Two at the top

MARIETTA, Ga. - Four-star safety D.J. Smith, a rising senior at Walton High School, has a pair of schools at the top of his list.

CB D.J. Smith Profile

He filled CUTigers in on those two during an ON LOCATION interview last week.

"I like Clemson and Tennessee a lot right now," he said. "Besides that, I'm liking Florida and Georgia, too."

Smith went in-depth about the two leaders.

Clemson: I like, mostly, that I can try to come up there and start, or get some early playing time. I like that the most. The coaches are telling me about graduation rate and stuff. If I don't make it in football, I can graduate as a student-athlete.

Tennessee: The coaching staff is different. The facilities are different. It's just a different atmosphere than other places I've been, so I like that.

But he's in no hurry to make a commitment.

"I'm going to try to ride it out all the way to the end, like signing day," Smith said. "Maybe, if I'm in the Under Armour game or Army game, I could surprise people with a hat or something. I've always wanted to do that."

Three factors will be considered.

"Not too far away from my home. That's one. Best fit, for two. Then, playing time. Those are my top three factors right there," he said.

Earlier this spring, Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables and defensive backs coach Mike Reed made trips down to Marietta to see the No. 9 safety in the class of 2014.

Smith spoke with Venables after stop.

"He gave me a little bit of advice. He was just telling me to go to a school that's the best fit for me and where I like it the most," Smith said. "Other than that, he was talking about me if I was to come to school at Clemson, just playing time, small stuff like that, and my summer plans, if I was going to come up to visit.

"I've still got to figure out when I'm going to come up and visit, but I know I'm going to come up there this summer."

Clemson likes Smith as a defensive back, maybe more so as a safety than a cornerback.

"I think corner. But, when coach Reed came up here this spring, he said he liked me at safety, too, because I can get more tackles back there," Smith said.

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