Boyle County’s Reese Smith commits to West Virginia
Reese Smith will be a Mountaineer.
Boyle County’s star junior committed to West Virginia University and will play wide receiver for head coach Neal Brown in Morgantown.
Smith made the decision over the weekend on a recruiting visit and said he fell in love with the town and the West Virginia campus.
“I had been talking about it with my parents this last week, that was my second visit (to Morgantown),” Smith said. “Something was telling me that the time was right. I had to get back up there because I didn’t see campus or nothing like that, so I saw campus. I went in some classrooms, saw classes, went to the dorms, stuff like that. That’s basically all I needed to see. I felt like that was the best fit overall for what I do. It’s a blue-collar town, it’s the way I’ve been raised. I just felt like it was the best overall fit for me.”
Smith said that he and Brown, another Boyle County product, have a great relationship and that’s what set the Mountaineers apart.
“I have tremendous respect for him,” Smith said. “He offered me basically as soon as he got the job. He came down and visited Landen (Bartleson) and I as soon as he could. He’s easygoing, even if he wasn’t a head coach or a coach at all, I could walk in a room and have a conversation with him without a problem. He’s just somebody I could go to and I know I can trust because he knows where I’m coming from, he’s been in the same shoes that I am. I feel like we have a connection there.”
Brown was also a wide receiver at Boyle County and Smith said the two of them joke about the records that Brown has set as a Rebel — and how close Smith is to breaking them.
“We talk about it every now and then, I give him a hard time. He’s still got a couple of records here and I told him hopefully they won’t be up long,” Smith said. “He tells me that he was a better player but I’ve got a little more speed than he does. We kid around about stuff like that.”
Boyle head coach Chuck Smith — who also coached Brown at Boyle — said he’s excited to see Reese Smith in Brown’s offense.
“I’m excited for him, he put a lot of thought into it,” coach Smith said of the decision. “He had a lot of choices and a lot of options and he did his homework, felt like West Virginia was the best fit for him. The offense, what they’re expecting from their receivers, as many times as they throw it, and of course he loves the head coach. It’s a pretty good fit.”
On the field, Reese Smith said it’s a perfect fit. Brown wants him to play inside receiver — Reese Smith decided to play receiver instead of safety in college — and Smith loves the fit.
“Coach Brown was really excited, he was taking two slot receivers max and he told me that I was a perfect fit for his air raid offense,” Reese Smith said. “We went through some film with him the first time, he went through some clips of what he does and what he’s going to do. Then I sat down with the inside receivers coach that he hired, coach (Travis) Trickett, and we broke down some film for what he looks for me to do and how successful I can be in their offense. Their offense is perfect for what I’d like to do.”
And coach Smith had no doubt about how his playmaker would perform in college.
“Reese will be great at it because he has no fear of taking the ball over the middle of the field,” coach Smith said. “In Reese’s mind, the quarterback can never throw a bad ball. When the ball is in the air, his mindset is that it’s his ball and he’s going to go get it. I think that mindset is what separates the great receivers from the good ones. It’s a perfect offense for him and he won’t have any problem playing the inside. That won’t be an issue for him.”
Reese Smith added that Brown’s identity off-the-field was just as important in his decision.
“He understands that faith definitely comes first because without God, nothing is possible,” Reese Smith said. “He understands that I’ve been praying about this situation, I’ve been talking to my family about it. Those are the two most important things in life. Then after that it’s football from there on out. I made a decision to him and to continue my academic and athletic career at West Virginia.”
Reese Smith had 11 offers to play at the next level, notably Kentucky, Louisville, Tennessee and Duke.
“I’m definitely 100 percent committed to West Virginia football, without a doubt,” he said. “Without those other coaches and schools, I wouldn’t be where I am today. They literally recruited me hard, I have mad respect for each coach that recruited me. I appreciate that. But West Virginia is where I want to be, my family thinks it’s a good choice. Morgantown is definitely the town that fits me, it’s a blue collar town and everybody loves football. It’s the same way here.”
Coach Smith applauded Reese Smith and his family’s dedication to finding the right fit.
“He did a great job, him and his parents, doing their homework,” coach Smith said. “They put a lot of miles on their automobile, they visited, they talked, they researched. They did a really, really nice job preparing for a big decision like this. I was talking to Reese today and it just looks like there’s a big, heavy weight taken off of his shoulders. I just think that it’s pretty mature for a young man to follow a procedure that he had of doing the research and making that decision.”
Reese Smith has the potential to graduate early in December but said the decision is one that he and his family will make over the coming months.
“I asked coach Brown when I committed if he wanted me to graduate early, because different coaches have different opinions on that,” Reese Smith said. “He gave me the positives and he gave me the negatives.
“What I’m going to do, I’ll prepare to graduate early and if I don’t want to, I can always back out and finish high school. But if I do it’s there if I want to. It’s just something that I’m going to have to decide here in a couple months, basically what I want to do, if I want to play basketball and run track or if I want to go ahead and start writing my book, basically, in college and get ready to play college football.”
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