It’s been a little over a year since one high school prospect committed to the University of Tennessee.
Tennessee high schools' No. 1 overall player by Scout.com, Jacques Smith, has gone through two head coaches and two different coaching staffs.
Some might wonder why Smith has decided to take a few official visits recently; he explained it to InsideTennessee.com on Tuesday night.
“I have never seen certain parts of the country,” Smith said. “I wanted to experience some other places so I would know for certain that Tennessee was the place for me.”
In other words, Smith, who has been to almost every home game at Rocky Top in the last two to three years, wanted to make sure he wasn’t seeing the recruiting process through his orange-colored glasses.
“I have loved Tennessee football as long as I can remember,” Smith admitted. “I have been signing Rocky Top for a long time. I have known that’s where I wanted to go for a long time.”
Smith recently took trips to Syracuse and LSU, and while he was impressed with both schools, he came to the same conclusion with both.
“They both have great programs,” Smith said. “Both are too far away from home. Like I said earlier, I just wanted to make sure I was making the right decision, now I know I have for sure.”
Smith has one week of high school left at Ooltewah, and then it's time to get ready for early enrollment at Tennessee.
“It’s starting to become very real,” Smith said. “It means a lot to me to get the opportunity to go through spring football with the guys that I have been watching all these years. I’m finally about to become a Tennessee Volunteer.”
While Smith loves Tennessee, he has also developed a great relationship with the Volunteers defensive line coach, Ed Orgeron.
“We have become really close,” Smith noted. “We talk a lot. We never miss a week talking to each other. He has taught me so much already. He taught me during a summer how to use my hands a lot more; it helped me have a better senior season. I know that I’m being coached by the best defensive line coach in the country.”
Smith is excited and ready to make that short trip to Knoxville.
“I can’t wait to get there,” Smith said. “My dream is finally coming true.”
Smith is rated a five-star prospect by Scout.com and is the No. 1 overall player in the state. He is ranked the No. 8 overall defensive end in the nation.