New offer in for Smith

T.J. Smith started his football career last season at North Stanly High School, a relatively small school just north of the Charlotte area in North Carolina, before transferring to Colquitt County (Moultrie, Ga.) High School. The 6-foot-3, 260-pound defensive lineman is enjoying playing in the limelight at Colquitt County, currently ranked in the top ten nationally in many publications.

"Last year was my very first even playing football," Smith told VandyMania.com. "My dad took a new job as the principal of a junior high in Georgia and that is how I landed at Colquitt County for my senior season. It's been great. It's a whole lot different than playing in 1A in North Carolina. Everything in this town is Colquitt County football. It's been a great experience for me in so many ways. We have the best opportunity to win state then we've had in a long time. I'm trying to juggle recruiting and football, but my main focus is on the season. If we don't win state I'll consider it a fail as a player and that's how my teammates feel."

"Right now, I'm leading the team in tackles for loss with 13. If you're able to get into the other team's backfield and stop them before they get to the line of scrimmage, that's great stuff. I think that's the key factor in a lot of ball games. I've been able to do that effectively for us this year."

College coaches have taken notice. Smith holds offers from North Carolina, Wake Forest, UCF, Georgia Southern, and, most recently, Vanderbilt.

"I'm being recruited by Coach Bankins, but it was Coach Mason who I talked to on Sunday when I received the [Vanderbilt] offer," said Smith. "Actually, I was very shocked because I had only been talking to the people on the staff for four days. Coach Mason said he talked with my former coach about me and thinks I'm a great kid. He said he likes me as a football player from what he saw on film. He can tell that I have an excellent work ethic and put in a lot of time because he can see the results are paying off. I thanked him for the offer before we hung up. I think Vanderbilt's a great place to play. I'm truly considering that being the place I end up. I haven't watched a lot of their games. I did see them play Ole Miss earlier in the year. I'll definitely be watching more of their games and will be scheduling a visit soon.

"I hoping to find a place, really, that feels like home. If the environment is right, then that will go a long way with me. If I don't like it, then it's not the place for me. I want to visit all of the schools so I get get a feel for the place before I commit."

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