Chris Smith is methodical. That’s the term which immediately comes to mind.
Smith is the nation’s No. 36 cornerback and also a 3-star prospect in 247Sports’ composite rankings.
He always strikes me as a young man with his earbuds all straightened out.
“I’m just trying to take all of this slow,” Smith said. “I don’t want to have to make a premature decision and de-commit from anywhere. I know stuff can happen, but my mother wants me to take my time and be sure my decision is the best one for me.”
Smith’s profile page on 247Sports.com lists 26 offers.
His options include big names Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Michigan State, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia Tech and Southern Cal.
“That best decision for me can only happen if I see all these schools,” Smith said. “I don’t want to take a visit to a school after I’ve committed somewhere and face the feelings I’d rather be there. I’m going to do all my research first and be sure I’m 100 percent with my decision before I make it.”
I’ve spoken to Smith 4-5 times over the past year. Each interaction left me with this feeling: He’s going to be successful.
But I’m never sure if that will be primarily on a football field.
That should be interpreted as a compliment. Always. He’s using football as a vehicle to empower his education and set up his earning power for the next 50 years.
Kicking the tires on Chris Smith’s decision
Smith will likely be a great corporate citizen when he’s 45. But he can also guard his man right now until the cows come home.
Hapeville Charter teammate William Poole III signed with Georgia back in February.
Poole’s game is shadowing receivers, too. Smith seems faster. More fluid. His wingspan has been recorded at 79 inches.
Poole’s arm length stretches beyond that. He’s more physical. Poole could play right away at corner or safety. Smith projects as a more natural corner his freshman year.
Look for the 5-foot-11, 170-pound prospect to establish a top-10 by May.
“It is possible I could commit sometime this summer or maybe before the first game or something,” Smith said. “I’m also thinking about going all the way to National Signing Day if I need to take it that far.”
He will not enroll early next January. Smith actually visited Poole’s future home over the last month for a junior day event. He believed the word “inspiring” described what he saw.
“That was my best visit to UGA,” Smith said. “By far.”
That visit escalated his interest in Georgia. He felt the Bulldogs moved 3-4 spots in his mind.
He’s never meticulously arranged his preferred options yet, but Smith said Georgia now seems one of his “top three or four” schools.
Auburn, Oregon, Florida and South Carolina seem to be the “up there” schools right now.
“Georgia definitely moved up a lot after the junior day,” Smith said. “I had a great time. I can’t wait to get back there again. I’ve got a lot of big visits coming up, though. Michigan and Michigan State. Ohio State. South Carolina. I’m trying to check out USC and Cal. Some of those big schools out west.”
It might sound like his college fund will be drained by those trips. If that’s the case, that will be fine.
“My college fund should be free, though,” Smith said. “My mom tries a lot to help me out with all of this and I love her for it.”
Smith aims to check out the spring games at Auburn, Georgia and South Carolina. It occurs to him the Gamecocks are currently recruiting him harder than any other school.
“I feel like they want me a lot but I also feel like they genuinely need me there as well,” he said.
Smith compared that with the interactions he has with Georgia coach Kirby Smart, defensive coordinator Mel Tucker and running backs coach Dell McGee.
“Georgia is one of the schools that have recruited me very hard so far as well,” Smith said. “I feel I’ve built a great relationship with coach Smart and I didn’t really know him all that well when he first got there. I’ve always had a great relationship with coach Tucker and coach McGee.”
Smith believes Georgia will sign “three or four” cornerbacks in 2018.
“They tell me they want a corner who can play everywhere,” Smith said. “I feel like I can do that.”
What does he really like about the Bulldogs?
“They are building something great,” Smith said. “That’s how I feel. I also like their coaches. Their coaches are very enthusiastic. I like how highly they speak of me. They lay everything out for you and keep it real. Their new facility is definitely a big bonus. I just sense the real building part of it. I really think they can do big things in the future.”
Georgia is positioned well for Smith at this time. He says Georgia’s new $31 million indoor facility was probably the best one of those he has seen.
Smith believes Auburn, Alabama and Florida now have the only other comparable facilities in the SEC.