(UHND.com) – At the beginning of January Notre Dame recruiting fans were speculating over which linebackers would join what was already a talented recruiting class. Names like Chris Donald, Malcolm Smith, and Lorenzo Edwards dominated in the discussion. The name Brian Smith was long forgotten after he did not get a scholarship offer the previous summer. Luckily for Notre Dame the Irish were never forgotten by Smith.
“This is the place I always wanted to be,” Smith said while being questioned by the media on Friday during the Freshmen media day at Notre Dame. He added, “I’ve been here 50,000 times at games and stuff like that. Coming up as a kid, this was the place where I’ve always wanted to be and when that offer came through, it was hard to pass up.”
Getting to the point where it was hard to pass the offer, though, proved to be a little more trying than Smith probably would have liked.
Brian Smith grew up loving Notre Dame after hearing stories from his dad Chris who was a fullback for Gerry Faust and later the Kansas City Chiefs after graduating from Notre Dame in 1985. A scholarship offer didn’t look like it was in the cards though after Notre Dame passed on the younger Smith last summer.
“I lost all hope when I committed to Iowa in August. I lost all hope. I was like ‘they’re not going to come through, I might need to move on,’” said Smith. “Coach Weis is a definite kind of guy if he’s not going to do something. I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to receive an offer later.”
Thinking a scholarship wasn’t coming from his top choice, Smith committed to Iowa and played his senior season.
A lot changed during Smith’s senior year, but not with Smith’s game. The changes were on Notre Dame’s side. Out was then defensive coordinator and in was Corwin Brown to run the Irish defense.
Around the same time Brown was being hired, Smith started to look at other schools and his dad reached out, “When I started flirting with K-State, my dad kind of under the radar said Brian’s having second thoughts about Iowa if you guys would like to take a second look, it’s open.”
Luckily for Notre Dame, they took another look and Corwin Brown liked what he saw. According to Smith, “From my senior tape coach Brown really liked what I could bring off the edge and stuff like that.” A scholarship offer would soon follow and the rest is history.
Brown’s role in getting that scholarship offer is not lost on Smith. Friday he told the media, “I owe a lot to coach Brown. He’s my guy. I really like him a lot.“
So far, the Notre Dame coaching staff really likes Smith a lot too. Smith has been one of the freshman that Weis has spoken highly of so far in camp. When asked about Kerry Neal and Brian Smith last week, Weis said, “Both of those guys are definitely on the depth chart.”
While his path to Notre Dame may have taken a detour, now that he is here, it looks like Smith is making the most of his opportunity and could be making an impact on the field as early as Saturday.