Brooklyn (N.Y.) Xaverian running back Laray Smith hasn't been able to take visits, participate in camps or excel at combines this summer because of his commitment to track & field. While it has certainly delayed his recruitment, it also paid off over the weekend as he earned All-America status in a pair of events.
Smith blazed through qualifying and ousted some of the fastest runners in the country on the way to the Junior Olympics in Baltimore, Maryland.
"Before you go to the actual round of Junior Olympics, you have to have try-outs," Smith explained. "My first-round was in Staten Island (N.Y.) and my second was in Long Island (N.Y.) and then the top 60 (times) went (to Baltimore) for the 200 (meter dash) and the top 40 go for the 400.
"When you become top eight, you become All-American automatically."
Smith was steady as ever in the 200, finishing seventh in the nation with a time of 21.86 seconds. But in the 400, the event he worked the hardest at, the 6-foot-1, 175-pounder challenged for the top spot before finishing third. He crossed the finish line after 47.67 seconds of speed.
"To become a two-time All-American in my first national meet, it's a pretty exciting time," he said. "It was a great experience, being the only kid from New York to make it back to both finals and become All-American and placing third in the 400.
"I'm going to win it next year, though. Now I know what to do for next year."
After returning home from Maryland late Sunday night, Smith let the world know where his focus was turning. "…Back to football," he posted on Facebook.
Despite not having the time most recruits do, he has still racked up some impressive offers in football – something he credits in big part to the track.
"People don't understand that track is a big part of any sport," said Smith. "When you go back to football, it's not going to be a problem. You're just going to have to learn plays and work on little things, but shape-wise you're always going to be in shape.
"Running gets your whole body in shape…it's an advantage."
The advantage of location will reward Syracuse University this weekend, as the school will be the first to host Smith since the school year ended. The Xaverian back has never been to the Central New York campus, about a four-and-a-half hour drive from Brooklyn – one he will take with his uncle.
"I'm going on Saturday," he said. "I already know I'm going to be a comfortable there because I talk to Coach (John) Anselmo and Coach (Doug) Marrone a lot. So I already know it's going to be a good experience.
"I just want to see how it is, to see if I feel like it's my home."
Smith told FOX Sports NEXT that the Orange was in the lead at this point, but his national exposure through track has helped him land on other programs' radar. The new schools could draw-out the recruiting process even further for the two-sport star.
"I'm talking to more schools for track now," he admitted. "Miami and Auburn are speaking to me. I was getting recruited by Miami anyway, but when I told them I was running track they were really excited."
The good news for the speedster is that official visit season is right around the corner, so some of the further schools will be easier to take in. Two of the five potential destinations already seem to be locks.