Keeping the top talent in-state is key priority for almost every college football program during recruiting. Central Michigan is definitely in the same boat. Earlier this month, Dan Enos, and crew made sure that happened when they offered a scholarship, and then soon after accepted a verbal commitment from Grand Rapids Kenowa Hill senior lineman Derek Smith.
"I verbally committed on July like 10th, but made my visit to CMU the 24th. I first told my varsity head coach (Scott) Vanessen, then Coach (Kyle) Nystom, Coach Enos, and Coach (Butch) Barry (of my commitment). They all were very excited for me," Smith told Hustle Belt. "I chose CMU because the people and the atmosphere was phenomenal."
"I'm not completely sure what position they want me as, but wherever is fine with me. I would prefer offensive tackle, but it is not my choice."
Smith didn't receive dozens of scholarship offers during the recruiting process, but did attract some major interest from a number of programs, including a few from the Mid-American Conference.
"I really didn't have any offers from other schools, just a bunch of letters. Western Michigan University was recruiting me as an offensive lineman, but never offered me," he said.
Even though the 6-foot-5, and 250-pound, Smith could have stretched the process out, waiting for many more programs to come calling, he feels very confident in his decision to continue his playing days and education at Central Michigan University, where he plans to study something in the engineering field.
"When I think of CMU, I think of tradition. It feels great to have the process over with. I'm overwhelmed with excitement, and joy that they are giving me the opportunity to come and play for their program," Smith said.
Want to see Smith in action? Take a few moments to check out some of his high school highlights from last season, courtesy of Hudl: