Four-star OL target Trey Smith 'blown away' by Notre Dame

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Trey Smith didn’t need to think very long for his recap of a recent visit to Notre Dame.

“I was blown away,” the four-star offensive line recruit said Wednesday.

After spending April 2 on Notre Dame’s campus with his father and sister, Smith was spoke effusively about the Irish.

“Seeing how efficient their offensive line meetings were, stepping on campus, watching how hard they work, getting a chance to meet coach (Brian) Kelly and the players, I was pretty much blown away,” Smith said.

Offensive line coach Harry Hiestand has found consistent success recruiting at Notre Dame with a message that resonates with offensive linemen. Hiestand’s coaching style made a lasting impression on Smith.

“His attention to detail is extreme,” Smith said. “During meetings, I’ve been in places where you can sort of get away with pushing a guy this way. Hiestand is like, ‘Yes, but also, where’s your landmark? What are you aiming for? Get your head across.’

“Before they actually went on the field, he had an objective sheet. And it wasn’t just on the field. It was like attitude and, 'What are we going to do to help each other? What is the attitude that we’re bringing to this day?' He’s very particular in what he did. Every minute detail he covered pretty much.”

Those details can turn a talented recruit into a first-round draft pick. And with the early reviews from recruiting analysts, Smith seems to fit the bill. The 6-foot-5, 285-pound prospect possesses the physical traits to be an elite offensive lineman.

247Sports slates him as the No. 5 offensive tackle in the 2017 class. Rivals ranks him No. 32 at the position.

Smith has tracked how Hiestand has fared producing offensive linemen into the NFL at Notre Dame.

“Going through the recruiting process, you definitely want to evaluate the coach,” Smith said. “See who he’s coached in the past, who he’s developed. Coach Hiestand has coached Zack Martin, Nick Martin, Ronnie Stanley. Those are just a few names. Obviously something’s working up there.”

Since Smith visited Notre Dame, his Twitter profile has added an Irish flavor. His profile photo is a picture of him with Notre Dame signees Tommy Kraemer and Parker Boudreaux during his recent campus visit. His header photo is an action shot of former Irish offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley.

Smith worked with Kraemer and Boudreaux at The Opening Finals last summer in Oregon, where Smith was one of only a few 2017 recruits to receive an invite. He’s kept in touch with Kraemer.

“Tommy, that’s my guy,” Smith said. “I’ve known him for a while. I think Tommy’s the main reason I’m getting recruited by Notre Dame. I remember at The Opening he kept telling me about it. He said, ‘I love it. Just go down there and check them out.’ He’s recruiting me all the time.”

Notre Dame was just one of the recruiting stops for Smith during a busy start to 2016. He’s made trips Ole Miss, Ohio State, Alabama, Tennessee, Clemson and Georgia.

The visits have allowed Smith to gain a better understanding of those programs that have offered him scholarships.

“It’s crazy to see all this stuff across the country: How coaches interact with you, how the different players are in different regions of the country,” Smith said. “It’s sort of fun to watch how everybody else acts. Now I have a general idea how teams really are, not just the pretty parts and flashy uniforms. I actually know how the players are down there.”

The visit spree will subside for now. A potential visit to Oregon this summer around The Opening Finals is the only trip currently on Smith’s schedule. Unofficial visits will make way to official visits in the fall. Smith hopes that leads him to a commitment in December with plans to enroll early at the college of his choice.

Smith has already made enough visits to focus on the main factors in his impending decision.

“The O-line coach, that will be a gigantic part of it,” Smith said. “If I really like how they coach, their coaching style, and who I really connect with. Also, the team. My teammates and incoming commits, just seeing the team culture. Then on top of that, I’d probably say the academic part. To see if they have anything to go with my major. To see how the programs are set up for that.”

Smith, a junior at the University School of Jackson in Tennessee, wants to find a career in sports management to follow his career on the field.

If Notre Dame gets its wish, the Irish will have the chance to set him up for both.

tjames@ndinsider.com

574-235-6214

Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Four-star offensive tackle Trey Smith was "blown away" by his to visit Notre Dame on Saturday, April 2. (Photo courtesy of Student Sports)