Previous Relationship Pays Off With Smith

Bloomington, Ind. – George Ricumstrict had a good idea what he'd be getting if he could land Detroit, Mich., running back Cortez Smith.

Bloomington, Ind. – George Ricumstrict had a good idea what he'd be getting if he could land Detroit, Mich., running back Cortez Smith.

While an assistant coach at Central Michigan, Ricumstrict had coached Cortez's brother, Jason, who played for the Chippewas from 2002-2005. That previous relationship with the family told Ricumstrict a lot about Cortez, and also told Cortez a lot about Ricumstrict and the Hoosiers.

"I knew a lot about (Ricumstrict), and my brother was telling me a lot about him," said Cortez, whose brother was a linebacker at CMU. "He knows my family, he knows how I was raised, and I thought that was a really positive thing."

Ricumstrict, meanwhile, knew a lot about the type of player he'd be getting from the Smith family thanks to the fact he was Jason's position coach at the MAC school. Jason was a four-year contributor for the Chippewas, and had 30 tackles and three sacks as a senior in 2005.

"(Ricumstrict) knew my brother was really aggressive and a hard worker, and he knew that would pass down to me," Smith said. "He said we have to get this guy, and it worked out."

That's why the 5-11, 190-pound Smith is headed to Bloomington. He committed today, saying he chose IU over Ball State (offer), Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

"I really like the facilities and the coaching staff," Smith said. "I also really like the players, and the hospitality they showed me when I was there."

While Smith's brother was a standout on defense, Cortez was recruited to star on offense. He's coming off a junior season that included 1,125 yards and 12 touchdowns as Cass Tech's primary ball carrier. He said Indiana recruited him to play tailback, but he knows his 4.43 speed in the 40 makes him a candidate to play a couple of other positions as well.

"They like my versatility," Smith said. "They can put me in the backfield, the spread, at wide receiver, and they could also put me on defense at corner or strong safety. They want me at running back, but they made a comment that they could use me on both sides."

Smith is the Hoosiers' first commit since the passing of Terry Hoeppner, signaling the Hoosiers' recruiting is on solid ground after some uncertainty about the coaching situation. Smith said he was aware of what was unfolding in Bloomington, and feels comfortable with his decision and the future of the program.

"I really didn't know that much about the head coach because it was the assistant head coach was the one writing me letters and keeping in touch with me," Smith said. "So I didn't get a chance to know (Hoeppner) like that."

He is familiar, though, with Ricumstrict and Lynch, and he was excited to see that the Hoosiers were convinced they wanted him when they first offered him a scholarship three months ago.

"(Ricumstrict) liked what he saw the first time he saw the tape, saw the potential, and I like that he didn't have to take a second look," Smith said. "He knew right away that he liked me and offered me."


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