Brian Smith, a 6-foot-2.5-inch LB prospect from St. Thomas Aquinas HS in Overland Park, Kan. has given his verbal commitment to the Iowa Hawkeyes. This is the second verbal commitment in as many days for the Hawkeyes, coming just one day after Erie, Pa. CB Abe Satterfield made his decision to play for the Hawks.
When we last spoke to Smith, he was planning to take a few official visits before making his decision, what changed?
"[Iowa City] was a place that I could see, make the move, and still feel comfortable," Smith said. "It's a very comfortable place for me."
Smith called the Iowa staff and reached Eric Johnson, the coach who recruited him. How did Coach Johnson take the news?
"They just got done talking in a meeting about me, how bad they needed me, how hard they were trying to get me on board there," Smith said.
"Then when I called he was like ‘Wow, that's great news. I'm still in shock, I can't believe it.' He put me on the phone with Coach Ferentz, Coach Parker, I got to talk to all of them and tell them personally," Smith said.
In 12 games as a junior, Smith had 100 tackles, 9 TFL, two sacks, three fumble recoveries, and returned one interception for a touchdown. Besides ‘productive', what word best describes the latest Hawkeye verbal?
"Energetic. We had two-a-days today, people were just moping around outside," Smith said on Tuesday. "I've got to keep them hyped up, encourage them. Just show them that you've got to play with a passion, play with a lot of energy. "
Last year, Iowa had two linebackers taken on the first day of the NFL Draft, Chad Greenway with the 17th overall pick, and Abdul Hodge went in the early 3rd round. Did the proven ability to develop linebackers factor into his decision?
"Definitely," said Smith. "Especially Chad Greenway, he was a small-town quarterback. They molded him into a hybrid linebacker who was the most feared in the Big Ten.
"If they could do that with him... With me already having some knowledge at linebacker, even if it is just the high school level, who knows what they could do."
As reported last week, Smith will be visiting Iowa City on September 16th for an unofficial visit as Iowa hosts Iowa State for the Cy-Hawk trophy. He has also scheduled his official visit for September 30th when Iowa plays pre-season #1 Ohio State in a 7pm start at Kinnick Stadium.
When a player commits to a team early, he often will attempt to bring other local players to his team. That seems to be the case with Smith, as well.
"I'm acquainted with Christian Ballard, he's from down here," Smith said. "[Ballard] says he's liked Iowa and stuff like that. I'm going to try and get him onto Iowa, even thought he's down to Georgia and Kansas. You never know with the opinion of a friend."