Bloomington North running back Ty Smith committed to Indiana Friday and will be available for spring practice.
Smith, the 2012 Herald-Times Defensive Player of the Year, graduated from North in December and is set to begin practicing with the team next week. He will be used primarily as a slot receiver with the Hoosiers.
Smith was a versatile player this season for coach Scott Bless’s Cougars, rushing for 1,061 yards and nine touchdowns, catching 28 passes for 344 yards and three touchdowns and finishing with a team-high three interceptions and 11 pass break-ups on defense.
His father, Tracy Smith, is Indiana’s baseball coach.
“I really feel like Indiana is passing the hump and that good things are coming this way,” Ty said. “Obviously, IU is home and that’s a big thing. The coaches treated me like family it just feels right for me in general.”
Because his father is an university employee, Ty receives a discounted tuition and will spend this season as a preferred walk-on. He’ll have an opportunity to earn a scholarship as a sophomore.
Indiana was on a final list of schools that included Wisconsin and North Carolina State, but Ty said he couldn’t turn down the opportunity to stay local and be part of a heralded recruiting class featuring three Rivals four-star recruits from Indiana.
“The fact that we have this recruiting class of 20-plus guys coming in with four-star recruits — you never really see that,” he said. “To have all the in-state guys staying around is a big factor. We want to do it for our state and for our team. That was definitely a factor.”
Another factor is Ty’s relationship with sophomore running back and former Bloomington North teammate D’Angelo Roberts. Ty said the friendship allowed him an inside look at the program.
“He’s one of my good buddies,” Ty said. “He’s always been a mentor to me on the field and he’s helped me through the process. But having a good friend help me see inside the program has given me insight into what it’s all about. It seems like it’s a good place for me.”