Michigan State quarterback Aidan Chiles said on a podcast recently that Jonathan Smith didn’t need much to convince him to follow from Oregon State.

The former 4-star quarterback spent one season in Corvallis with the Beavers. When Smith signed him from the 2023 recruiting class, Oregon State fans celebrated the arrival of the program’s future at quarterback. After brief opportunities in-season to show flashes of that future, Smith left for East Lansing and took Chiles with him.

“A lot of people didn’t like it,” Chiles said on  The Spiro Avenue Show over the weekend. “A lot of mixed emotions. A lot of people unsure of what they were going to do in the future. … It was something that you just didn’t think would happen because, alma mater, he’s been here six years. But it happens. It’s a business. At the end of the day, we can do nothing about it.”

Chiles said he went into Smith’s office two weeks before the regular season finale against Oregon on Nov. 24 and point-blank asked Smith if he planned to leave. Chiles said the two sat and had a conversation, but nothing serious. He said a week later, Smith told the Beavers to “focus on what we have to focus on now.”

But the players knew. With the Pac-12 crumbling before the start of the season, the writing was on the wall. An otherwise unthinkable move suddenly became much more tenable for Smith and those he’d potentially leave behind. Chiles said he could sense the decision was hard for Smith.

That’s why there were no hard feelings when Smith eventually took the MSU job and left the Beavers behind. Soon after, he came to Chiles about joining him in East Lansing.

“Playing in front of 75,000, 80,000 compared to 30,000, and then the love and support you get out here, and how invested everyone just is,” Chiles said. “He didn’t really have to sell me too much. I wanted to play for him.”

Chiles raved about the relationship he’d built with Smith prior. In fall camp, he said they deepened their bond. He views Smith as a coach who cares about the person, not just the player.

He has already enrolled at MSU and will compete for the starting job in 2024. He was a 4-star recruit as a high school prospect and ranked by 247Sports as the No. 7 overall transfer player to hit the market during the winter cycle. A 6-foot-3 Southern Cal export, Chiles completed 24 of his 5 passes as a true freshman for 309 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. He added another three rushing scores in his nine appearances.