The past week was a roller coaster ride for Mount Pleasant (S.C.) Wando High School wide receiver OrTre Smith, widely regarded as the top player in the state for the 2017 cycle. On Sunday, he announced his commitment to the University of South Carolina, a decidedly positive, joyous moment for the senior recruit. Then on Friday, joy turned to frustration as Wando was thumped 54-14 by Fort Dorchester.
This amusement park ride ebb and flow will surge on Saturday when Smith takes his first visit to the Gamecocks’ campus as a commit. If previous visits were any indication, though, he should feel right at home when he visits his future school for its contest with the East Carolina Pirates, the program’s 2016 home opener.
After his team’s painful loss, Smith did not mince words– because there were few words to mince– but he did explain the reasoning behind his pledge to South Carolina, one of five schools to make his top five.
“Just how comfortable I felt,” Smith told Today’s U. “It’s a good situation for me. I love the coaching staff there, and it just felt like home.”
It’s not far from his current home, either. South Carolina is about an hour and a half away, and the school proved itself to Smith through a lengthy recruitment, one which began at the end of his sophomore season. The Gamecocks were Smith’s second offer, and the program continued to pursue the nation’s No. 15 wide receiver even through a head coaching change.
Joining South Carolina in Smith’s top group of schools prior to announcing his allegiance to the Gamecocks’ included North Carolina, Florida, Clemson and Georgia. Apart from those programs, 15 other schools extended him a scholarship offer over the past three years. Recruiting, however, does not hold a sweet spot in Smith’s heart, and the 6-foot-4, 215-pounder does not plan on doing much of it for his future team either.
“I’m not really big on recruiting, so I’m just sitting back right now,” he said.
Despite that caveat, South Carolina fans should not worry about the solidity of Smith’s pledge. He indicated he has no intentions of visiting other schools, whether officially or unofficially. That bodes well for South Carolina, which now boasts the country’s No. 11 recruiting class according to 247Sports.com.
Once he arrives in Columbia, Smith touched on what South Carolina fans can expect from him on the field.
“I’ve got a big body,” he said. “I can go up and get the ball. Decent speed.”
These qualities were on display during Friday night’s loss and reinforce what the talented wide receiver, who also plays safety, said after the contest. Smith finished the game with five receptions for roughly 50 yards despite double and even triple coverage all night long.
“I’m used to it,” he said. “I can’t really do anything about it. People have to make plays. When we make plays, we will be fine.”
Fine is also the word Smith used to describe the early portion of Wando’s 2-2 season.
“Our defense has been extremely better from last year,” he said. “It’s just offense, we’ve been struggling on offense right now. The defense is strong. We keep putting our defense in bad situations, but other than that they are fine.”
Some of the team’s offensive struggles may be attributed to a first-time starting quarterback, but Smith deflected that notion, mentioning his aspiration to contribute to the Warriors’ team as much as possible this year before eventually doing the same at South Carolina.