Josh Smith Looking At Cincinnati

One of the local players that could soon see his recruitment start heating up is Josh Smith of Withrow High School. The Tiger safety recently spoke with Bearcat Insider.

Doc Gamble and his staff at Withrow High School have produced a number of Division IA players over the last four to five years, and next year Coach Gamble feels he could have as many as nine of his guys signing Division IA letters of intent. One of the most probable to sign with a BCS school is Tiger safety, Joshua Smith. Bearcat Insider recently spoke to the 6' 2" defensive back, who is still growing into his large frame. "I'm up to 185 pounds. I was 170 at the beginning of last year."

Josh was among the many tri-state players to attend Cincinnati's Junior Day in mid-February and talked about the visit. "I liked the school and got to see some things I'd never seen at UC. I like the coaches and talked to Coach Coombs. I also saw a lot of the people that I had met at an Ohio State football camp that I went to. I liked the whole thing overall."

Although Cincinnati's Junior Day was the first Josh attended, it may not be the last. "I might attend Louisville's Junior Day on April 14 after I take my SAT. I also might attend Akron's." Josh said his GPA is approximately a 2.8.

The Bearcats will be adding Ricardo Thompson and Bryant Thomas to their roster next season. Both are currently seniors at Withrow. Having a couple Tigers on their roster won't hurt the Bearcats if/when they decide to make an offer to Smith. "Getting back and playing with high school teammates in my college career would be exciting."

Last season, Smith played both safety and cornerback. He definitely has the frame, but does he have the speed? "When I went to Ohio State as a sophomore, I think I ran a 4.5." Coach Gamble has said in the past that he and his staff don't spend too much time having their guys run the forty so they may actually be faster than some of their posted times. Josh admitted that he hadn't run the forty any time recently.

As Josh prepares for his senior season, he knows schools like Cincinnati want more than just a football player. He'd obviously given this a lot of thought. "I want to keep my grades up, first of all. I want to be positive. If we have a good team this year, I know more colleges will look at me and my teammates. I want to be a good leader on the team. I don't want to do anything dumb and get in trouble with my parents or anyone in the community. I just want to do the right things basically."

As a junior, Josh said he made the state's honorable mention list and was MVP of the Tiger defense. Despite the recognition, Josh knows he's a long way from reaching his potential as a player, and he also has set a lofty team goal. "I had a good year, but I'm still young and have a lot to learn. I'm proud of what I did as a junior, but I want to win state next year."

Withrow plays probably the best inner-city Dayton school, Trotwood Madison, in its second game next season. Josh has already been looking forward to the match-up. "When I went to UC for Junior Day, I meet a couple of their big time guys. Their tight end (Brandon Moore) is 6' 6". I was talking with them and getting along." Brandon Moore already has a Cincinnati offer, along with many others, and Josh knows a good performance against a player like that would likely help him in his recruitment. "He's a nice guy, but a big guy. I'm going to have to stick him when we play them because I play safety and a lot of the time he'd be my man if he goes out."

Asked to identify his strengths as a safety, Josh replied. "I'm always around the ball. Last year I had six interceptions in eight games. I like to hit." Josh missed two games due to having a concussion.

As mentioned earlier, nine Tigers could get Division IA interest next season. Josh wouldn't mind going to a college with one of his high school teammates. "My closest friend on the team is Juandez Brown. We have talked about going some place together." Brown will be the Tiger quarterback next season after playing mostly cornerback in 2006.

The hard hitting safety admits that schools like Ohio State and Michigan are very attractive to a midwestern kid, but Josh also made a bold prediction about the Bearcats. "My father and I call the Big East, the Big Beast. There's Louisville, West Virginia and a couple other colleges ranked in the nation like Rutgers. The conference is tough, but UC is not up to par with Michigan and Ohio State. But I think UC will really be good by the time I'm a junior. I've got a feeling they will be ranked in the Top 25 in the nation."

Josh has not attended any Cincinnati games, but he did recall seeing one on television last season. "I saw them when they played Rutgers. Ricardo (Thompson) went to the game and asked me to go, but I had to work. I caught the second half on television. I was proud that a Cincinnati team knocked off one of the top teams in the nation."

Bearcat Insider will update Josh's recruitment later in the year.

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