Phil Kornblut

D.J. Smith announces commitment to the Gamecocks

D.J. Smith
D.J. Smith

Defensive back D.J. Smith of Marietta, Ga., announced a commitment to South Carolina over Tennessee on Monday night, becoming the Gamecocks' 17th commitment for the 2014 class.

Smith made his announcement at the end of an hour-long recruiting show on Fox Sports South.

Smith's final three also included Clemson. For his announcement, he tried on a Tigers hat first and then a Tennessee hat, saying both were too tight. He then put on the third and final hat, the Gamecocks, and said, "I want to commit to playing the next four years at the University of South Carolina."

Smith (6-0, 190) is a four-star prospect, according to 247Composite, which factors in all networks' ratings. He was recruited to USC by defensive backs coach Grady Brown and quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus.

He revealed on that his decision was actually made about a month ago. That's when coaches learned of his intentions. He kept the news quiet until Monday night.

"It's the best fit," Smith said of South Carolina. "Location-wise, it's very close to home. Coaching staff-wise, Coach Brown has been like a second dad. He's been there for me. He's been truthful. I feel like he's been straightforward with me from the get-go. I feel like it's my best chance of getting early playing time."

Smith played safety his senior season at Walton High School. He was a corner his sophomore and junior seasons, and that is his likely landing spot with the Gamecocks.

"I'll play either one in college," he said. "It doesn't really matter to me, anywhere I can make some plays. I think I'm going to play more corner as of right now."

Cornerback is the major position of need on the Gamecocks' defense. Last season Smith was in on 77 tackles with two interceptions.

"He's a very good cover corner," said his coach, Rocky Hidalgo. "He's physical enough to play safety. I think he's got a chance to be an exceptional player."

Smith, who had more than 20 offers, said he was happy to have the announcement behind him.

"It's been crazy," he said. "I never would have thought I would have been in this position. I feel confident with my decision."

In text messages after his announcement, Smith confirmed he would take his visit to Tennessee but said his commitment to the Gamecocks is solid.

Smith is the third defensive back in this year's Gamecocks class, joining Darin Smalls (Summerville, SC) and Al Harris Jr. (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.). USC remains in pursuit of two more four-star cornerbacks: Wesley Green (Lithonia, Ga.) and Chris Lammons (Fort Lauderdale).