After just losing defensive commit Justin Trattou to Florida, Notre Dame rebounded by securing the commitment of another defensive recruit in the form of Kansas linebacker Brian Smith. Smith, who publically committed to Iowa back in August, decided to take up the Irish on their late scholarship offer and made the switch late Tuesday night.
Coach Weis and the Irish had originally recruited Smith back during the summer, but after securing public commits from Aaron Nagel and Steve Paskorz, the Irish decided to pass on the then 3-star recruit Smith.
“We were contacted by the new defensive coordinator (Corwin Brown),” Smith said. “In the summer, (Notre Dame) was very well in the mix. I was just waiting on the offer so I could commit. But in June, I was told I didn’t fit into the old defensive coordinator’s plan. … I guess he wasn’t impressed with me, but the new defensive coordinator came in and liked what he saw.”To be fair to Minter, Smith is an inside linebacker and at that time, ND was really in the hunt for speedy outside linebackers like Chris Donald, Martez Wilson, Lorenzo Edwards, and Malcolm Smith to upgrade the Irish defensive speed in the 4-3 defense. So in that regard, I can understand the decision to pass on Smith. However, with the likely arrival of the 3-4 defense, there is a greater need for inside linebackers and Smith certainly fits the bill.
Coach Weis, along with Coaches Brown, Ianello, Oliver, and Haywood all visited Smith last Sunday after offering on Friday. And after what I imagine was a pretty stressful decision, Smith scheduled an official visit to South Bend for this weekend. At that point, Iowa likely realized he was already gone and cut their losses.
“Me and my dad decided we were going to be up front,” Smith said. “We called (Ferentz) and let him know the offer came. Every time something new came up, we let him know what the status was.”And so goes the vicious recruiting food chain cycle.
“I told them I was going to visit, and coach Ferentz said if I was going to make that visit, then we both have to move on.”
Currently a 4-star recruit on Rivals and a 3-star recruit on Scout, the 6'2" 225 pound Smith picked up offers from Nebraska, Michigan State, Arizona State, Kansas, Kansas State, and Missouri in addition to the Hawkeyes. ESPN's Scouts, Inc has him ranked in their Top 150, as player #150, and has few, hard to watch videos of him if you are interested.
What makes Brian Smith notable to Irish fans, other than the fact that he will join fellow linebackers Toryan Smith and Scott Smith, and safety Harrison Smith on defense, is that his father, Chris Smith, played football back in the early 80's for the Irish where he was a teammate of current coach Haywood. A bruising fullback, Smith was known for opening holes for Allen Pinkett as well as some solid individual performances carrying the ball. From the various scouting reports, Brian brings a similar physical mentality to linebacker, where he had 126 tackles and 9 sacks as a 1st Team All-State senior. Smith, though, hopes to make his own legacy.
“It’s great to follow in my dad’s footsteps, especially at a school like Notre Dame,” Smith said. “But I want to make a name for myself.”