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Notre Dame Football

DL Chris Smith Goes In-Depth on Transfer to Notre Dame

April 15, 2022

Harvard graduate transfer Chris Smith has had a crazy month as life has changed quickly for the defensive lineman. 

The 6-foot-2, 293-pounder flipped his commitment from Minnesota to Notre Dame on April 6th following a visit to South Bend. 

"It's been good," Smith told ISD. "I've been receiving a lot of love and appreciation. Nothing too crazy, but I'm just trying to finish this last couple weeks I have here and get ready for what's to come."

Smith is still at Harvard as he has a few academic assignments to wrap up before he heads to Notre Dame, but he's not stressing over it like some seniors.   

"I knocked out the big chunk of the hard classes," laughed Smith. "I have a light workload, so I'm finishing up a couple of papers and I have a couple tests before I'm out of here." 

How quickly did the decision happen for Smith? Well, it was pretty quick as the Irish staff needed to find an experienced body following Aidan Keanaain's ACL injury on the first day of spring practice. 

"Three or four weeks ago, Notre Dame hit me up saying they had a major injury to one of their players and they were light inside," explained Smith. "They needed another defensive tackle to come in and compete. I thought it was a great opportunity and I took it from there and set up a visit. 

"I got the layout of the place and how genuine Coach (Marcus) Freeman and the rest of the staff were. From there, I made my decision and wanted to be part of the team." 

A significant piece of Smith's visit was taking in a Notre Dame practice and seeing how defensive line coach Al Washington coached his guys. 

"It was awesome to watch practice and it was intense," Smith stated. "Coach Washington was intense and I liked that. He was giving great feedback to the other defensive linemen. 

"I loved his energy and his vibe. After practice, we watched some of the film and broke it down. I liked the coaching points he had and he had a plan for what he wanted to do with me. I love his coaching style. He has a lot of energy and it's something I'm looking forward to." 

Smith was hosted by several defensive linemen, including Jacob Lacey, Howard Cross III and Osita Ekwonu, and they left a lasting impression. 

"Those guys were awesome," said Smith. "They gave a lot of good insight into Notre Dame and the football program. They were really cool people and I could definitely see myself fitting in at Notre Dame. 

"It's always good talking to the players and getting their perspective of what the program is like and what coaches are like. They're definitely great guys." 

The future Harvard graduate also found some comfort in knowing he would be joined by one of his Crimson teammates in punter Jon Sot. 

"That's my guy," Smith stated. "I talk to him off the field a lot. He sold me on Notre Dame too. He gave his perspective and how he was communicating with the coaches and what he saw on his visit. 

"He's a great teammate I had here and I'm excited to get to play with him another year in a different uniform."

Smith admits he never saw the last four years shaking out as it did, but he couldn't be more grateful. 

"It's crazy," said Smith, who will be part of Notre Dame's Science Management master's program. "I didn't think I was going to Harvard and I definitely didn't think I'd be going to Notre Dame to play football. It's really been a blessing. It's been crazy and I'm still taking it all in.

"I'm excited for what's to come and to get there." 

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