By Brendan Sonnone | Orlando Sentinel
11:14 AM PDT, September 20, 2011
News of Pittsburgh and Syracuse leaving the Big East and joining the ACC came as a bit of a surprise for former Dr. Phillips standout and current Pittsburgh Panthers' freshman linebacker LaQuentin Smith.
“I didn’t really hear about us getting into the ACC until I got back to Iowa,” Smith said on Monday. “That’s when I found out about it and the coaches didn’t really tell us anything about it.”
The Panthers lost at Iowa 31-27 on Saturday to fall to 2-1 on the year, but Smith and his teammates received good news about joining the ACC on Sunday morning.
“I saw it in the little news feed (on ESPN),)” said Smith (6-2, 225,) who committed to Pitt in January along with fellow Dr. Phillips defender Roderick Ryles.
Smith wasn’t expecting the move but said he immediately started thinking of the upsides of playing in the ACC.
“Quality competition,” Smith said. “And I can go to Florida more than once, I can come back home.”
Both Florida State and Miami are in the ACC, which means Pittsburgh could very easily play at one of the schools every year. That’s something that Smith said will excite his family.
“They really don’t know yet, but I know they’ll be happy to see me once a year,” he said.
Smith added that the lure of the ACC would have made Pittsburgh all the more attractive to him when he was being recruited. In fact, the league change a year ago would have expedited the recruiting process for Smith.
“Definitely, knowing the quality of opponents we’ll play in the ACC,” Smith said. “ It would have just made me want to come here even faster.”
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