Defensive tackle changes JUCO plans

Though he did not qualify out of high school, defensive tackle Henry Smith was considered one of the most talented members of last year's signing class. Thought to be headed to junior college immediately, Smith talked to <I></I> yesterday to clarify his status.

Smith, a 6-3, 290 pound lineman out of Aliceville will delay his entry into junior college, hoping to graduate in a year and a half.

Considered to be the top pure defensive tackle prospect in the state last year, Smith could have entered East Central Community College (Decatur, Mississippi) this fall. In that case he would have taken the normal junior college route, playing football for two seasons and graduating after two years.

Athletic defensive tackles are hard to find, so if Smith makes it to Alabama it'll be coup for the Tide.

But Smith told that his plan will hopefully maximize his football career at Alabama. The idea is that by delaying until January while still graduating within a year and a half, he will have three seasons of football eligibility left after entering The University.

Considering his past academic problems, that plan would seem to be a difficult one for Smith to accomplish, but he is determined.

Timed at 4.80 in the 40-yard dash, Smith was named the state's Class 3A Lineman of the Year in 2001 after making 190 tackles, 10 sacks and 14 tackles for losses. He finished his prep career with an incredible 440 tackles and 24 sacks.

As a junior, Smith had 160 tackles and eight sacks as Aliceville went 15-0 and won the state 3A title.

Smith's father had one of the best lines from last year's recruiting wars. Told by a UAB recruiter that if his son signed with Alabama he wouldn't play in a bowl game next year, Mr. Smith reportedly replied, "That may be true, but I don't think there's much chance he'll be playing in a bowl if he signs with you guys either."

Smith was a Tuscaloosa News Sweet Sixteen and Mobile Press Register Elite 18 selection following his senior season. He was rated the No. 26 defensive lineman in the southeast by PrepStar.

BamaMag Top Stories