Kernersville (N.C.) offensive lineman Brandon Smith has been leading the way as the starting guard during his team's 11-0 start to the season, but he's also been setting the pace off the field.
Smith completed the necessary coursework he needed to graduate by winter break, and now plans to enroll at East Carolina in January.
"My last day of school is Dec. 20 and I'll be at ECU in January," Smith said. "It wasn't even my choice, I've already got all my credits in all my classes so I don't have anything left to do in high school. So I decided to go straight to college."
Arriving on campus early will likely pay dividends for the 6-foot-8, 330-pound Smith, who plays guard on his high school team but will likely be moved to tackle by the Pirates.
"I'm ready to start my new life," Smith said of the move. "I'm living my dream."
Smith will be in town this week with his mother and sister for his official visit. All three have been to campus before, but he's looking forward to getting the full official visit experience.
"We love it down there," he said. "It's a good atmosphere and I love all the coaches."
Smith said he's not exactly sure whether or not he will change positions, but he's ready to embrace a change if it does come his way.
"I'm going to ask more in detail about stuff this weekend," he said. "Either way, I'm going to try my hardest, even if it's a position I haven't played before."
Smith said he's been watching the Pirates closely this season, and can't wait to be a part of the team.
"I'm going to come in and do whatever I can to make the team better," he said. "I know they have good coaches and good recruits coming in so I know we'll continue to improve in the years to come."