Conway pitcher Will Smith committed to play baseball at Furman University during a recent recruiting visit to the school.
Smith, who was offered several months earlier by the Paladins, decided to pull the trigger during a visit to the Greenville school.
A junior, Smith will officially sign with Furman in the fall.
“I went up there, they showed me around and I fell in love with it. There is no reason for me not to go,” Smith said. “It’s a very prestigious school and they have a good baseball program. They were two games out from making the Clemson Regional last year. You’ll get an opportunity to play big schools.”
Conway Coach Anthony Carroll believes Smith will do well at Furman.
“It’s always awesome to have one go off to play college baseball,” Carroll said. “Will has put in the time. Furman got a great player.”
Carroll is glad to have Smith for two more seasons.
“He’ll be our number one guy on the mound and play somewhere in the infield. He’s a team guy,” Carroll said. “He’ll play wherever we need him.”
Smith likes the fact that Furman has about 3,000 students.
“Everybody knows everybody,” he said. “It’s a lot like Conway. Everyone is treated like family. They take care of you.”
The 16-year-old accepted Furman’s offer over those from Charleston Southern and Gardner-Webb. He was also hearing from schools like South Carolina, Clemson and Coastal.
Although he is a pitcher-third baseman at Conway High School, Smith is expected to play primarily on the mound for the Paladins.
The teen missed almost all of his sophomore season at CHS while undergoing therapy, but did see action on the mound in state playoff games against Wando and Dutch Fork.
The Tigers won a pair of playoff games this past season and Smith’s goal is to go even deeper in the playoffs this year.
“We expect to be much improved,” he said. “We weren’t that great last year, but when the playoffs came around we competed. I just want to go out there and compete and give it my all. I love getting up in the morning. I’m a very religious guy. None of this would be possible without God. He has given me an ability to pitch and I want to use my talents to honor Him.”
Although he hasn’t had a chance to showcase himself on the high school level, the hard-throwing right hander enjoyed an excellent summer with the Virginia-based EvoShield Canes when he posted a 5-1 record and a 3.76 earned run average.
Smith is looking forward to showcasing his talents for Anthony Carroll’s Tigers this spring.
“I can’t wait,” he said. “I love to get out there and show everyone what I can do. I love playing for my school and representing it the best I can.”
Smith hopes to play Major League Baseball after college and his favorite player is Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“He’s a good role model,” Smith said.
The teen has not yet decided on a college major.
A son of Ashley and Kayla Smith, Will grew up in Conway and began his baseball career on local fields at the Pee Dee Athletic Association and Conway Recreation Department.
“I really love it,” he said. “I can’t imagine not playing baseball. It’s a very competitive sport. You either have it or you don’t. People who have it want to prove they’re the best. I may fail, but if I do I’m going to do it with pride.”
Smith began playing varsity baseball as a CHS freshman and has one career home run against South Florence.