Garrett Smith

Garrett Smith is a staple of the Portland offensive line, going into his fourth fall as a starter for the Panthers.SUBMITTED

Portland junior Garrett Smith is picking up steam on the recruiting trail.

Smith, a 6’3, 290-pound tackle, has one offer from Eastern Kentucky University but can pick up more during his senior season.

After spending this past weekend impressing in Atlanta during a National College Exposure Camp, Smith earned top-five offensive lineman honors. He credits his success on the recruiting trail to hard work and sacrifice.

“You can tell who is working every day,” Smith said of the exposure camp. “I put in extra work each week trying to get better.”

Portland head coach Wes Inman echos Smith’s sentiments, saying he is a joy to coach because you know exactly what you will get from Smith on a day-to-day basis.

“It’s a pleasure to coach him because he is so reliable,” Inman said. “He knows exactly what he needs to work on, so his trajectory will continue to rise.”

Smith is a member of the National Playmakers Academy in Nashville and credits much of his training success to Leverage Lineman with NPA, run by James Stone, coach Perry and coach Grimes.

Much like the rest of the class of 2022, Smith’s recruitment is very much affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead of a typical spring season where college recruiters and players can communicate, the NCAA elected to extend their recruiting dead period through May, meaning many athletes will miss valuable opportunities to explore campus’ over the next three months.

“I’m going to keep working out every day and get better,” Smith said. “That’s all I can do right now, but I know there will be other camps coming up and those will be good exposure opportunities for me.”

Smith has also received interest from Austin Peay and Cornell but doesn’t have a dream school; instead is looking for a family away from Portland.

“I want to go to a program where I fit, one that is building a good culture and one that is a family,” he said. “EKU seems to have that, and I would say right now, they are the early favorite.”

Added coach Inman on what makes Smith so attractive to college coaches:

“He is a very hard worker, a knowledgeable player, has good footwork and is always focused,” he said. “I’ve seen his yearly growth from middle school and feel very confident in saying he is a DI guy.”