UCLA Pursues Nevada D-End

The state of Nevada's sack leader last season, Mike Smith, the 6-6, 230-pound athlete from Las Vegas Palo Verde High, is hearing from UCLA pretty strongly. The Bruins are recruiting him as a defensive end as well as a tight end...

Las Vegas (Nev.) Palo Verde defensive end Mike Smith (6-6, 230), Nevada's sack leader as a junior, has three scholarship offers officially, and three more that could be coming soon.

"Oregon State, UNLV and Nebraska have all offered me," said Smith. "Oregon, Utah and Colorado State all said they would be offering me soon."

Smith is being recruited as a defensive end, but one school is recruiting him as a tight end/defensive end. "UCLA said they really like me as a tight end and at defensive end. They haven't offered me yet, but if they did, they would be one of my top choices."

As it stands, the Bruins are second on Smith's list, with Nebraska his favorite. Rounding out his top five, in order, are Notre Dame, California and Oregon. Other schools he is hearing from include LSU, Texas A&M and Wisconsin.

Smith said that UCLA is actively recruiting him: "I really like (UCLA assistant) coach (Brian) Schneider. He is a really nice guy. I've talked with him on the phone and met him. They've told me that they want me to trip out there and maybe camp there before they offered me, but they said they really like me. My parents want me to go to school in California too."

Smith plans to, at the least, unofficially visit there this summer, while also going to the campuses of California, Washington, Oregon, Oregon State and Utah. "My dad and I are going to hit all of the schools in the west," said Smith.

During his junior year, Smith led Nevada with 17 sacks, while recording 71 tackles, nine for a loss, and he also added nine pass breakups.

Smith didn't attend any spring combines or camps, with baseball keeping him pretty busy. In fact, he was an all-southern Nevada selection as a first baseman and would like to play both sports in college if possible. "Oregon State is the one school I've talked to that is recruiting me in both sports," Smith said.

As for a timetable on his decision, Smith said trips will be taken before he decides. He said, "I would love to make an early decision, but I have no idea right now where I want to go so I am going to have to make some visits before I choose."

Academically, Smith said he was fully qualified by the NCAA Clearinghouse.

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