On Saturday, OrTre Smith will be on the sideline at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas, as a non-participating member of the East team. On Monday, Smith will be back in South Carolina as a student at USC.
Smith isn’t participating in the All-American Bowl, one of the nation’s top showcase games for high school players, due to the ankle injury that ended his senior season at Wando High School early, but that injury won’t keep him from participating in spring practice with the Gamecocks.
“I’m really excited about starting something new,” Smith told The State on Wednesday.
Smith, 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, still is wearing a walking boot on his right ankle after surgery to repair ligament damage, but he expects USC doctors to remove the cast next week when he arrives at school, and he thinks he will be able to participate in conditioning drills beginning in February.
He wanted to enroll early “so I can get down the schemes and the playbook and just fit in,” he said.
Smith flew to San Antonio on Thursday morning for All-American Bowl festivities. He might have participated in the game had he decided to rehab after his original injury. Instead, Wando head coach Jimmy Noonan said, he decided to have surgery.
“After weighing the options, he decided to go ahead and have some surgery, which would strengthen everything down there to go ahead and get him ready for the next chapter,” Noonan said.
Smith is a four-star prospect and the second-highest rated verbal commitment currently in South Carolina’s 2017 recruiting class.