RB Jahmir Smith explains why he chose Notre Dame over eight Ivy League schools

Jahmir Smith lifts weights during his first period class at Lee Senior High School in May.
Jahmir Smith lifts weights during his first period class at Lee Senior High School in May.

Jahmir Smith said when he was deciding where he would go to college, he wanted to make sure the program had a great reputation for academics and athletics.

That is ultimately why the Lee County running back, who has a 4.43 GPA and ran for more than 2,000 yards last season as a junior, didn’t choose to go to one of the eight Ivy League schools that offered him a scholarship. Smith was also offered scholarships to Duke, UNC and N.C. State.

Instead he chose Notre Dame.

“I just thought Notre Dame was a better fit,” Smith said. “Part of me wanted to stay in state, but the other part of me wanted to go somewhere new.”

Smith said when he visited Notre Dame last week he found that the players there were like-minded as he. He said the coaches told him that at Notre Dame he would be a better overall player and person.

The 6-foot, 198-pound, 17-year-old from the class of 2018 is one of the best players in the state academically and athletically. He’s rated three-stars on 247sports’ composite rankings and had more than 30 offers from schools around the country, including all eight Ivy League schools – Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, Darmouth, Cornell, Pennsylvania and Columbia.

Smith considers Notre Dame to be in the same class academically as the Ivy League schools. He said after he graduates from Notre Dame, which he expects to do with honors, he can go to any medical school in the country in hopes of achieving one of his two dreams: to be an anesthesiologist.

His other dream is to make it to the NFL.

Smith was an N&O All-Metro football pick last season after rushing for 2,130 yards (6.7 per carry) and a state-leading 41 touchdowns for the 12-2 Yellow Jackets.

He started high school at Southern Lee, where he didn’t play much.

After his sophomore year, he transferred to rival Lee County where he emerged as a starter.

Smith said the best part of making his decision is not having to worry about keeping up with all the college coaches, who texted or called him everyday.

Now he can focus pursuing his dreams.

Jonathan M. Alexander: 919-829-4822, @jonmalexander