Battling For Notice

Defensive tackle Jared Smith isn't the biggest guy around, but his high intensity motor and productivity on the field are earning him notice from several Division I schools.

Smith, who weighs "just" 265 pounds, has clocked a 4.8 forty-yard dash time, and he uses that speed and quickness to great effect in the trenches. He routinely racks up impressive statistics – impressive, that is, to everyone except him. Take Greencastle-Antrim's recent 37-12 win over James Buchanan. Smith had "eight or ten" tackles, a sack, a pass breakup and a forced fumble, yet he termed the performance "average". That's not surprising coming from Smith, who is the sort of player always striving to improve. Players with that outlook never show excitement over their stats or play – they usually focus on what they did wrong, in order to eliminate mistakes and play better the next time out.

One place where Smith's enthusiasm did show, however, was in his assessment of his trip to West Virginia for the Mountaineers' 62-24 win over Western Michigan.

"We took a tour around the facilities and saw the weight room. That was really inspiring – it is really nice in there," Smith reported. "I met Steve Slaton, and he was pretty cool. And I think Coach Rich Rodriguez is a good guy. He is one of the best colleges coaches there is. I also got to talk to Bill Kirelawich, my recruiting coordinator, and meet some of the other recruits.

"West Virginia has a big stadium, and I really loved it," Smith continued. "I loved the atmosphere of the game – that was really cool. I had been down on one other visit before, but this is the first time I have been down for a game. West Virginia is the school of my dreams."

For now, the Mountaineers, along with Boston College, Syracuse, Temple and Pittsburgh are watching and evaluating the hard-nosed Smith, but none have offered yet. However, if he continues his high level of play, it's hard to imagine that some scholarships won't be coming his way.

"West Virginia wants to see some of my senior film. I can send them a couple of games, and it will probably take about four games to put together enough to send them a highlight film."

Kirelawich, Smith's recruiting coach, has a personality that is similar to Smith's. Kirelawich values tough competitors that bring their best effort play after play – something that Smith excels at.

"I found out that my high school coach knows Coach Kirelawich, so I got in touch with him because of that," Smith said. "He is an awesome guy. His attitude during game time is great, and he is a very good coach. He helps you out with stuff you don't understand at first, until you do understand it."

Smith, who plays both ways for Greencastle-Antrim, believes he has the tools to play either end or tackle in college, and said he has no preference for either position on the college level. After a senior high school season of playing both offense and defense, being able to play on just one side of the ball might be something of a break.

"I'm playing offensive tackle and the defensive line, but it's not really tiring," said Smith. "It depends on what kind of shape you are in. If you are in good shape, it's not bad, and I had a good season of conditioning."

Smith does admit that waiting for offers can be a bit frazzling.

"Working for a scholarship does enter your mind when you are out there," he said. "I have one shot to get into a good school, and I need to play my best to get recognized."

Smith, who was a second team all-conference performer as a junior, is off to a good start in that quest during his senior season.

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