Geno Smith, AJC Super 11 DB, picks Alabama over Auburn

St. Pius DB Geno Smith (right) is Alabama's No. 5 2012 recruit from Georgia, including Cedar Grove OT Brandon Greene (left). AJC photo by Michael Carvell

Alabama invasion?? St. Pius DB Geno Smith (right) is Alabama's No. 7 2012 recruit from Georgia, including Cedar Grove OT Brandon Greene (left). AJC photo by Michael Carvell

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St. Pius defensive back Geno Smith committed to Alabama over archrival Auburn on Wednesday

Why type of player is Alabama getting? St. Pius coach Paul Standard told the AJC a talented football player, good student, and more. “He has been raised by his mother who has done an outstanding job in leading him. To me there is not the ‘great-player-but-what-if’ factor. There’s not the ‘what if he’s not going to class? There’s not the ‘what if he can’t stay out of trouble?’ They are getting someone who is a great person and individual … As far as football, I think Geno is a guy who can make a huge impact, in terms of his competitiveness.”

Smith became one of the nation’s most-heavily recruited college prospects with around 40 offers after solid performances against an all-star cast of wide receivers.

During his sophomore and junior years at the Atlanta private school, Smith was matched up against Gainesville’s Tailer Jones (signed with Notre Dame), Grady’s Damian Swann (Georgia), Greater Atlanta Christian’s Julian Horton (Arkansas), and Booker T. Washington’s Antonio Goodwin (Auburn), among others. Smith committed on Wednsesday, before the start of his senior season at St. Pius.

“He got all the offers because he’s so fast and has so much tremendous athletic ability,” Standard said. “When he went to one of those college camps after his sophomore year, he performed so well with the way he could cover people, and recover.

“He has the ability, if he was to get beat, he has the recovery speed that I haven’t seen in too many other people in my 27 years of coaching. We haven’t had too many come through St. Pius like him.”

Buford LB Dillon Lee may be the state's best athlete after his performance at camps over the summer. Lee is also headed to Alabama, picking the Tide over UGA and Florida State. Lee's older brother plays OL at UGA (AJC photo by Phil Skinner)

Buford LB Dillon Lee may be the state's best athlete after his performance at camps over the summer. Lee is also headed to Alabama, picking the Tide over UGA and Florida State. His older brother plays OL at UGA (AJC photo by Phil Skinner)

Standard likes to tell all the college scouts about a play against North Hall last year. Smith was guarding wide receiver CJ Curry, who has since transferred to Flowery Branch for his senior year. Curry has also committed early, choosing UGA before switching last week to Oklahoma State.

“He got beat on a run fake, that Curry kid got behind him,” Standard recalled. “I said on my headphones ‘That’s a touchdown.’ I would be darned if Geno Smith didn’t turn and run, like it was no effort at all. He made up the ground he had gotten beat on and batted the ball away. He probably could’ve picked the ball off if he had wanted to. You know, he’s just that kind of guy.”

After Smith proved repeatedly that he could compete against top competition, his mailbox was flooded with early college scholarship offers. He wasn’t sure how to take the instant fame in recruiting circles.

Harris County DE Jordan Jenkins is another elite Georgia talent that is rumored to be Alabama's to lose. He has Alabama and Florida as his top two, with UGA and Auburn battling it out for No. 3 (AJC photo by Michael Carvell)

Harris County DE Jordan Jenkins is another elite Georgia talent that is rumored to be Alabama's to lose. He has Alabama and Florida as his top two, with UGA and Auburn battling it out for No. 3 (AJC photo by Michael Carvell)

“Once my recruiting really started picking up in the middle of the summer going into my junior year, I didn’t know what think of everything; I just took it day by day,” Smith said.

“It wasn’t overwhelming, though. All the attention from colleges was a great blessing that I received. This is what I dreamed about growing up, so I couldn’t deny it. I was happy to have the experience of being recruited.”

After a fast and furious start, Smith’s recruiting slowed down tremendously over the last few months. After attending a camp in April, Smith has maintained an unusually low profile, passing on numerous all-star combines and college camps in order to prepare for his senior season.

“It’s just that I wanted to enjoy my last year with my high school team and teammates, and get the most out of it,” Smith said. “I know this is going to be a special year for our team, so I wanted to stay 100 percent into it.”

The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Smith will play both ways again for St. Pius, starting at tailback on offense and at a new position on defense. He was switched from cornerback to safety.

“We’ve got him at safety because he tackles so well,” Standard said. “Not only is he a cover guy, he has the ability to make tackles. He’ll be a cornerback in college, but he’s a safety for us. He’s the last man standing between the other team and our end zone. He’s the guy I want back there, I can tell you that.”

TODAY’S OTHER BREAKING NEWS

WE’VE MOVED!!! Visit the AJC’s NEW Recruiting page by clicking here or going to ajc.com/sports/recruiting

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TOP 10 FOOTBALL RECRUITING STORIES

  • Battle of elite prospects: John Theus vs. Jordan Jenkins (click on story link)
    Norcross High School WR Jason Croom will decide between Tennessee and Mississippi State on Thursday (AJC photo by Michael Carvell)

    Norcross High School WR Jason Croom will decide between Tennessee and Mississippi State on Thursday (AJC photo by Michael Carvell)

  • Central Gwinnett LB Trey Johnson selects Auburn over Florida, FSU, others (click on story link)
  • Nation’s No. 1 RB will make official visit to UGA (click on story link)
  • TBD with UGA in 2012, but its 2013 recruiting class is shaping up well (click here for story link)
  • Ex-Georgia Tech QB target quits college football (click on story link)
  • It’s Alabama vs. Auburn on Aug. 17 for Georgia’s No. 1 prospect at DB, Geno Smith (click on story link)
  • What if a Georgia HS led nation in D1 football recruits and none of them signed with UGA or Georgia Tech (click on story link)
  • UGA’s QB of the future: Yet to start in high school, ready to prove scouts are right (click on story link)
  • What do Georgia Tech’s 2012 football recruits think of the NCAA ruling? (click on story link)
  • Have you seen this VIDEO?? Milton’s Shaquille Johnson is a YouTube celebrity with his prolific DUNKS. See what everybody is talking about by going here

– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com

Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com

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139 comments Add your comment

Blackoutanyone?

August 17th, 2011
3:27 pm

Roll Tide!!!

JAWJeRDAWG

August 17th, 2011
3:30 pm

@ Let the “BIG” Dawg eat!! – on the earlier blog:

I agree with your assessment that “It is sad to read almost everyday in these blogs that another top 2012 prospect is leaving the state.”

We certainly do read that a lot, but I haven’t lost faith that those recruit’s decision might be swayed back to UGA, IF we have a winning season and IF Coach Richt is signed to a long-term contract.

I know those are big IF’s, but if they happen, I see more of the recruits we MIGHT have lost, taking another look at Georgia.

At least I’m hopeful, on all counts. .. Go Dawgs!

………………………………………….

Whatever your final decision, Geno. Best wishes from this Dawg!

War Eagle 55

August 17th, 2011
3:31 pm

I don’t blame Geno for picking Alabama because Josh Holsey is so much better, and it’s not even close. Geno is the most overhyped DB ever.

TDE

August 17th, 2011
3:33 pm

Congrats Geno. You would’ve never seen the playing field at Auburn.

Gene Cha-Ching

August 17th, 2011
3:33 pm

Oh no! Auburn’s check bounced!

Blitz

August 17th, 2011
3:34 pm

It’s almost as if Richt doesn’t care about losing all of this all star GA talent to out of state schools.

Let’s hope UGA has a good year so Richt will stay there… forever!

GoBigDog

August 17th, 2011
3:35 pm

Oops typo — Geno, I meant to say that I wish you well against every team except UGA. Go Dogs, GATA!!

Reality Sucks

August 17th, 2011
3:35 pm

I hope he is good enough to not get recruited over in Saban’s over-signing world or he will be playing at Wofford

Alphare

August 17th, 2011
3:35 pm

BAMA, better win another NC before UGA does.

DC

August 17th, 2011
3:36 pm

oh well..good luck kid..here’s to sitting out for a while…

Brown Dog

August 17th, 2011
3:37 pm

Alphare: Done that. Often.

RRTDawgs

August 17th, 2011
3:37 pm

Its tough being a dawg fan right now it stings to see Geno Smith go somewhere else dawgs need to have a winning season to get the state back there is some good news Joel Caleb to visit this weekend and Orsan Charles was cleared its not all doom and gloom .

intheknow

August 17th, 2011
3:39 pm

Que the Bama redneck Blogs…..sounds like Bama won’t have two of their coaches there before too long due to their part in the Miami situation….if you lie down with pigs you end up smelling like them….”so thats what that odor is I’ve been smelling coming out of Tuscaloosa.”

cajdawg

August 17th, 2011
3:39 pm

Nice comments from the coach. Assuming that he is a good student, it is a shame he didn’t set his sights higher than Alabama or Auburn.

RRTDawgs

August 17th, 2011
3:41 pm

Rather him go to Bama than Auburn IMPO .

Randall "Pink" Floyd

August 17th, 2011
3:41 pm

Good luck to Geno. Yuri Wright, come on down.

Todd Grantham fan

August 17th, 2011
3:43 pm

Geno is too small to play for CTG at UGA

North AlaBammer

August 17th, 2011
3:44 pm

Richt is a great character coach and wish the Bulldogs well but welcome to Tuscaloosa Geno! Glad to have you rollin with the tide!

RRTDawgs

August 17th, 2011
3:45 pm

I think UGA putting all the eggs in the Yuri Wright basket i hope we get Wright .

Hollywould

August 17th, 2011
3:45 pm

Ouch, that one hurts. Good luck Geno. You still have until Feb. to change your mind. War Eagle!!

CharlestonDAWG

August 17th, 2011
3:46 pm

Good Pick up Bammer. Saban eats sleeps and breathes football. But I cant wait til 9-3-11. TAILGATES, girls in sexy dresses, friends, and football. I love the fall!!!!! Go Dawgs! GATA

Courtney

August 17th, 2011
3:47 pm

Alabama. At least he will not have to worry about academics. They do not have any..

Orange Julius

August 17th, 2011
3:49 pm

Dawg fans all know Richt is a loser, good “christian,” but loser none the less. I can’t wait for the meltdown after early losses to Boise St. and South cackalack. Which coodinator will be blamed. . .Bobo on deck!

Marist '09

August 17th, 2011
3:50 pm

HAHA on Geno being 5′11″ and 170 lbs. MAYBE 5′10″ maybe … … and definitely 160 at the most.

Chi Town

August 17th, 2011
3:51 pm

Yawwwwwwwwwwwwwwnnnnn….

Another day, another top recruit from Georgia commits to Bama.

This one must sting with the mutts.

Terry

August 17th, 2011
3:51 pm

Courtney:

Check who had the most academic all americans last year! RTR

Orange Julius

August 17th, 2011
3:51 pm

He may end up at Auburn–uncle Milty no londer wearing the ankle bra$$elet!

Dawg Man Sam

August 17th, 2011
3:53 pm

And Coach Richt misses out on the best DB in Georgia – again!

dawgster

August 17th, 2011
3:54 pm

@RRTDawgs…other than the fact the haters will come out of the woodworks and bash this coaching staff and our players…anyone wonder why Geno made the comments he made about our fans booing and getting on the players…There are consequences in recruiting when we are doing that…The recruits see it as booing the players…and unfortunately Geno and family saw a side to the dawg fans they didn’t like in their opinion…yes it happens at all schools but right now Bama and Au are the hot commodities for some of these guys…what we ned to do is reestablish our program and I believe4 with last years recruiting class and the changes that have been made we will accomplish that…If not, then many of you will get your wish regarding this coaching staff…The best thing we can do as fans is to continue our support of the team and let things play out as they may…We have a great opportunity this season and next to take things to the next level…If Coach Richt is still here you can count on the fact that we will again sign the best RB in the Nation in K. Marshall…

And please dawg fans…lets not hurl insults toward the young mans decision, as much as it hurts to lose him, we have some others on the radar that are just as good or even a better fit for us…go dawgs

Say It Aint So

August 17th, 2011
3:55 pm

Chi Town, doesn’t sting at all. Can’t sign em all. Nothing here, move along.

Texas Pete

August 17th, 2011
3:57 pm

Why can’t UGA sign 150 players a year? We should get ALL of the good players from Georgia!

Cheatin Gene

August 17th, 2011
3:58 pm

180,000 reasons he chose Bamer!

Proud-Dawg

August 17th, 2011
3:59 pm

@dawgster….well said! Good luck to Geno, rather have him go to Bama than truck stop U

Orange Julius

August 17th, 2011
3:59 pm

Lets talk about Bama oversigning, Saban to NFL, Dream team 3 or 4, and Richt’s mission trip please. . .

RRTDawgs

August 17th, 2011
4:00 pm

I agree dawgster i think we finish with Marshall , John Atkins , C . Patterson . Yuri Wright , Avery Young and Jordan Watkins .

SEC Commissioner

August 17th, 2011
4:03 pm

Hmmmmmmmmmmm……….180,000 reasons?

Paul N Destin

August 17th, 2011
4:04 pm

Geno’s Mom wanted him at Bama just as Crowells parents wanted him at Bama. Geno will get playing time in 2012 since Bama will lose about 5 DB’s this year. It is a long time to NSD and this year will be even wose due to all the problems that are going around with schools and the NCAA. Hang on to your hat.

Dawg Man Sam

August 17th, 2011
4:04 pm

And thursday we can all read about one of the best WRs
going to UT. Does Richt even recruit in state any more?
What are we paying for?

Bama .National Champs

August 17th, 2011
4:05 pm

At least he will have nice suits to wear to the game.

bigtime

August 17th, 2011
4:05 pm

Roll Tide, Geno, Roll Tide 8-)

tide roll

August 17th, 2011
4:06 pm

We’re excited about the kid pictured with Geno. Big Brandon Greene, Under Armour All- American Offensive Tackle out of Cedar Grove. Uga passes on this kid, and commits an offensive lineman that plays in a Catholic School league in Maryland, its lowest classification.
The private school he attends has 600 students total, K-12. Unbelievable.

bobby

August 17th, 2011
4:07 pm

this was not as big of loss as it seems last year uga signed, nick marshall, swann, and bowman so it was’nt that big of a deal and to me he ran away from competion.

BigTimeTechFan

August 17th, 2011
4:07 pm

If would keep him at CB if he’s that good, lock down no 1 receiver with him, allows more players to stop the run, safeties can help other CB.

Nothing better then a lock down CB, hard to find, yet you move him to safety???

BIG DAWG

August 17th, 2011
4:07 pm

@dawgster…thank you!!!!

Orange Julius

August 17th, 2011
4:07 pm

Dawgs going to the outback bowl this year. Hopefully, central FL won’t be there!

St. Richt

August 17th, 2011
4:08 pm

This is a no brainer. Lesser of the 2 evils when it comes to future NCAA sanctions..

RRTDawgs

August 17th, 2011
4:08 pm

@ Dawg Man Sam Joel Caleb and C. Patterson to big play maker WR is what we are targeting right now Patterson ‘6- 3″ 200 pounds and Caleb is ‘6-2″ both tall productive wide outs .

BigTimeTechFan

August 17th, 2011
4:08 pm

Congrats to Bama and Geno

Orange Julius

August 17th, 2011
4:09 pm

At least UGA was in Geno’s top 3. . .

secbama

August 17th, 2011
4:10 pm

Way to go GENO! Roll Tide. How bout it Lowdnes25?

Sure relieves the sting of the loss of Isaiah Crowell to Dawgs last year on signing day.

Bama SEC Champs & National Champs. What size ring you wear Geno?