Where will Jahmir Smith go? Pretty much anywhere he wants

Thursday, May 4, 2017
Lee County high schooler heavily recruited for athletic, academic prowess
Jahmir Smith has 33 full ride offers, including from all the Ivy League universities.

SANFORD, North Carolina (WTVD) -- When you first meet 17-year-old Jahmir Smith, the first impression is that he's humble, polite, and maybe a little quiet.

You'd never know he has full access to unlimited bragging rights - more than 2,000 yards rushing last season as a football player, a stratospheric GPA in the classroom and his pick of more than 30 universities, including all eight Ivy League schools and every major program right here in North Carolina.

Smith is only a junior at Lee County High School in Sanford, but the star running back already has more than 30 full-ride, academic and athletic, scholarship offers.

"In total, I have 33 offers. I just got one from Louisville today," Smith said.

Some of those offers were delivered personally by head coaches at the schools and just today, he said, a coach from Princeton came to watch him practice.

The first offer came in December from East Carolina University.

"After ECU offered, all the other ones started rolling in," Smith said.

He said his first Ivy League school offer came in January from Princeton. Now he's received full offers from all eight Ivy League schools.

"I really didn't think it would happen," said Smith, sitting in his living room with his box full of offers and letters from coaches beside him.


The star runner said he didn't start playing football until the eighth grade, and for him, school work always comes first. Smith said he really enjoys math and science.

His mother, Monique McLean, describes him as a self-starter. She said he's always been serious about his grades, and it shows. She said when Jahmir was growing up, schools wanted to skip him ahead a grade -- not once, but twice.

Jahmir in action for the Lee County High School Yellow Jackets. He scored 41 touchdowns as a junior.
Courtesy of Monique Smith

Smith has a 4.43 GPA and already has more than enough credits to graduate high school early and take any one of those 33 offers right now.

"To get the GPA, you have to have high-level courses and time management," said Smith, who is taking all honor classes.

Smith said he wants to take the time to consider his many options and have a senior year at Lee County High School.

"It gets overwhelming but I'm handling it," said Smith.


He and his mother said they are especially thankful for all the guidance from Smith's coach at Lee County High, Foster Cates. They describe Cates as a second father to Smith and are grateful to have him in their lives.

Outside of studying and playing ball, his mother said he's a role model to his 8-year-old brother and other small children. She said he's constantly being asked to mentor youngsters.

Monique McLean has a wall full of only some of the athletic and academic awards he's won through the years.

On Saturday, his mom said he's being added to the record book for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association for his stats this past season, when he ran for 2,130 yards and 41 touchdowns for the Yellow Jackets.

There will be a ceremony for that, but Smith won't be there - he said he already promised his girlfriend he'd take her to the prom, so he's going to keep his word.

As for which school is standing out the most for him right now, Smith said he has no idea. He's already visited nine campuses but has more to go. He has started thinking about his career path and said he's thinking about becoming an anesthesiologist.

Until then, Smith and his mother said spring training starts next week and they know coaches from all over will be on the sidelines watching and hoping to one day have Smith on their team - and in their classrooms.