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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

2021 ATH Jaylin Smith Sets Notre Dame Visit, Talks Brian Kelly

January 6, 2020

2021 Bishop Alemany (Calif.) star Jaylin Smith‍ is quickly becoming one of the nation's top athletes and Notre Dame has taken notice. 

The 5-foot-11, 185-pounder will be in South Bend on February 1st for Junior Day and he couldn't be more excited after a conversation with Notre Dame’s head football coach. 

"It was crazy," Smith stated. "It was a regular day and coach Brian Kelly hit me up. He invited me to Junior Day. I was like, 'Huh?'

"The head coach invited me. I was shocked, blessed and happy. That's when all the love started coming." 

Smith didn't take the interaction with Kelly for granted as he knows a conversation with a head coach doesn't happen every day, especially for considering Notre Dame hasn't offered just yet.

"I'm just very blessed," explained Smith. "I was thankful for him to invite me. It was a crazy moment. I was just shocked. It shows I'm doing something right and it's humbling. I'm ready to work." 

The Fighting Irish are a program the California native has kept tabs on over the last few years, so Smith does know quite a bit about Notre Dame. 

"I'm pretty familiar with Notre Dame," said Smith. "Growing up and watching a lot of college football, they've been to a lot of bowl games and made a lot of noise in college football.

"I've always been a low key fan. I'm on the West Coast, so it's all about USC, but I've followed Notre Dame and those types of schools. There is always something behind the school in terms of them being so good. I like the tradition, the brotherhood and how they win and dominate games." 

When he arrives in South Bend, Smith will keep it simple. The three-star prospect wants to get a better feel for the people around the program, but also soak in as much knowledge about Notre Dame as it will be his first visit. 

"I want to see how the hospitality is and how everyone interacts around the program," Smith explained. "I want to see the atmosphere and the weather. I want to see how the campus and academics are out there. 

"I want to see everything - the locker room and how the coaches welcome people visiting." 

Along with Notre Dame, Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, UCLA and Washington are recruiting the two-way standout, but only the Ducks have told him they project him on the defensive side of the ball to this point.

"I got offered by Oregon to play defensive back," Smith said. "I think everyone else has offered as an athlete. I don't think anyone else besides Oregon has offered me as a defensive back." 

When it comes to a position, Smith is enjoying being recruited as an athlete, but knows he'll have to pick a spot in the future. 

"To be honest, I know later down the line; I'll have to make that decision," stated Smith. "I don't have a preference. I feel like if I can produce on both sides of the ball and give it my all, it'll work out." 

In addition to his Notre Dame visit, Smith will head to see two Pac-12 programs in the coming weeks. 

"I'll be headed up to Washington," said Smith. "I'm planning to get to Washington State in the winter." 

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