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When 6’6″, 285-pound offensive tackle prospect Eric Smith pledged to the University of Virginia on December 20, he did so without having seen the grounds. Today, the Columbia (Decatur, GA) senior standout is en route to Charlottesville, one of 19 committed prospects Mike London and company are hosting on a huge official visit weekend.
Smith is an important recruit, one of three offensive line prospects the Hoos have committed in the class of 2013. He saw his recruitment flourish following a productive senior season (highlights are below), and UVa was one of the schools impressed enough to offer a scholarship.
Smith’s rise in the recruiting ranks didn’t come as a surprise to Columbia head coach David Edwards. The 2012 season may have been Edwards’ first as head coach of Columbia, his alma mater, but he knew of the UVa-bound prospect well beforehand.
“I remember when I saw Eric first, when he was in the eighth grade,” Edwards said. “He has always been able to run. He is so long, so he can put on a lot of weight. He uses his length very well. He’s quick. He brings leadership. He picks things up fast.”
Indeed, Smith’s athleticism and versatility is evident in that he has played three sports — football, baseball and basketball — in his time at Columbia. The talented big man started for three seasons on the varsity football team, and right now he is the starting center on Columbia’s varsity basketball squad.
In the classroom, Smith is carrying a 3.2 GPA and “has been qualified since his junior year” according to Edwards.
Academics played a major role in Smith’s decision to attend UVa. Perhaps equally as important, however, was the amount interest the Cavaliers coaching staff showed. Linebackers coach Vincent Brown, who is assigned to recruit the Decatur (GA) area, and offensive line coach Scott Wachenheim led the way.
“They called me and my coaches once a week. They called whenever they could within the NCAA limits,” said Smith, who chose the Cavaliers over offers from UNC and Wake Forest, among others. “They provided all sorts of information for me and my mom. Coach (Vincent) Brown and the offensive line coach, they persuaded me. They were not
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