Top 100 Prospect – S Harrison Smith

Last year after Notre Dame lost to Southern Cal, Irish head coach Brian Kelly created a major controversy when he said there was a clear difference between the players on his team that he inherited from Coach Charlie Weis and the players he recruited. The inference was that the former staff’s players were not as committed to winning as his players.

Kelly’s comments left some players alienated and took to Twitter to express their frustrations. They even had a few things to say to Kelly’s face during the team’s next practice. The locker room was about to split.

That’s when fifth-year safety Harrison Smith stepped forward. Although quiet by nature, Smith had grown into the leadership role that goes with being selected as the only captain for the 2011 Notre Dame squad. He was only the fourth lone captain for the Irish in the last 40 years. During a team meeting, Smith stood up and likened the situation to how he still loved his brothers growing up even though they constantly fought. He told his teammates that no matter how they got to the roster, they needed to commit to one another, and have each other’s back.

Smith’s message to the locker room was heard and the storm created by the head coach was calmed.

“We look up to him,” said sophomore DT Louis Nix. “We want somebody to lead us out onto the field that we have 100 percent confidence in, and we have confidence in Harrison. He sets the example for us. He’ll mess up once and come back and complete another good play and just turn the whole game around for everybody. He keeps us going.”

It’s all part of the Harrison Smith story. The rest is here.

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