January 25, 2010

Smith adds late offer, will take SEC visit

Cedric Smith committed to Arkansas State in October.

Three months later, a little more than a week before National Signing Day, things have gotten a bit hairy for the three-star cornerback from Prattville, Ala.

On Monday, Smith was visited by two members of Ole Miss' coaching staff. Their message, while interesting, was a bit overwhelming.

"They started watching me late," said Smith, a 5-foot-10, 170-pounder ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 22 prospect in Alabama and the No. 61 cornerback prospect in the country. "They came to school and let me know how things are going."

Smith said the Rebels offered him a scholarship Monday, giving him his second Southeastern Conference offer. Smith previously picked up an offer from Kentucky, joining Illinois, Memphis, UAB, Western Kentucky, Marshall, Jacksonville State, Georgia Southern, The Citadel, Alabama A&M and Southern Mississippi on his list of suitors.

"It's been a lot of pressure, but at the same time, it's been great," Smith said Monday night. "It's given me a lot of opportunities to see where I want to go and where I want to spend four years of my life. It's been great. But it's been too much."

Smith will take an official visit to Ole Miss beginning Friday. He's hoping his family can join him in Oxford, but the plans are still in the infancy stages.

"I just know they have a great defense," Smith said. "That's about all I know. They have a great program, great academics. That's pretty much what I need to know. …I've got a lot going through my mind. I've got a lot of choices to make. I guess it's going to be a last-minute thing."

Smith, who previously visited Arkansas State, said the opportunity to play in the SEC will "be hard to turn down, but whatever happens, happens. I just want to do what it best for me and my family. …(Ole Miss) said I go well in their package they run. They said I'm a nice fit."

Smith, who has a 2.5 core grade-point average and a 17 on the ACT, had 48 tackles, 30 pass break-ups and three interceptions for Prattville, which put together a 13-2 record in 2009, a season which ended with a 13-3 loss to Hoover in the Class 6A state championship game.

"I think I need to work on my footwork," Smith said. "My speed is there, but I can keep working on my feet. My strength can be built up, but everything else is there."

Smith said Auburn and LSU have been talking to him recently, though neither program has offered. The lack of offers from multiple SEC schools, Smith said, is nothing but a motivating force.

"A lot of teams overlooked me, but I don't see why," Smith said. "I mean, it might hurt them in the future. It might not. Either way it goes, I'll be happy wherever I sign."

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