Antone Smith - Not thinking recruiting this week

You would probably have better luck trying to catch Jello with chopsticks than you would trying to catch Antone Smith once he has a football in his hands. He'll give you a juke, a jive and a hip, then he's gone. He's spent the past four very elusive years, driving defenders crazy with a running style that he calls "a combination of all the things I've learned and watched from others for a lot of years."

The 5-8, 185-pound speedster from Pahokee is proving every bit as elusive on the recruiting trail as he is on the football field as he preps this week for the Florida-California All-Star Game which will be played Sunday at the Orange Bowl in Miami. Auburn, Miami, Florida State and Florida are all on his list of interested schools, but at least for this week, he's not thinking about recruiting.

"This week I'm just having fun and concentrating on helping my Florida team win a football game," said Smith Tuesday night from Miami. "There's plenty of time after that for me to figure out where the best school is for me."

He says he's been fortunate that he is not getting any pressure from home, and other than a few classmates who have a favorite school that they try to push, he's not feeling it around Pahokee, either.

"A few of them say you gotta go to Miami or Florida or Florida State," he said. "I hear it when everybody's saying do this or do that, but it's my decision and nobody's really pressuring. I'm just going to go where my heart takes me."

He gets a lot of phone calls from a lot of coaches but he won't say which coach stands out the most.

"They're all pretty cool and some of them are pretty funny, too," he said. "But, that's their job. They're recruiting me and they want me to see the good side of everything. I've talked to some nice people, though."

Smith rushed for 2,814 yards and 44 touchdowns during a senior campaign that saw him earn Mr. Football honors for the state of Florida as he led Pahokee to its second straight state championship. Winning the state championship kept him fully occupied until recently, so he hasn't given recruiting the kind of attention he will give it in the next four or five weeks.

"Winning a second straight state championship was my dream," he said. "That's making history in the state because there aren't too many teams that have done that. I just kept thinking about what I needed to do for my team, but my season is over now and it's time for me to make a decision about where I'll play. I still don't know yet but pretty soon I'll know."

He's been timed as low as 4.3 in the 40-yard dash, and at the MSL Combine he turned in a 4.41 in cleats on grass and had a very impressive 40-inch vertical leap. Everyone is well aware of what he can do on the football field. He says the school that lands him is going to show him a lot more than just football.

"They all have good teams or I wouldn't be thinking about going there," said Antone Smith. "Basically, what it's going to come down to isn't football, but what can you do for me when football's over? Football won't last forever so how are you going to get me ready for that day?

"And then, what kind of people am I going to be around the next three or four years? I'm talking about teammates, but I'm also talking about the people who are on the campus. Whoever gets me is going to have the best answers to those questions."


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