Four-star safety prospect D.J. Smith seems to have both the Vols and the Tigers out front in his recruitment with a little less than nine months before he makes his college decision on National Signing Day (Feb. 5).
"Things with Tennessee are really good right now," Smith said. "They are recruiting me pretty hard and I am getting to know Coach (Willie) Martinez well. I have been there to visit a couple of times and I like what they have to offer there.
"Clemson is definitely up there for me too. I am close with Coach Swinney and they are recruiting me really hard right now. They are definitely offering a lot of early playing time too."
A 6-foot-0, 190-pounder, Smith finished his junior season for Walton (Ga.) High School with 50 tackles, three interceptions and five pass breakups. On the offensive side of the ball Smith rushed for 450 yards and five touchdowns and had over 400 receiving yards with five touchdowns.
According to the No. 9 safety in the 2014 class, his favorite thing about Tennessee is just the sheer location of the essentials for a college athlete.
"I really like the set up at Tennessee," he said. "They have the big indoor facility there and the weight room is right off the indoor field. Everything you need is right there. I liked that a lot."
The Marietta, Ga., native said he will take all of his official visits and they will likely go to institutions that are tougher to get to out of his own pocket, like USC, UCLA, Washington and Ohio State. Southeastern Conference schools like Tennessee, Georgia and Florida will have to settle for unofficial visits, but one thing is clear, playing time will be a priority.
"Playing time is big for me right now," he said. "I want to go somewhere where I can play early and have an opportunity to compete from the beginning."
"Smith is a versatile athlete that can do so many things well," FOX Sports NEXT National Recruiting analyst Chad Simmons said of Smith. "He plays on both sides of the ball in high school and could play three different positions in college.
"He may have the highest ceiling as a free safety because of his size, range, speed, tackling ability, and ball skills. He can really close on the ball and help against the run while roaming the secondary making plays in the ball. He could be a big corner for some too."
The Tennessee Vols seem to be interested in Smith at corner. Stay tuned for more Tennessee football recruiting updates from InsideTennessee.com.
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