Smith, who made the announcement on ESPNU, tore his left ACL during the Adidas Nations event in early August and was expected to miss six to nine months following successful surgery. He committed to the Wolfpack in September over Kentucky, North Carolina, Louisville, Duke and Wake Forest.
"Mainly for the rehab purposes," Smith said when asked for the reasoning behind the decision. "I can rehab everyday there, and thankfully my grades were good enough for me to do it early."
January would mark five months from the time Smith had his surgery, which would be on the short end of the recovery timeline. Sources indicated that NC State doesn't plan to rush him back by January.
"I'm ahead of schedule," Smith said. "Rehab is going great right now."
Smith is ranked No. 4 in the ESPN 100 for the 2016 class. He was the lone commit in NC State's recruiting class and signed his letter-of-intent on Thursday morning.
NC State commit Dennis Smith Jr. will start college early
NC State commit and No. 1 PG Dennis Smith Jr. announces on Recruiting Nation that he will graduate high school early and start college in January in order to jumpstart his ACL rehabilitation and begin training with the Wolfpack.