While watching The Opening on ESPN last summer, Dominion linebacker Chad Smith made a proclamation that he would work his way into the biggest high school skills camp in the country. At the April Nike Football Training Combine, Smith was named the SPARQ (speed, power, agility, reaction and quickness) MVP after scoring the the most points in the 40-yard-dash, shuttle run and the vertical jump.
But he didn’t earn The Opening invite he sought to go along with the MVP honors. On Friday, The Opening announced the 6-foot-4, 210-pound junior as the 124th invitee.
“I was really happy, to put it mildly,” Smith said of finding out he was selected. “I was speechless at first. I couldn’t believe what I said would happen last year actually happened. And to actually fulfill what I said was awesome, and I was really excited.”
— The Opening (@TheOpening2014) May 31, 2014
Smith is the second player from Loudoun County to earn an invite to the Beaverton, Ore.-based camp. Former Briar Woods defensive back Alex Carter, who’s now a starting cornerback at Stanford, was the first in 2011.
“That’s incredible, it’s great feeling that you’re one of two that have got an invite,” Smith said. “I’m truly honored and blessed at the opportunity to go up there and compete. I’m excited to represent Loudoun County, and show that we are just as good as players in any county across the nation.”
Since committing to Clemson, Smith has climbed in the Rivals rankings to No. 9 in the state of Virginia and No. 11 at linebacker. He’s heading to Clemson June 14-15 for a camp with teammate Brandon Ruffin, and he’s working on getting Stonewall Jackson All-Met defensive tackle Tim Settle to visit as well.
The trip to Oregon will be Smith’s second to the West Coast, and he says he’ll have a chip on his shoulder.
“I know I’m going up there as an underrated guy and not really well known, I want to prove I’m one of best linebackers in the nation,” Smith said. “I want to prove that I should be in conservation as one of the best if not the best. And what better way to prove it.”