Smith makes Herd the only choice

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 14, 2007

SOUTH POINT — A lot of major colleges were knocking on Chris Smith’s door or ringing his phone.

They knew Smith had made Marshall his number one choice. Little did they know none of them were next in line.

Instead, Smith said that if Marshall had not come calling, he would have opted to sign a track scholarship with South Carolina. When Marshall offered, Smith gave a verbal commitment in late July and the recruiting process was over in his mind.

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“Marshall was pretty much the only place I wanted to play football,” Smith said. “I love track and I like South Carolina, but Marshall and football are what I truly want to do.”

Several schools such as Colorado, Michigan State and Cincinnati were still calling as late as last week, but Smith wouldn’t budge on his decision. He also turned away offers from North Carolina State, Michigan, Iowa and West Virginia.

The WVU offer came on Sept. 1 of Smith’s junior year, the first day scholarships were allowed to be offered.

“It was waiting in my (mail) box when I went to look in it,” Smith said.

Part of Smith’s decision was due to the closeness of the school to his home and to coach Mark Snyder who began recruiting Smith when the Herd coach was still an assistant at Ohio State.

“Those were factors, but Marshall has a really good tradition,” Smith said. “They were always winning their conference and bowl games. They’ve had a few down years, but hopefully, me and the class coming in will turn that around.”

Smith, the top shot put and discuss thrower in the area last season, plans to cut back on his competition this spring in order to attend Marshall practices and meetings in an effort to be better prepared when he reports in August.

The Herd returns starter Bernard Morris and two other quarterbacks. Marshall has also recruited another quarterback from South Carolina.

Smith welcomes the challenge.

“I’m not afraid of competition. (The Marshall coaches) didn’t make me any promises,” Smith said

“I’m going to go in and show them what I can do. If I’m the best one, I’ll play. I wanted to play early. That’s why I’m cutting back on track.”

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Smith was a first team all-district selection and second team All-Ohio. He completed 87 of 171 passes for 1,318 yards and 13 touchdowns with just six interceptions. He also ran 95 times for 200 yards.

Smith was recently selected to play with the South All-Stars in the 62nd annual Ohio High School Football Coaches Association North/South All-Star Classic sponsored by Grange Insurance.

The game is schedule for 7 p.m. Saturday, June 16, at Columbus Crew Stadium.

Chris is the son of Rusty and Carol Smith of South Point.