It was OSU assistant coach Mel Tucker, who recruits (and typically delivers) the Cleveland area for the Buckeyes. His message was enough to change the direction of Smith's life.
"They called me Monday or Tuesday of the week," said Smith, who had just returned from a weekend official visit at West Virginia. "They asked me if it was too late and if I had made my decision. I said, 'No, I'm still pretty wide open.'
"They said they wanted me to visit and they were going to offer me a scholarship this weekend. I came down on my official visit, I liked it a lot and I accepted," Smith said.
Smith (6-3, 230, 4.57) was asked what went through his mind when OSU pretty much called him out of the blue.
"It's Ohio State, the national champions and one of the best teams in the nation," Smith said. "It can't get any better than that."
Smith was hosted at OSU by Roy Hall, Rob Sims and Marcel Frost, all former Cleveland area standouts in their own right.
"A lot of people think Ohio State has a big roster and nobody gets to play early there," Smith said. "But everybody gets an opportunity to play. You can see it in practice. The best are going to get in.
"I also like all of the defensive coaches. I've talked to Coach Tucker a lot. He and my coach are good friends."
Smith had been offered previously by West Virginia, Northwestern, Connecticut, Navy and most of the MAC. He holds a 3.4 GPA and has scores of 20 on the ACT and 960 on the SAT.
As a senior, he had 125 tackles, four sacks and three interceptions for a 6-4 team.
"They say they want to try me at all three linebacker positions," Smith said. "They haven't said anything about defensive end, but I'm pretty open to moving if I need to. I believe I will be a lot bigger. I think I can be 250 to 260 pounds."