Lee County High School star running back Jahmir Smith quietly began his college career in January, graduating early and enrolling at Notre Dame so he can be part of spring practice, which began this week.

Before he ever donned the golden dome helmet, Smith was listed as the No. 3 running back on the Fighting Irish depth chart, according to several published articles. OneFootDown writes that the top two of the chart — Tony Jones and Dexter Williams — are injury prone, which could place Smith in an important role sooner than anyone thought.

The early enrollee running back is getting acclimated with Notre Dame now, and will surely get work in spring and fall. When the inevitable bruises mount on the Irish’s top two running backs, Smith should see early opportunities. Whether or not his play will be sufficient to help support the offense is the question.

IndianaSportsCoverage calls Smith “a young kid from North Carolina looking to be a part of something bigger than himself.” Smith and freshman C’Bo Flemister are being looked at as the future of the Notre Dame running game — “What is exciting is that you truly do have every guy in that room with an opportunity to compete and contribute at some point,” says running backs coach Autry Denson. “That is not only exciting for me, because I love the challenge of developing young guys, but it is exciting for them.”

Notre Dame’s 15 spring practices will culminate with its Blue-Gold Game on April 21 — which will provide the public’s first glimpse of Smith in an Irish uniform.

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