Saturday night against Boston College, Notre Dame captain Harrison Smith will walk-off the Notre Dame football field for the final time, capping off a career that few if any could have predicted when he arrived on campus five years ago.
"My first year here was one of the worst in Notre Dame history, so we're definitely better off now." Smith says now with a smile.
Perhaps no single player embodies the change in Notre Dame football over the last half-decade better than Harrison Smith.
Cast as an undersized, overwhelmed linebacker early in his career, Smith has benefitted from a move back to his natural safety position, and matured into a physical presence in the secondary.
"What I love about Harrison Smith is that young man got beat up before we got here" says Brian Kelly.
"When I got here, I heard some things about Harrison Smith, and he can't do this and he can't do that, and all he's done since I've been here is do, do, do. Whatever we've asked him to do, on the field, off the field, he's been there."
As proof, Smith has served as just the third solo team captain at Notre Dame in the last 25 years.
"He's the kind of guy that you can model as to what your programs look like because of the way he handles himself all the time." says Kelly.
As he enters the final chapter of his stellar college career, Smith chooses to focus on the future of the program he's helped build, rather than the legacy he leaves behind.
"We haven't reached that goal (BCS Championship), but looking forward, I think that's something this program is on the right track to do."