Smith Says 'Not So Fast'

Some recent reports have put Notre Dame and Tennessee on top for Knoxville (Tenn.) Catholic four-star safety Harrison Smith. Given his previously stated desire to make a college commitment before his senior season, an apparent narrowing to these top two schools might end the fight for Stanford for Smith. He tells us otherwise...

The latest chatter on Harrison Smith, the four-star safety ranked by as the #18 linebacker prospect in the nation, has him glibly discussing two schools atop his recruitment: Tennessee and Notre Dame.  Conventional logic has held that the Vols and Irish would be important players in his hotly contested recruitment through the duration.  It would not be surprising to hear him say that those are his final two schools from which he will make his pick.  He says, however, that he is not to that point, despite what some people have read and believed.

"No, I haven't narrowed anything down," the recruit corrects.  "I just said that right now those two are towards the top.  No one has asked for leaders.  They just asked if those two are at the top because I live in Knoxville and I'm Catholic."

We'll ask the question, then.  Who are Harrison Smith's leaders?

"[Laughs] I don't really have any leaders," he chuckles.  "I'm kind of waiting on the season."

Optimism sprang initially for Stanford fans when Smith and a large number of his family traveled across the country June 1 for an unofficial visit to The Farm that stretched across three-plus days.  His follow-up report and comments were glowing.

Then hopes were dashed earlier this month when reports surfaced with a focus from the Knoxville (Tenn.) Catholic High School superstar on two other schools.  Maybe Smith is sugar-coating things for the Cardinal faithful, aware of his audience when he's speaking with The Bootleg...

"I'm not," he protests.  "I like UT and Notre Dame, but I'm really thinking of everyone."

'Everyone' is a large pool of prospective colleges to consider when you are one of the top athletes in the nation and are being pursued by a national list of schools.  That is perhaps more surprising given Smith's desire to conclude his recruitment by the end of the summer.

"It is hard to manage," Smith admits.  "So I do need to narrow it down soon."

Either unwilling or unable to today name any group or subset of favorites, Smith has few clues to offer us on where the Cardinal rank in his mind.  An indirect piece of evidence, however, is his reported work on the Stanford admissions application.  A recruit not planning on considering the Cardinal, or about to commit to another school, is not likely to pour through the daunting application packet of materials.

"Yes, I'm working on it," Smith says.  "It's good.  It's pretty long, but a lot of it is just little things."

Being admitted to Stanford is a little more than a 'little thing' in the course of a Cardinal recruitment, and it would not be surprising to see Smith finish and submit the application before he narrows his college favorites.  Additionally, Smith still has not narrowed his all-inclusive universe of schools under consideration, which tells us that the summer will likely end before his recruitment.  Is this story pushing into his senior year?

"Yes.  I believe it will," the recruit responds.  "Well, I have to narrow my list to five.  And those are the ones I'll visit.  I could visit during or after my season."

More ambiguity.  That is par for the course with this recruit, who has carefully played close to the vest his favorites and inclinations since the spotlight first descended upon him.  At a minimum, we have to ask, though: if admitted to The Farm, will one of his official visits be to Stanford?

"They probably will be," he allows.

And that is the best we can extrude at this time, folks.  The guessing game continues, and the tea leaves remain scarce, concerning Harrison Smith.  More patience will be required to sort out this story, particularly given the now elongated horizon for his recruitment.  Settle in and stay tuned.

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