Track changing the game for Smith?

Laray Smith

With football and track scholarships to his name, New York City running back Laray Smith has plenty of options when it comes to making a college choice. With more and more teams entering the mix in both sports, it's no surprise the speedster isn't in any rush to make a decision.

Laray Smith is not only the fastest football player in New York, but he's a junior Olympian with a medal to his name. With programs all over the country looking to add him to their football or track rosters next fall, his recruitment is speeding up to the point that he must slow it down.

"I'm just focusing on school and finishing out my football season," said the Brooklyn (N.Y.) Xaverian product. "This season hasn't been the best to be honest…we're building on what we have though."

Of course, Smith is trying to help Xaverian salvage a 1-5 start to the 2012 season. The three-star running back admits it's much different this season, as every opponent focuses nearly solely on him. It's becoming increasingly tough on the inexperienced offensive line.

"Football is football, there's going to be struggle and good games," he said. "The difference between last year and this year is the offensive line. Last year, we had a good relationship on the field, those seniors were more advanced. I wouldn't blame the O-line though…

"We're going to be like the Giants – lose in the regular season and win in the playoffs."

While Xaverian does still have an outside shot at the post season; it won't come easy with every defense eyeing No. 23. While the attention has limited his opportunity to break long runs as much as he did as a junior, Smith may have added to his game as an overall and balanced running back in the process of the frustration.

"I'm just more willing to take hits and hit people, I don't really care," said the 6-foot-1, 175-pounder. "My speed will always be there, but I have more than that."

The two-sport star remains focused on the field for now, but he was able to switch gears to recruiting earlier in the fall when he took an unofficial visit to Morgantown to see what then-undefeated West Virginia has to offer.

"It was a great visit; it was their first game in the Big 12 against Baylor," he recalled. "I was impressed by that, I loved the atmosphere and the people around it. You could tell that they're really supportive when it comes to their football team. I had a good time there, met a lot of good people, fellow recruits and everything.

"I felt comfortable there."

After sending transcripts to the school recently, Smith feels he may know about his offer status with them sooner than later. That doesn't mean schools aren't still gunning for him in either sport.

"I've been talking to Maryland recently and Penn State also," he said. "I got two new track offers, from Ole Miss and Illinois. I don't really know much about them for track, but I'm just waiting it out because I know I'll get more track offers."

Smith makes it no secret that he would like to pursue both sports at the next level, an unusual feat that is slowing his decision timetable. While he knows more track offers are likely on the way, football is shaping up to be a process in which he focuses on the schools that have already extended scholarships his way. One such school will get an official visit from the speedster.

"The only one I have set up is the one to Tennessee. It's in November," he added.

The more familiar schools he has dealt with for years remain in the mix.

"I still have great communication with Syracuse," said Smith. "Coach (Doug) Marrone and coach (John) Anselmo are great guys, especially coach Anselmo because he's been talking to me since I was a freshman. So they're definitely in the top category.

"I'm not too sure what's going on with Oregon right now. I'm not going to focus on one school because there are a lot of schools showing interest, so a lot can happen."

It is about football and track on the surface or at least initially with most of the schools interested in Smith, but that's not the entirety of the equation when it comes to selecting a school.

"It's not just about sports; it's about school in general," he said. "I want to make sure I have people around to help me with my education, personally, grade-wise – not just as an athlete. I know what I can do on the field and what I can do on the track, but I want to be good at school.

"Once football and track is up, I'm by myself again. I want to be able to have a great education that can get me a job from there."

With such a serious decision in his hands to go along with a less-than-ideal football campaign, Smith gets some relief when speaking to fellow New York City prospects and former prospects – a notion that always seems to bring Syracuse back into the discussion.

"I talk, once in a while, to Alvin (Cornelius) and them," he said with a laugh. "They don't just talk about Syracuse, they just talk friendly-wise like ‘what's up (with recruiting).'

"That's why I really like Coach Anselmo and Coach Marrone, when I call them they don't really pressure me or nothing. They just talk to me like a regular person."

For Smith, his not-so-regular recruitment still has a ways to go. Stay on FOX Sports NEXT for the latest on one of the best in the Empire State for 2013. Recommended Stories

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