Negative recruiting doesn't sway Smith

Rated by many as the top pure defensive tackle prospect in the state, Aliceville's Henry Smith hasn't publicly committed anywhere. But there's not much doubt where he'd like to end up. <br><br>"I haven't made my announcement yet," Smith said. "But the main school I'm considering is Alabama."

Were it not for qualifying concerns, the 6-3, 285-pound Smith would be a hot commodity right now. Big, athletic linemen that also run well are worth their weight in gold to college recruiters. And the Tide is looking for help at defensive tackle.

From Smith's point of view, it looks like a perfect fit. "I love the way Alabama attacks the ball," he told "They play very good defense."

Smith is leaning to the Tide, but he's not certain about taking an official visit. "I'll have to talk to the coaches about that. I haven't heard about that one yet."

Because his physical size and skills make him suitable for defensive tackle, Alabama has stuck with Smith, despite his eligibility concerns.

NCAA rules require that an athlete must take the ACT test before going on any official visits.

Most sources indicate that academic concerns will force Smith to start off in junior college. "I hope I can get eligible," he said. "But if I don't I'll go to junior college. I'm not positive yet which one."

Smith's father said recently that his son would commit to Alabama and then sign with Pearl River Community College. Located in Poplarville, Mississippi, Pearl River is noted for outstanding football teams.

The plan is for Smith to start at Pearl River as quickly as possible, with his goal being to graduate in 18 months. "He's going to be wearing Crimson," Mr. Smith said.

In-state UAB made a strong push for Smith, engaging in a bit of "creative" recruiting in the process. Taking advantage of the uncertainty resulting from the delayed release of the NCAA's decision, the UAB message has been that Smith should become a Blazer because Alabama will not be allowed to play on television.

"UAB wants him bad," Mr. Smith said. "But I know he won't play on TV at UAB either."

"I also looked at UAB and Auburn," Henry Smith said. "But I'm favoring Alabama. It's a good school. It's close to home. They've got a good team.

Smith bench presses 405 pounds and squats 500. Scouts report that he has excellent quickness, size, and strength, which should provide him with the tools to be a highly productive defensive tackle in college.

And though his Crimson debut will likely be delayed for at least a year, Smith should be playing tackle for Alabama. "I'll announce my decision before National Signing Day," he said.

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