Mineral (Va.) Louisa County’s Brandon Smith is a top target for many major college programs. The five-star linebacker has offers to play at close to 30 schools, including Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Penn State, Michigan, Texas A&M, Auburn, Virginia Tech, Florida, Florida State, Georgia and a host of others.
Clemson offered Smith last August, and he remains a priority for the coaching staff. Smith told The Clemson Insider at the Elite 11 Regional camp in Charlotte on Sunday that he communicates with Clemson on a weekly basis.
“I’m hearing from coach (Brent) Venables, coach (Dabo) Swinney sometimes,” Smith said. “We have a pretty good relationship.”
Venables, Clemson’s defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, has a simple message for Smith.
“Just keep getting better,” Smith said. “Just keep doing what I’m doing.”
Smith (6-4, 220) has a long, slender frame that will fill out as he continues to mature physically. He ran a 4.59 40-yard dash at the Elite 11 Regional.
According to Venables, how his body develops would determine which linebacker position he would play at Clemson.
“He just says depending on the way I grow, that’s going to determine what position I would play from a linebacker standpoint,” Smith said.
When he considers Clemson as a college option, Smith said Venables’ reputation as perhaps the best defensive coordinator in college football and the opportunity to play for him is appealing.
Said Smith: “Knowing that you’re going to be coached by one of the best in the (country), just having that advantage gives you a really good opportunity to go on and do what you want to do — your ultimate goal, so to say, as far as getting in the NFL, development and stuff like that.
“He’s a great guy and definitely a really good coach.”
Smith most recently visited Clemson for its junior day in late January. He also attended the Tigers’ junior day in March 2017.
Asked what stands out to him the most about those experiences, Smith cited the pitch he has heard from Clemson about how he would fit into the defense.
“Just the way that they talk to me as far as like ‘Hey, we’re going to get you in and do this and do that,'” Smith said.
Smith is coming off of visits to Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Penn State in early April. He doesn’t have any trips planned right now beyond an official visit to Texas A&M.
That will be Smith’s first official visit, and he isn’t sure if he will take any more spring officials. He also said he doesn’t know yet if Clemson will get an official this fall.
“I just have to talk with my parents about it and see,” he said.
Smith intends to sign in December and enroll early at his school of choice, so he wants to render a decision in September or October.
He will be examining several factors closely as he works toward his commitment.
“Just making sure that they’ve got my major depending on how good that program is,” Smith said, “then how I’m going to be fitting into the football program as far as where I stand on the depth chart and then as far as what area it is and the people I’m going to be around.”
Smith is ranked by the 247Sports Composite as the No. 1 prospect in Virginia, No. 1 inside linebacker and No. 19 overall prospect for the 2019 class.