Smith headed to South Carolina

It was a month in the making, but South Carolina landed one of its top targets on Monday evening. While on FOX Sports South's The NEW College Football Show: Next Class '14, four-star D.J. Smith announced his verbal commitment to the Gamecocks and spoke to FOX Sports/ exclusively shortly after to detail why Columbia is the place for him.

South Carolina lost a four-star cornerback commitment in the Peach State in this cycle, but it gained another one on Monday.

Marietta (Ga.) Walton two-way standout D.J. Smith is headed to Columbia for college ball, and the coaching staff under Steve Spurrier was a big reason why the Gamecocks won out.

"It was probably about a month ago, the coaches came by my school and showed me the depth chart," he said Monday. "I wanted to see it, plus I was bonding the best with Coach [Grady] Brown. He knows me…we were sitting in the office and he'll look at me, he notices when I'm talking serious, how I change my face and body language.

"He was being more of a coach recruiting-wise, the other coaches were trying to be buddy-buddy with me. He was the most straight up with me."

Spurrier knew he had a shot at the defensive back projection, but Smith says the ole' ball coach didn't expect to land his verbal pledge this early in the process.

"He was excited, he didn't think I would commit early," he said. "It was a shocker to him, everybody in the office was waiting on me to commit. It was a big surprise for them."

Spurrier, Brown and the rest of the staff wants to utilize the 6-foot, 195-pounder as a cornerback in their system initially.

"I can press, I can do everything they ask me to do," Smith said. "I'm physical, I can tackle, and hopefully I can just come out and be a play-maker."

One of the best in the Peach State knew he was SEC-bound even before making the pledge, as South Carolina beat out the Tennessee Volunteers primarily in the end, with Clemson and Georgia in the mix as well. Butch Jones and company were the runner-ups in the race, and it may not be over just yet.

"Tennessee (was second), I'm pretty much done, though," Smith said. "I'm not going to flip. I probably think I'm done, I'll be taking my official (to Carolina) this weekend.

"I'm 100 percent…but I'm still going to take an official to Tennessee for sure." currently pegs Smith as the No. 17 safety prospect in the class of 2014.

John Garcia Jr. contributed to this feature.

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