- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Nigel Smith is in the midst of a busy start to the summer, the four-star defensive lineman wrapping up a northeast swing that took him to check out the Rutgers football program, then Pittsburgh and finally at Ohio State.
Ranked by 247Sports as the No. 42 player in the nation and the fifth-best defensive lineman in the class of 2024, Smith is a prized recruit. The Melissa High School (Melissa, TX) standout has some of the biggest programs in the nation lining up for visits this summer.
Which makes his swing through the northeast very curious.
Smith checked out Rutgers and Pittsburgh last week while visiting family in the area. He walked away from both programs impressed with what he saw and having forged some new relationships along the way.
As well as connecting with some familiar faces as well.
Check out what Nigel Smith had to say about his time so far at Rutgers football where he interacted with head coach Greg Schiano and defensive line coach Marquise Watson. He then went to Pittsburgh over the weekend where he reconnected with assistant coach Tiquan Underwood (coach ‘Wood). Early this week, Smith will head to Ohio State and then has upcoming visits to Oklahoma, Alabama and then Miami!
Nigel Smith on his road trip starting at Rutgers football
“So I started with Rutgers; it went great. Got to meet with coach [Marquise] Watson a little more, got to go to their d-line meetings. The whole staff is very real, very genuine. Coach Schiano is a great man.
“Then I went to Pitt and I had a great relationship with coach ‘Wood already. It went beyond my expectations going to Pitt so I had a very fun time. Pitt itself – Pittsburgh – is amazing. I haven’t seen anything like it coming from Texas. I definitely enjoyed myself.”
Nigel Smith on why he made the trip from Texas to the northeast
“I come up to Jersey once a year, I check in with my uncle and they live 30 minutes away [from Rutgers]. I also enjoy being at Rutgers. Them being so close, no way I wouldn’t go visit when I’m up there. Pitt, it was my first time but coach ‘Wood has built a great relationship with me that I had to come check it out. I definitely enjoyed it. And Ohio State is Ohio State. They’re a great program as well, coach Johnson is a legendary coach. Everything else – also, I like it a little cooler, you know?”
Nigel Smith talks about his relationship with Rutgers football defensive line coach Marquise Watson
“I’ve had a relationship with him pretty much since he got there, right around when he got there we had a Zoom meeting with the whole coaching staff so I got to meet all them. He came down literally two days before I went up to New Jersey so I met him [at my high school]. Got to build a relationship for sure.
“It was definitely a great, great place to visit. I had a real fun time there just enjoyed myself up there. They are some real genuine coaches.”
Nigel Smith on the visit to Pitt
“So, Pittsburgh itself was awesome because just – I’m not used to such a close together place like that. Buildings on the side of mountains, houses all on the side of mountains and things like that. And that’s just a great view to see. All the trees, all the green. I’m not used to being around all the water. Great weather. And to be that close to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“No college in the nation can say they are right next to an NFL team every single day. A huge plus. Aaron Donald is there, pretty much every day in the offseason. He has his own locker. Just all the things they have on top of great coaching – [it] is something else.”
Nigel Smith on the relationship with Pitt assistant Tiquan Underwood (formerly an assistant at Rutgers football)
“I began my relationship with him back when I first met them back up in Rutgers my freshman year, he saw me and he’s been a real genuine guy. Real fun to be around, easy to talk to. And it’s been going since then. He loved me as a player and so once he got to Pitt, he just snuck my film in there for the coaches to watch because I mean, they’re all the way up in Pittsburgh so they’re not really on too many Texas guys. But he snuck my film in there and the coaches loved it. Coach ‘Wood got on me as a Pitt coach and it has been there ever since.
“Just helps me to feel comfortable and the thing is Coach P (Charlie Partridge) – he is the d-line coach. He is very genuine as well. He feels kind of just like coach ‘Wood talking to him. So just having guys a lot of guys like coach ’Wood definitely factors into that decision.”
Nigel Smith on visiting Ohio State and competing in their football camp
“It will be my third time going up so really continuing to build that relationship with them. I’m going to be camp – that was one I was planning on and have fun. There’s not really much I can see that I haven’t already seen up there. It’s just going to be going to further my relationship with them and have fun.”
Nigel Smith on his relationship with the Ohio State football staff
“It’s definitely a great relationship.
“I’m really close with [recruiting coordinator] Ed [Terwilliger] and I love talking to coach [Ryan] Day and obviously, coach [Larry] Johnson (defensive line coach) is a legend. Just being able to talk ball with him is amazing.”
Nigel Smith on what is next after the three day trip of Rutgers, Pittsburgh and then the Ohio State football camp
“That will be my last step and then I’ll be at Oklahoma the following weekend and then I think Alabama the following weekend after that and then I think Miami.”
Nigel Smith on how the Oklahoma football program is doing in his recruitment
“OU is actually closer than a lot of the bigger colleges we have in Texas – little under three hours away. And they definitely have a great culture down there, a crazy fan base. It’s always fun going out there. They have great defensive coaches. I kind of feel at home.”
Nigel Smith on where things stand with Alabama football
“Obviously I had a call with [head] coach [Nick] Saban; he offered me a while back. He sent the DC to come check out my high school, check me out to see how I am in person. I got to be with him, had a couple of talks about what I like, what I don’t like and what that visit will be like when I go there. We’ll see, it will be my first time checking out Alabama.”
Nigel Smith on what he hopes to see from Alabama
“Really I just expect to see them be real, be genuine. Don’t B.S. – keep it real. I don’t want a whole bunch of extra stuff. I just want to find out about that program to see if I fit. I mean, Bama is Bama. They are a really good program, a big defensive program. Definitely going to enjoy myself down there.”