Hapeville Charter’s Christopher Smith is one of the top defensive backs prospects in the south for the 2017 class. A year younger than teammate and current Georgia commit William Poole, the 2016 season turned out to be a breakthrough year for Smith both on and off the field.
The 6-foot-0 168-pound cornerback has been offered by a slew of major programs including Georgia, Southern Cal, Auburn, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, among others. Smith admitted the Georgia offer was certainly one he really wanted.
“I was in my calculus class when the offer came in.” Smith said. “It was around 12:30 and one of the Georgia coaches texted me and said ‘Congratulations your hard work has paid off. You have been offered by UGA.” That was pretty much it but it definitely meant a lot. I was sitting there in class trying to stay calm and tried to keep it cool. I have been talking to Georgia for a while so I felt it coming. Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker always told me ‘it’s going to be big when we come for you’, so I wasn’t surprised but I was excited!
Smith’s close friend and teammate William Poole is a quiet guy, but he was extremely happy for Smith when the Georgia offer came in.
“Yeah Will is a cool, calm, and collective guy so he kept it pretty simple. I could tell that he was proud that I got the offer. It would be great to play with him at the next level but it’s not a necessity. It would definitely be a plus to play with my brother again somewhere down the road.
Smith had a busy fall visiting Auburn, South Carolina, Georgia Tech, and then Georgia twice.
“I visited Georgia for the Tennessee game and the Georgia Tech game, but unfortunately they lost both of them.” Smith said. “The atmosphere during the Tennessee game was pretty crazy. The South Carolina game against Missouri was pretty hype too. I went to the Auburn game when they played Texas A&M.”
The Georgia staff is starting to make Smith a priority in the 2018 class, and have made sure that multiple coaches have built a strong relationship with the talented cornerback.
“The coach that I have the best relationship with is running backs coach Dell McGee first because he recruits my area, then my position coach defensive coordinator Mel Tucker second.” Smith said. “Those are the coaches I talk to the most. They both let me know how much they like my play. They said they like my film and that I don’t take any plays off. They like that I play physical and that I can play man, I can play zone, and so much more so that’s what they really like about me.”
Smith is one of the most competitive players you will find in the 2018 class. Once his junior season ended, Smith got right back on the grind to perfect his craft, but unfortunately got injured and was not able to compete in the Rising Seniors game. His goal in the offseason is to gain weight, tweaking his technique, perform at other camps in the offseason camp circuit, and then get ready for his senior season. With a number of schools in mind, Smith knows exactly what he wants to see when deciding on a program.
“When looking for a school, I’m looking for a great environment.” Smith said. “That’s the most important factor to me because that’s where I’ll be spending four years of my life. People always say ‘Don’t pay attention to the coaches because the coaches can leave’, but I’m thinking about my future once I get there so the coaching staff plays a big part too. You have to have a good relationship with the coaches to play. Of course I’m looking at playing time too as well as academics. My mother definitely wants me to have a good degree.”
On film, Smith shows great ball skills and good instincts in coverage. He needs to add more weight, but he has those long arms that will help him against larger receivers. He makes plays on the ball, and is a threat to take it back for a touchdown once he has the ball in his hands. Teams rarely tried throwing on William Poole and Smith this past season, but Smith was still able to grab 5 interceptions and break up 9 passes. He also collected 32 tackles and forced a fumble during his junior campaign.