Apopka running back Tom Smith committed to the University of Tennessee during a two-day trip to Knoxville with teammates Spencer Waseem and Keon Brooks.
"It feels good. I like everything about it, especially the coaching staff, they're amazing," Smith said from his cell phone at the Knoxville McGhee Tyson Airport where he was getting ready to fly back to Orlando. "Just being around here and around the players and I like the community ... just being around here is like being around family."
Pittsburgh, Virginia and Northwestern were three of the schools high on his list, but Smith (5-10, 185) said it never came down to deciding between schools.
"Tennessee was just that much better. I had no idea I was going to commit," said Smith, who told his decision to new Vols' head coach Derek Dooley first.
"That's the reason why I made my decision," said Smith, who really liked the personable Dooley. "He was happy that I made that decision."
Smith said he's solid UT committed, but also knows other schools will still come calling.
"I won't be mean or anything, Smith said. "I'll talk to them, but I'll tell them I'm all in with Tennessee."
Last year, Smith ran for 1,163 regular-season yards and scored 21 rushing touchdowns on 154 carries for the Apopka Blue Darters, a 6A state semifinalist in 2009.
He was even more impressive in the playoffs and ballooned his stats to a season-ending 235 carries for 1,651 yards and 24 TDs and added 129 yards receiving and 100 yards passing.
Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at email@example.com.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun