Irv Smith was a great athlete who made it from tiny Pemberton High in New Jersey to becoming the 20th overall pick in the first round of the 1993 NFL Draft. A three-sport star in high school, Smith earned all-division, all-county and all-state accolades as a tight end, linebacker and safety in football and also starred in football, baseball and basketball. Smith originally committed to play football at Clemson, then changed his mind and decided to play football and baseball at Notre Dame. Smith was talented enough in baseball to be drafted by the Houston Astros after his junior year at Notre Dame. After three years playing two sports for the Fighting Irish, Smith focused on football as a senior and wound up reaching the NFL. Smith was drafted by the New Orleans Saints with the 20th pick of the first round and went on to play seven seasons in the NFL with the Saints, San Francisco 49ers and Cleveland Browns. Smith finished his NFL career with 183 receptions for 1,788 yards, averaging 9.8 yards per carry, and had 15 touchdowns. He now lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his son “Little Irv.”
Q: What caught your attention and made you interested in playing football at Notre Dame?
A: “Notre Dame was actually my last choice. It was my last choice because Derrick Brown was a freshman at ND when I was a senior in high school, Notre Dame had just won the national championship, and they flat out told me that I would be Brown’s backup for my first three years. All of the other schools that I was looking at promised me a starting position. I was looking at Florida State, USC, UCLA, Clemson and Auburn. When I took my visit to FSU, it was for the FSU/Florida game and “Neon” Deion Sanders was a senior at FSU. Auburn was supposed to be my fifth and final visit. I was getting ready to commit to Auburn during my official recruiting trip when they called me the Monday prior to my visit and told me that had just signed two tight ends that weekend (one of which was Fred Baxter) and they no longer had a scholarship for me. I was getting ready to sign and they said ‘no thank you’ to me. Once Notre Dame got wind of this, they put some pressure on me to make my fifth visit there. I told them that I would take my fifth visit there, but firmly told them that it was my intention to commit to Clemson.”
Sugar and spice, & everything nice. Loves Marketing, Advertising, Social Media, Great *Content* ... Haunted House Entrepreneur, College Football analyst on Wes & JR Radio (Sports Radio) & Notre Dame Alum!