Two canceled announcements, a Catholic school teachers’ strike and a school closing later, Nate Smith (Archbishop Wood/Warminster, Pa.) finally was able to go public with his commitment.
Next fall, Smith, a 6-foot, 185-pound three-star athlete, will be playing safety for West Virginia.
“I went there and visited and went for the spring game, and I liked it a lot,” said Smith, who said he made up his mind back in July. “Their defense, a lot of the time they have four or five DBs on the field at the same time, and I’ll have a chance to get on the field or a chance to start.”
Much like Chaz Whittaker, a Pittsburgh product who also committed to West Virginia this week, Smith was surprised at how passionate the Mountaineers fan base is. Smith couldn’t believe at how many people showed up for the spring game.
“Everybody was loud," Smith, who is ranked by ESPNU as the No. 45 player in the state of Pennsylvania, said. "I just felt like a passion and love for the football players. They’re the only team in the state.”
There might not be another recruit in the country with worse luck when it came to announcing his decision than Smith. Originally, he was set to announce on Sept. 7, but Catholic school teachers in the Philadelphia area went on strike shortly before that date. Then set to announce on Oct. 11, school ended up being out of session that day, too.
On Tuesday, Smith was finally able to announce at a ceremony at the high school, and he said he can now finally turn his attention back to Archbishop Wood, which is 6-1 and eyeing a state championship.
“Now I can really focus on my task at hand and my goal before I leave high school,” he said.
Smith also received offers from Michigan State, South Carolina, Temple and Toledo, and he said West Virginia narrowly beat out Temple and Toledo. Toledo made Smith one of its top defensive targets and Temple felt a little bit like home, even for a New Orleans native.
“I’ve been here [in Philadelphia] for a couple of years now, and I feel like they are the home team,” Smith said. “Some of my closest friends play for Temple. [Teammate] Brandon [Peoples] committed to Temple.”
In the end, though, West Virginia is just what Smith is looking for in a college.
“I can see myself being here for the next four years," he said.