Virginia Tech signed an Indian River HS product in each of its last two recruiting classes, and the Hokies hope to continue the trend in 2019. Enter defensive tackle Ben Smiley. The Hokies offered the 6'4" 255 pound 757 product in May.
"I love the program a lot," Smiley said of the Hokies. "I remember watching them as a kid and just seeing the love from the fans and coaches and players cheering them on and just loving the program. I wouldn't have imagined I would be receiving a scholarship four years later. I just thank God everyday for the position I'm in and give glory to him to make my dreams into reality."
Smiley is certainly on his way to realizing his football dreams. He notched 61 tackles, 17.0 tackles for loss, and 5.0 sacks during his sophomore campaign. He earned defensive line MVP honors at the V7 Elite Playmakers camp in Virginia Beach. 247Sports ranked him a 4-star DL prospect. In addition to Tech, Rutgers, Wake Forest, Maryland, and Missouri have extended him scholarship offers.
Close proximity to his family, feeling at home, and early playing time are among the factors important to Smiley with regards to his college decision. He noted Tech's location is a plus and believes he'll be able to strap it up early on for the Hokies.
"I think I'll be able to show out and work hard to get the spot," Smiley said. "I'm not looking for anything to be given because of my stars or rating. I'm looking to earn it on the field and the weight room."
At Tech he'd be reunited with rover Devon Hunter and mike LB Tavante Beckett, two former Indian River standout defenders who Smiley "would love to play with" again. Moreover, Tech's defense as a whole presents an appealing opportunity.
"Bud Foster and that defense is like a dream team defense," Smiley said. "They play with no fear and when one guy messes up they pick him up and keep going. That's definitely a defensive coordinator I would love playing for."
That fearless approach meshes well with what Smiley enjoys about playing in the trenches.
"Being able to get physical with the man across from you and just giving hell all game," Smiley said. "Also, just being able to shut down a whole offense and making them try new things to stop me, and me still being able to disrupt the play by me making it, or penetrating the line so my teammates can make it."
Tech's not without competition for Smiley's services though. He does not have a top group, a decision date set, and he is open to all suitors. He hopes to eventually receive offers from regional Power Five programs: Clemson, Virginia, NC State, and North Carolina.
Smiley plans to visit for the Hokies tilt against the Tigers on September 30.