Schmidt made it to the NHL despite being undrafted following his senior season at St. Cloud Cathedral High School in Minnesota in 2008-09. He had finished as the second-highest scoring defenseman in the state (21 goals, 45 points) and led his team to the Class A state semifinals.
Schmidt had 37 points (14 goals, 23 assists) with Fargo of the United States Hockey League in 2009-10 before heading to the University of Minnesota. He didn't play much as a freshman, but blossomed as a puck-moving defenseman in his sophomore season, leading all college defensemen with 38 assists. He had 32 points (nine goals, 23 assists) as a junior.