South Iredell (Statesville, N.C.) linebacker LaChaston Smith verbally committed to the University of Virginia today, almost three weeks after he, his mother, and his sister were in Charlottesville on an unofficial visit. The 6’0″, 221-pound junior joins eight other rising high school seniors in having pledged to head coach Mike London.
Via text message, South Iredell head coach Scott Miller confirmed the news to TheSabre.com. Smith also posted the news on his Facebook page.
“He called coach Hanson and committed today,” Miller wrote.
Smith considered offers from East Carolina, Florida, Minnesota, North Carolina, South Carolina and Wake Forest before going with the Hoos. In addition to Virginia, he had visited Clemson (no offer), East Carolina, North Carolina and Wake Forest.
“[The UVa experience] was good, actually,” Smith said in an EDGE article on May 15. “I mean, the place is beautiful. I’ve never been to another school with the facilities like I saw there. It’s nice and quiet, but everybody was active and running around. It was nice.”
Smith and his family had the full attention of the Virginia staff that day. They met with Hanson, defensive coordinator Jim Reid, and finally with London.
“Obviously, Coach London focuses on three things: Faith, family and football,” Miller said in the May 15 article. “All the coaches really hit hard on Coach London’s philosophy. Coach London said he focuses on grades, classes, and young men getting their degrees. The other coaches said the same. They made us well aware of that. One of the football players, a senior linebacker, talked with LaChaston, his mom and his sister, and they got to ask all kinds of questions. I think that was a big thing.”
Smith has been a productive defensive player throughout high school, but this past season was his first at linebacker, which is the position UVa wants him to play. He racked up 99 tackles, 24 of which went for a loss, as a sophomore in 2010. He added seven forced fumbles that season, earning conference Defensive Player of the Year honors for his play at defensive end.
As a junior, Smith had 82 tackles (12 for loss) and two interception returns for scores in 10 games. He played middle linebacker all of his junior season.
“[Smith’s] a force from tackle to tackle,” Miller said previously. “He’s a hard hitter, a hard-nosed player, and he has the speed to go from sideline to sideline. He helps dictate what the offenses are going to try and do.”
TheSabre’s Take: So far, really good on the linebacker recruiting front. The position is one of the top needs for the staff in 2013, and the staff has landed two quality commits to start. Like the first commit, Micah Kiser , I think Smith could play multiple linebacker spots, though Coach Miller said earlier that most schools liked the standout prospect as a middle linebacker. Whether it’s at defensive end or middle linebacker, Smith has produced on the varsity level.
Virginia could sign as many as five linebackers in this class. Kiser and Smith could be the start of a special class if the staff can keep rolling and pull out other talented guys they are involved with.
TheSabre will have more on this commitment in the coming days, so stay tuned.