Smith is one of the highlights of the Vanderbilt recruiting class, the three-star linebacker committed to the Commodore program in July, but has gotten significant interest from other top programs. He made an official visit to Kentucky in December and plans on taking four more in the month of January. A big part of the reason Commodore fans should feel confident to keep Smith in the fold is his relationship with his recruiter and Commodores linebackers coach, Kenwick Thompson.
"I think Coach Thompson is a terrific coach," he said. "I think that he'll help to develop me both on and off the football field. He's going to work with you day-in and day-out to meet your goals. He's going to ask you what your goal is, after you state it, Coach Thompson will be pushing you to make that happen until you tell him something different. I think he'll help develop me into an outstanding football player and also a great person.
"Other schools have been recruiting me pretty heavily since I made my commitment (to Vanderbilt), but I'm still committed. I'm taking the official visits to enjoy the recruiting process and to see what the other schools have to offer. I'll be taking my (official visit) to Vanderbilt on January 16th."
As a senior at Oakland, Smith dominated at linebacker with a team-high 126 tackles, 24.5 for loss, and 8.5 sacks. Hampered by a nagging back injury throughout the season, Smith really game on mid-way through the year to lead his team to a 12-2 record and to the TSSAA Class 6A semifinal.
"I'd have to say this past season was my best by far," said Smith. "I feel like my game has come a long way since I stepped off the field for the last time as a junior to where I was in my senior year. I'm constantly trying to build my game up in different ways like with leadership aspects, football I.Q., and my outlook going into games, being able to keep it loose out there on the field. I missed all of my sophomore season and some time in my junior season, but this year I only missed one game and feel like once I got healthy everything came together to allow me to have my first complete season.
"The only thing that kind of put a damper (on the season) was losing in the semi-finals. Our team fought hard all year and we became like a family, a real brotherhood on the team, so it was a bittersweet moment when we walked off the field together for the last time and not win a state title. What I liked though is the older players helped the your players all year get better, so hopefully, next year, they can take the next step without us."
Smith is expected to make official visits to Oklahoma, Ole Miss, California, and Vanderbilt prior to National Signing Day.