"The Ole Miss coaches were in his house tonight," added West Helena assistant coach, Buck Willie. "He called me right after they left and told me that he wanted to end the recruiting process, so he went ahead and committed to Ole Miss."
Why did the 6' 6", 280 pound defensive lineman choose Ole Miss?
"It feels like family over there to him. It feels like home away from
home. He is very close with Coaches Shibest and Nutt. They are going to take
care of him over there. Ole Miss has been with him since this whole thing started."
Who were the other schools involved for Eric Smiley ?
"Well, a lot of the schools who offered him early on (Southern Cal, Arkansas, Washington Washington State, Oregon, Memphis) kind of dropped off after they figured he would not qualify, but Ole Miss stuck with him. I think he will make it, and we are going to document it. Oregon has been making a strong push for him, and so has Tulsa and Memphis."
Will Eric take his official visits?
"He is going to Ole Miss on the (January) 23rd. Eric was going to visit Oregon and Tulsa, but he has shut it down now. I do not think he will visit them anymore."
West Helena Central made it to the State Championship game and lost a heart breaker to Pulaski Aca by three points after defeating them in the regular season. Smiley was a big contributor to their success.
"Eric had around 65 tackles, a bunch of QB pressures and 9 sacks," stated Coach Buck. "Right now, in year two of playing football, he showed great strides from year one to year two. He is 6' 6", 280 and can really run. You just can't teach that. He is just a great athlete. The kid came in here last year and did not have any techniques to get to the QB. He just bull rushed them (laugh), but now he has a spin move and hook move. He has showed a lot of progress. Knowing that staff over there at Ole Miss like I know them, it would not shock me to see Eric become a high draft pick. His upside is unlimited."