with these guys, a whole bunch of time," he said. "It's important to be on the same page with them. You want to be able to have a good relationship with them."
Smith has family in New Jersey and built a strong relationship with several members of the Scarlet Knights staff.
"Rutgers made the list by staying in contact with the coaching staff," Smith said, "with (offensive line) coach (Kyle) Flood, coach (Greg) Schiano, (defensive line) coach (Randy) Melvin and (director of player development) Tariq Ahmad. They definitely did a good job off emailing with me and messaging me back and stuff like that."
The only schools Smith said he knows he will visit officially visit is UCLA, but he will also try to take a few day trips to watch games at nearby schools.
However, among Smith's top 12 there are no favorites.
"I'm still wide open and still looking at other things," Smith said. "Miami is coming in the picture now. Auburn is coming in the picture now. The list is subject to change, but for now that's the Top 12."