Gators ‘up there’ for LB Nick Smith after his visit to Florida

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Gators offered linebacker Nick Smith on Dec. 20.

Exactly one month later, he was on campus for an official visit. The 3-star prospect from Orlando, Fla., took a trip to Florida this weekend.

“It was a great experience,” Smith said. “We were able to meet with academic advisers and explore the facilities. I also got to chill with a few of the players like Marcell (Harris), Vosean (Joseph), Kylan (Johnson) and David (Reese).”

In addition to those players, Smith also spent time with freshman defensive back and Outback Bowl MVP Chauncey Gardner.

“Chauncey was my host,” Smith. “He was telling me when I come there to be ready to play. He said that (defensive coordinator Randy) Shannon likes to play young guys who come in and are hard workers. That’s what I plan on doing.”

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound prospect met 1-on-1 with Shannon during his visit, as well as Florida coach Jim McElwain.

“Coach Shannon wants me to come in and work as hard as I can to get on the field,” Smith said. “He needs young guys who are ready to make plays immediately.

“Coach McElwain just talked to me about what it means to be a Gator. He said that football doesn’t last forever and that the Gator family is strong outside of football.”

Smith de-committed from N.C. State and is now considering Florida, LSU, Louisville and Michigan State. The Gators are viewed as the team to beat.

“Florida is definitely up there for me,” Smith said. “I’ve developed a close relationship with coach Mac, coach Shannon and the other coaches on the staff at Florida. I like Florida.”

Smith planned to visit LSU next weekend, but Louisville is trying to get him on campus. He also has some in-home visits coming up.

“I might visit LSU or Louisville maybe; nothing is set up,” Smith said. “Coach McElwain and coach (Mark) Dantonio are coming to see me this week and then I’m announcing my decision on signing day.”