For much of the cycle, the recruiting process was pretty quiet for 2019 St. Joseph Regional (NJ) 3-star DE Smith Vilbert. The 6’7” 245 pound athlete simply expected to sign with a smaller program and be done with it. However, things have changed in the past month or so for Vilbert, as he has landed scholarships from Power 5 programs such as Penn State, Florida, Baylor, and Pitt in that span.
“I didn’t expect to get this big, it was just surprising,” Vilbert said. “I wasn’t expecting it at all.”
Last week, another big-time school joined the party: the Miami Hurricanes. D-Line coach Jess Simpson got in touch with Vilbert to let him know he had an offer to join the Canes.
“They called my coach, and he had me call Miami,” Vilbert said of UM. “I talked to coach Simpson and he told me he’d love to offer me. It felt great, I can’t wait to hold that Turnover Chain.”
With the offer in hand, where does Vilbert rate his UM interest?
“It’s pretty high,” Vilbert said. "Most of the time I just be watching highlights of Miami from this year’s team and the past. I don’t know that much about Miami, but I do know they have a good education and a good football program.
“I’m not ready to make a decision just yet, but my interest is up there.”
Simpson hopes to start building a relationship with Vilbert, as the D-Line coach will potentially come by Vilbert’s household for an in-home visit this week.
“I think they may be coming to see me this week,” Vilbert said. “I’m not fully sure yet.”
In addition to Miami, programs such as Penn State, Florida, Syracuse, Boston College, and Oregon are in touch with Vilbert most often. Vilbert took his first official visit of the process to Oregon last weekend and talked about his time in Eugene.
“It was fun, it was nice,” Vilbert said of Oregon. “The facilities, the program itself, it was just a nice feeling. The coaches too, I liked the coaches.”
Next up, Vilbert will travel to Happy Valley to see Penn State, and then to Gainesville to see UF in the new year. With so many new schools getting involved late, he plans on waiting until February to sign with his school of choice.
“I got Penn State this weekend, and I have Florida planned for sometime in January,” Vilbert said.
With two official visits still open, the Canes are in consideration for one of the trips.
“I think I will,” Vilbert said of taking an official to Miami. “I don’t know yet, though, because I have a lot of coaches calling me right now.”
Winning championships is in Vilbert’s DNA, as he helped St. Joseph’s win a state title with 9 sacks and 17 TFL in his senior season. Vilbert is also a mulit-sport athlete and is currently gearing up for basketball season.
As for what he’s looking for when he’s ready to make a final decision, Vilbert says comfortability in his environment will play a huge factor.
“I just want to get to know the coaches better and when I go there, I just want to feel like it’s home.”
Gonna visit the gates but not sure if he’ll visit us cause a lot of coaches calling.? Doesn’t sound like he’s all that excited to come.
It’s like when you ask a girl out for the 2nds time and she says I’m busy that weekend also.