JUCO linebacker talks about visit

One of the more recent linebacker names to pop up on Bama's recruiting radar, junior-college star Terrence Smith had nothing but good things to say about his recently completed official visit to The Capstone.

"I had a really good weekend," Smith told TheInsiders.com in an interview Sunday evening after returning from his visit. "I enjoyed it a lot!"

Out of Hightower High School in Houston, Texas, Smith (6-3, 235, 4.6) spent the past two seasons competing for Northwest Mississippi Community College in Senatobia, Mississippi. He started out in JUCO as a defensive end, but after moving to middle linebacker Smith basically tore up his league this year, totaling more than 140 tackles.

A converted defensive end, Terrence Smith has been a one-man wrecking crew since moving to middle linebacker. (photo courtesy of TiderInsider)

Not surprisingly, Smith was paired with two Bama linebackers on his visit.

"I hung out with Derrick Pope and Cornelius Wortham," he said. "I actually got to meet everybody that plays linebacker."

A Texas native, Smith and Pope had something in common. "I bonded with all the guys," Smith said. "I felt like I had known them for a long time."

Linebackers Coach Joe Kines and the rest of the Bama defensive assistants gave Smith plenty of quality time. "I got to talk to ALL of the coaches," Smith related.

But it was Bama's young head coach who made the biggest impression.

Smith explained, "Coach Shula impressed me the most. He is so personal. Most coaches are all business. Coach Shula asked me about my family and I liked that. He reminds me of my defensive coordinator here. He is a real personal guy too."

The Tide may have gotten in on Smith a bit late, but there is obvious mutual interest. He and teammate Chris Turner (defensive end) visited the Tide campus together this weekend. Smith said he remains open on where he will sign.

He talked about his remaining official visit plans. "I am going to TCU (1/12) and Texas A&M (1/23). I will then take one more visit. I'm not sure will that will be yet. It will have to be somewhere really special."

Smith was selected All-Region XXIII and first-team MACJC All-State, following the season. Once enrolled at Alabama, he would have three years to play two.

"I probably will make my decision right before Signing Day," Smith said.

Smith's physical presence would help Bama replace Derrick Pope.

RECRUITING NOTES: Schools are limited in the number of official visits they can extend, so by definition the Tide is obviously interested in Smith. Also, major schools like Alabama do not sign junior college players unless they believe the athlete can contribute right away.

Smith is rated a four-star prospect by TheInsiders.com network, meaning he would be expected to step in and compete for a starting job right away.

Alabama is allowed to bring in 19 new scholarshipped players this fall. The Tide is expected to sign as many as 22 players in February, anticipating that several will not become qualified. It's also possible that one or more players may be asked to delay entry into The University until the following January, counting against 2005 scholarship numbers, depending on how qualifying issues play out.

Read all of the recent recruiting stories on Alabama recruits from TheInsiders.com.

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