Corey Smith was a key player for his Akron Buchtel team this past year. Being productive on the field is one thing, but being able to convert that productivity into wins is another. Smith's success helped drive his team to a state championship game berth, where they fell just shy of a title.
"We lost in state by one. We expected to get there all year. We should win state next year though."
Smith had a brilliant year on the field, racking up some pretty impressive numbers. How impressive? He averaged over 22 yards per catch.
"I had 52 catches, 1161 yards and 16 touchdowns. I'm a good route runner. I have good hands and good quickness."
Smith hopes to grow before college. He knows the college game is much more physically demanding and is ready to put in the work to get to the right size before he arrives.
"I'm working on speed and getting bigger. Right now, I'm about 6'-0", 175 pounds. I'd like to finish at about 6'-2" 190 by the time I get to college."
Off the field, he knows his teammates will be looking to him as a senior leader this coming season.
"Yeah. I need to stay on top of my academics, lead the team by example, and really just work hard."
Smith has been receiving quite a bit of attention from colleges. He and his teammate, safety Jarrod Wilson, are going through much of the recruiting process together.
"I went to Tennessee two weeks ago, and I went to North Carolina earlier this month. Jarrod and I are wanting to go to school together. He goes with me sometimes. He couldn't make the last two because of all of his school work. But when we start taking officials, we'll start going together."
Smith doesn't have a busy spring schedule with only one other visit planned at this point.
"I'm going to Tennessee again on the 16th for their spring game. Right now, that's the only other visit I have planned for the spring."
Some of the schools that are showing Smith the most interest are Tennessee, Illinois, Penn State, Michigan State, Georgia, Alabama, USC, Miami, Oregon, and Clemson. But Smith doesn't claim a top list or a leader at this point.
"Nobody really stands out right now. It's a pretty even field."
Smith doesn't have too many specific things he's looking for in a college. He just wants to find a comfortable home.
"I'm going to look at the coaching staffs and look at where I can go in and play."
Smith has gotten plenty of help from his family to help him with recruiting.
"So far my uncle, my mom and dad and I have been working through the process. "
Illinois coach DeAndre Smith has strong ties to Chicago and St. Louis, but he has also been the main coach reaching out to the Akron product so far for Illinois.
"Coach Smith has been the one I talk to most. He's more than a coach. It's good talking to him because I can talk with him about just about anything."
Though he doesn't have a spring visit to Illinois planned, he intends to check out the U of I campus at some point.
"I'm going to try to make it out there sometime to see how it is. I plan on coming for a visit, maybe in the summer."
Along with a strong running game, Illinois is crafting a strong passing game as well. Smith likes how Illinois spreads the ball around and thinks he could benefit from that.
"Coach said there's a good chance I could play early. I like when they spread it out and throw the ball a lot."
Smith isn't ready to trim his list yet. He plans on narrowing his focus after the bulk of his visits are over.
"I'll probably start narrowing things down toward the end of the summer."
If there's one thing that Smith is sure about at this point, it is that he and Wilson will continue as teammates into their college years.
"Jarrod and I definitely want to play together. I think we'll end up in the same place for sure."