"Whatever was best for the team."
Scout.com Rating: Four-star
Scout.com Rank: No. 8 Cornerback
Size: 6-foot, 170-pounds
School: Atlanta, Ga. (St. Pius X)
Projected Position: Cornerback
Stats: Smith recorded 80 tackles and three interceptions his senior season while playing free safety. He recorded 47 tackles and eight interceptions during his junior year playing cornerback.
Commit Date: 08/17/2011
Recruiting Competition: Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Tennessee, Texas, USC
Strengths/Improvements: "I have the ability to make plays and have good hips and hands. I just do my job on the field. I'm very balanced. I can be physical or play with finesse. I want to improve my upper body strength and overpower receivers more. I'm also working on my technique. I am trying to get better at the little things before I get to Alabama."
Why Alabama: "Alabama's tradition as far as football and education really stood out to me," Smith told Scout.com. "Coach Saban's experience with defensive backs and their pipeline for producing great defensive backs to the NFL.
"I have a very comfortable feeling on the campus. I get along with the coaches and players. I have a very homey-feeling at Alabama. Coach Burns recruited me at the beginning. I was also recruited by coach Rumph and coach Smart. I built a great relationship with a lot of the coaches. It made my decision a lot easier.
"I had a chance to talk to other players from Georgia going to Alabama. It was always fun talking to them about going to Alabama. It came down to Alabama and Auburn for me. The decision was very tough for me. I really like the staff at Alabama. Once you get to know coach Saban he is a really cool guy. Coach Smart is a great defensive coordinator. They want to use me at the 'Star' and nickelback position."
Coach Quotes: "Geno Smith is an outstanding young man in addition to being a very good football player," said St. Pius head Coach Paul Standard. "He's a kind individual. He cares about people. That was shown during his four years here at St. Pius, and how he really cared about his teammates and just the people in schoo.l aI think that's very impressive.
"He does a good job in the classroom, and he's a very motivated young man. It's been a pleasure to coach him because he's the kind of kid that would do whatever we needed him to do. We had to move him around position-wise during his time here to fit the needs of our team. He would do that, and he would never complain one bit. Whatever was best for the team.
"He went from corner to safety on defense, and then he was our block specialist on our punt-block team. He had to play on all of our special teams. On offense he had to play the running back position which he was very, very good at. He is probably better suited being a receiver, but we needed him at running back. He did that without any issues or any concerns. He just wanted to help us win.
"I think that he and his mom both liked their visits [at Alabama]. I think the part of the visits I think impressed them was the structure and the professionalism of the staff. The program how it's very structured. Of course Geno has been in that kind of educational setting for most of his life. That's what his mom wanted for him, and Geno did too.
"He enjoyed a lot of his visits to other schools. I think it came down to the reputation of Alabama, and of course their recent success in the last three-four years in terms of national championships and things of that nature doesn't hurt either.
"I think regardless of where he went to school the speed of the game [area to work on], even though he's an outstanding athlete. The speed at the next level is a huge change. At the level that Geno is going to play at in the SEC for Alabama it's going to be huge. I think that will be something he will have to contend with.
"I do believe the size, the strength and the speed of the people he will be competing with, and again this would happen no matter where he went to school. I think at Alabama they get about as good as there is out there, so he is going to be competing against the best. He will be ready for that, but I think that will be an initial challenge for him. Probably just the adjustment going from high school to college will be an adjustment for him as well.
"I was impressed and appreciative of how Alabama, and Coach Rumph in particular, handled the recruiting process. They were always very professional. It wasn't high pressure. It was genuine, but it was business. I think Geno appreciated that, and I certainly appreciated that."
Andrew Bone says: "Geno Smith was a very important recruit for Alabama's 2012 recruiting class. The Tide lose several in the defensive backfield including starters DeQuan Menzie and Dre Kirkpatrick to the NFL. Alabama has several young players who have contributed and bring in two of the best junior college cornerbacks in the country.
"Smith has been a standout on both sides of the ball throughout his high school career. He is a very good athlete with excellent ball skills. He does a great job breaking on the ball and excellent in man-to-man cover. He is quick, good at changing direction and has a nose for the football. He can make plays in open space and knows what to do when the ball is in the air."
Rebecca Johnston contributed to this report.
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