Even though Thursday was the first time Rahshaun 'Shaq' Smith was visiting Tennessee it didn't mean he was getting to know a new coaching staff.
Instead, when Smith met up with head coach Butch Jones, defensive line coach Steve Stripling and the rest of the Tennessee coaching staff on Thursday it meant he was seeing a staff that gave him one of his earliest offers two summers ago before he even began his high school football career.
"It's actually crazy. Believe it or not, I met the entire coaching staff going into my freshman year when they were at Cincinnati and I camped there," Smith explained. "From then, the coaches offered me and my offer transferred over when they got here.
"When I visited today they all saw me and they all kept saying, 'You're so big now. We remember you from Cincinnait.' It was crazy.
"Coach Strip was telling everybody that when he left Cincinnati he took everyone's name tag on their board and brought it with him and when I came today he pulled it out of his desk and showed it to me."
Since his original scholarship offer from Cincinnati, the 6-foot-2, 225-pound defensive end has picked up a lot more. Smith is already one of more impressive offer lists in the country for the class of 2016 defensive lineman.
Smith credited his strong relationship with Jones as a reason he's very interested in the Vols.
"Getting to see coach Jones, we really got to build a strong relationship starting today and he was telling me that in their first meeting when they got to Tennessee from Cincinnati he brought me up and talked about me so that was good," Smith explained.
But, his visit was more than just reminiscing about the past. Smith went on to say that his visit to Tennessee will change how looks at the Vols in the future in a very positive way.
"It was definitely a mind-changing, mind-blowing experience. I didn't expect it to be like it was," Smith said. "It was everything Rocky Top is made out to be. Great facilities and great coaches," Smith said. "I really like coach Strip. Me and coach Jones are building a very strong relationship and it puts Tennessee up a little bit just by having him a lone. Not a lot of head coaches spend a lot of time with you alone and he did that and I got to meet his wife and his kids. Coach Jones was just telling me I was already like family so I liked that and it was a very, very great visit for Tennessee."
Yet another example of why this staff is a perfect fit here. The little things are all executed to perfection, the early offers/relationships, the name tag from Strip, meeting the family....we are in good hands.