"When Coach Magee told me they wanted me to be a ‘bandit', I wasn't interested," said Smith. "At our school, a bandit is a linebacker, and I knew I didn't want to play linebacker. Later on, when he talked to me more, he explained what the bandit was. From that point on, West Virginia was a school I was interested in."
Smith ended up making his first visit to West Virginia for the Rutgers game, and although the cold weather made an impression on him, the crowd and game atmosphere overcame any negatives associated with the temperature.
"There were just great fans," he said of the experience. I don't think you can beat their fans. They welcomed you and made you feel at home, and the atmosphere was great. I really liked that."
The visit, which was an official, was hosted by J.T. Thomas, a Florida native like Smith. Thomas shared many of Smith's views of West Virginia, and the pair quickly developed a good relationship. Thomas, said Smith, related to him well and made a great impression – another point which helped Smith pick the Mountaineers.
It wasn't just the crowd that Smith connected with, however. Magee, once he got past the bandit confusion, was a major plus for the Mountaineer recruiting effort.
"Coach Magee is straightforward. He doesn't tell any lies. He just gives it to you straight out," said Smith, who was direct in his own statements as well. "But he is a really cool guy, too, and good to talk with."
Smith (6-0, 192 lbs. 4.52) is rated as the 34th-best safety prospect in the country, which makes him a four-star prospect in Scout.com's rating system. He played both safety and corner for Chaminade-Madonna this year, and will, as noted, slide into a bandit position for West Virginia as a freshman. The fact that he had enough coverage skills to play corner, however, indicates that he should not be lacking in the pass defense duties required for the bandit in WVU's system.
Although Smith did not have his total stats from his senior season, he did record three interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. He also had two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries on the season. He also ran back kicks and punts, and earned spots on the all-county and all-region teams as a safety.