July 22, 2011

Smith takes final visit to UA

Rivals 100 defensive back Geno Smith is nearing a decision, but before making his choice, he took his final visit to Tuscaloosa on Thursday to get one more look at the University of Alabama.

Smith, who arrived on campus in the morning, spent the day talking with the coaching staff, watching the Crimson Tide work out and touring the campus.

"I got a chance to go to Denny Chimes," Smith said. "I went to the communications building, Reese Phifer. I talked to a few guys there. I went to Bryant-Denny and got a chance to go in the locker room and see the stadium.

"It was nice. I learned that they have their own radio show and TV show. It's pretty prestigious. That was fun, just to see what I'll be doing. The stadium speaks for itself. It holds over 100,00 people. That's a lot for a college football game."

The Atlanta native has made the drive over to UA numerous times, but it was the first time for his dad to make the trip with him and see the university.

"I've been there before, so I've seen a lot of it, but it was a good chance for my dad to see it because he's never been there," Smith said. "He enjoyed it. It was the first time he had met with the coaches of Alabama, and he thought they were really nice coaches and really nice people. He enjoyed the visit."

Smith talked with nearly every coach on the UA staff, including his main recruiter Chris Rumph, his future position coach Jeremy Pruitt and Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban, but his meeting with Saban resonated with the elite cornerback.

"He just told me about what he expects at Alabama, his philosophies, how his program is run, how many connections will be opened up," Smith said.

"When he was talking about football and schemes, he said this would be a great situation for a defensive back, a cornerback especially because they're losing DeQuan Menzie, Phelon Jones and possibly Dre Kirkpatrick if he decides to go. They could lose all of those defensive backs, so that gives me the chance to come in and play early."

Like every top prospect, Smith relishes the opportunity to play early, but he also realizes how important it is to wait his turn and learn from the coaches and players ahead of him.

"I want to play, but I do want to sit and learn first," Smith said. "But, if the opportunity is there for me to go in and play early, I want to take advantage of that."

The St. Pius X star said his trip to Tuscaloosa was the last visit he will take, and he plans to make a decision sometime in the month of August.

"I'm done with visits," Smith said. "I've always planned on making my decision before my senior year in August. I don't have a date yet, but my first game is the 26th, so it will be any time before that."

At this point, it's still a two-horse race between Alabama and Auburn to land Smith's signature. The Rivals.com four-star is also considering Notre Dame, Tennessee and Texas, but the two in-state rivals are in the lead.

"They're really similar schools," Smith said. "They both have head coaches who work with the defensive backs. They both have national championships. They both have great coaching staffs. They're very similar schools, and it comes down to where I feel most comfortable."

Reach Greg Ostendorf at greg@tidesports.com.

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