Last week, in a 24-10 win over Hough in the state quarterfinals, Smothers had two take-your-breath-away scoring runs that proved the difference in a close game. In Friday’s 42-7 state semifinal win over Myers Park, Smothers was just as good. He has this habit of making fast cuts and changes of directions opponents can’t really deal with — and then they can’t catch him. He showed that again Friday in south Charlotte.
Smothers has an electronically timed 4.42-second 40-yard dash on his resume, which is even fast for a college senior. He used that speed and that vision en route to 13 carries for 170 yards and two touchdowns against Myers Park. He also caught two passes for 27 yards, including a pretty one-handed snag that turned a sure punt into a first down. Smothers’ “Hollywood” nickname (and Twitter handle) seems to fit.
The 6-foot, 185-pound Smothers said he was thrilled to find out about the offer from Tennessee. His coach relayed the news to him after speaking with first-year Vols running backs coach Jerry Mack.
“I just thought it was dope and a blessing receiving an offer from Tennessee,” said Smothers, who’s ranked by 247Sports as the No. 14 running back in the 2023 class and the No. 6 sophomore from the state of North Carolina. “Coach Mack told my coach, and my coach let me know.
“He told him he’s been paying attention (to me) and loved my game and wanted me to know I have an offer from their school.”
Smothers said he likes what he has seen and heard from Tennessee so far, but he’s still learning more about the program. He said he hasn’t ruled out making a trip to Knoxville sometime next month, with the ongoing dead period for recruiting set to end May 31.
“I don’t know too much (about Tennessee), but I did watch Alvin Kamara when he came in,” Smothers said, referring to the former Vols running back who’s now a star for the NFL’s New Orleans Saints. “I’m a big fan of Alvin, (and) take a lot of his game and add it to mine, so I watched a lot of him coming out of Tennessee.
“And I love the facility. I think Coach Mack is very cool and a down-to-earth guy, as well.”
With more than 10 schools now pursuing him, Smothers said he’s “still deciding on which ones to visit” this summer once in-person recruiting resumes. Even after getting a virtual view of Tennessee’s campus, he said he’s interested in visiting the Vols.
“I did a virtual junior day and I talked to Coach Mack,” Smothers said. “I had to call him. Of course, he can’t call me because of the rules. … I still might work out on going to Tennessee just to check it out in person.”
Smothers said his virtual tour of Tennessee happened “weeks ago,” before he picked up his offer from the Vols. He said he was particularly impressed by some of their facilities.
“Haven’t really put any school in order because I’m still young and still experiencing the process,” said Smothers, who’s ranked the No. 291 overall prospect and No. 16 running back in the 2023 class, according to the industry-generated 247Sports Composite. “But (Tennessee is) in a good spot, for sure.”
The 5-foot-11, 182-pound Smothers said first-year Tennessee coach Josh Heupel’s staff was “great,” and the Vols’ campus and facilities were “impressive, very nice in my opinion.” He said he enjoyed getting to know Tennessee running backs coach Jerry Mack in particular.
“He said he thinks I’m a great fit to how their playing style is, fitting into their quick tempo, getting downhill fast. Being used like Alvin Kamara is what he compared me to,” Smothers said, referring to the former Tennessee standout who’s now a star running back for the NFL’s New Orleans Saints.