Nigel Smith II primed to flourish on OU Sooners’ defense
MELISSA, Texas (BVM) -"The Oklahoma Sooners have the No. seven recruiting class across the entire country and includes Nigel Smith II, the top. highest-ranked football player at high school in the class of 2024. He has gotten more than 40 D-I scholarship opportunities and the four-star player will be looking to improve the Sooners defense that is ranked as No. 32 in the nation.
Smith's time on the gridiron began at a young stage at Little Elm, Texas, however, despite his love for the game Smith was determined to pursue basketball.
"Football started for me going into fourth grade," Smith stated. "One of my closest buddies, his father was a coach and was trying to get players to join for many years. I always wanted to be hooper. I would like to play basketball, but be inside with the AC. It's hot the heat of Texas in Texas for me to be interested in playing football however, I did end being a player."
Smith continued to make progress on the field of football and, when he was an freshman at the high school system, he made the move to Melissa and was a part of the football team at Melissa High School..
"I was not sure I wanted to relocate to Melissa. I didn't want all the people I grew up with and formed excellent friendships that I had built great relationships with." Smith said. "So I was not sure that it was a good idea for me however, it turned out to be very beneficial for me. The city accepted me with open arms and I got to meet new people and play some football."
Smith quickly impressed on Melissa's head head coach Matt Nally who quickly took notice of his skills.
"I transferred him to varsity for the sake of the depth. Nothing more, no more," Nally said. "Then slowly, but surely, he began to demonstrate the things he believed in. The season's playoffs in his freshman year are where he came onto the scene and seemed to show everyone that this kid could play around a little."
He was recognized as District 7-4A-I Co-Defensive Newcomer of The Year, and was awarded numerous scholarship offers from D-I.
"Not many people can say that they first got offers freshman year so it's pretty cool to be one of those select few," Smith declared. "For it to just kick up like it has and me being recruited by basically everybody in the nation has been a blessing."
Smith was set to improve on his rookie season. He was successful, helping the Cardinals to a record of 11-3 and being voted unanimously District 7-4A-7A-I Defensive Lineman the Year, after registering the following: 66 tackles, 10 sacks and forced three fumbles as an underclassman.
He put up another stellar season in his junior year with 103 tackles, 11 sacks, and two forced turnovers. The continued success he had in the field of play led him to win District 7-5A II Defensive Lineman Of the Year. He was also an Class 5A first-team all-state selection.
His success on the field led to him receiving Power 5 scholarship offers from Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas and others. However, on September. 8 he made the decision that to go north and committing to the Sooners.
"It felt like a great Christian atmosphere," Smith stated. "There was no question about the progress both on as well off of the fields during the time Coach Venables attended Clemson. They put players into the league both left and right. In addition, I'm confident that they're going to help me grow as an adult."
Smith is destined to play for a blueblood college football player and will be given every chance to be successful. Nally believes that the ceiling is not too high for the four-star college recruit.
"I have been fortunate enough to coach a few Nigel's in my days," Nally told me. "Nigel is extremely motivated. He has a strategy to follow when he's an adult and has a plan for when he's aged ... However, the main thing that distinguishes Nigel is his ability to coach and his character as an individual player. Nigel is an excellent partner ... He's an elite athlete and a extremely talented person."
Smith's journey through football has been unique and he's made many things on the field. The sport will play a major role in Smith's life as he moves ahead.
"Right now, it's my world, I've put countless hours into it, I'll be playing it for another, hopefully at least eight to 10 years," Smith declared. "So it's going be the largest portion in my lifetime. That's why all the work has to have meaning for you, and at the moment it's a routine to be honest. It's the complete grind. It should be an actual lifestyle for you to achieve your goals."
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