Erik Smith, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound, running back, from Bolingbrook, Ill., was one of Wisconsin's first but lesser known verbal commitments.
Smith didn't bring the junior accolades that other prospects brought to the table because he backed up All-American Dale Martin in 2006.
Some members of the media questioned Smith for receiving early scholarship offers and some went as far as to criticize the schools for offering a scholarship to an unproven prospect.
Smith answered the critics with his play on the field this year. The Raiders have a ton of offensive fire-power, Smith only played a little over half the offensive plays in 80% of games this year and missed one game due to having his wisdom teeth extracted.
Smith led the Raiders to a 7-2 record. He rushed for 1,089 yards and scored eight touchdowns. In the last three regular season games, Smith rushed for 230, 180 and in the conference championship had 190 yards rushing on 23 attempts.
"Erik is one of the best football players we've had here at Bolingbrook," Bolingbrook coach John Ivlow said.
"Erik's work-ethic is unmatched. Nobody works harder. Erik was just named the offensive most valuable player in our conference which is one of the best conferences in the state.
"We play in a very physical conference and our goal was to get through the regular season healthy. Erik could have posted huge numbers for us but getting him rest and keeping him healthy was our top priority.
"We play another physical team on Saturday in Lincoln-Way Central. Those guys are hitters over there. They're in our conference. We beat them earlier this year but it was a close game.
"Bottom line with Erik Smith is that he had a stellar year and everyone in our conference knows what a difference maker he is and that's why he was voted offensive most valuable player."
Smith told us that he just had his first Camp Randall experience.
"I went up to Madison for the Michigan State game," Smith said. "I had a great time. Everyone talks about the atmosphere in the stadium and it's true. I loved the 5th quarter with the band.
"The campus has a real hometown feel to it. I talked to a lot of the players and coaches and just took everything in. I've been talking to Coach (Randall) McCray about my official visit and it looks like it will be the first weekend in December."
Smith Named Offensive MVP
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