Miles Smith, a 6 foot, 200 pound safety/linebacker out of Lake Forest (Ill.) HS took a visit to Iowa City this weekend, watching the Hawkeyes scrimmage one week before the conclusion of their spring practice period.
One thing became immediately apparent to Miles as he watched practice.
"They hit hard," Smith said with a bit of a chuckle. "That's pretty much what I got from it. Obviously it's Big Ten football. It seems like a really good atmosphere. I'd been to other colleges, but that's probably the best I've been to."
"We got there about 9 o'clock or so," he said. "One of the recruiting guys walked me around the facilities and stuff, which were amazing. I haven't seen stuff like that before.
"I talked to Coach Ferentz for a while with my Father, for about 30 minutes or so. I sat in on the defensive back meeting. Then I went to practice, then we drove home."
His Father is none other than Chicago Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith. With an NFC Champion head coach in the house, there's plenty of knowledge in the house to learn from.
"My footwork is so good playing DB because of (my father's help,)" Miles said. "We'll go up to his office late at night, he'll work on me with backpedaling and stuff. For the most part, he tries not to overrule my coaches on things. Obviously they disagree on some stuff. He's good about knowing where his limits are."
During his junior year, Smith strained his hip flexor, which limited his production all year long. Despite that, he was still able to rack up 88 tackles, 6.5 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles playing both linebacker and safety. His injury has prevented Smith from landing his first offer, but one may be coming soon from the Badgers.
"I was kind of injured my junior year," he said. "People wanted to see more from me. I talked to Coach Bielema at Wisconsin. I've got to go to their football camp this summer, and if things go well there, they'll offer me."
Despite the outlook for a future offer from Wisconsin, Smith says Iowa is at the top of his list.
"Iowa is just something else, I think that will probably be my top school right now," Smith said. "They were the first school that started talking to me. I started getting letters, but everybody gets letters.
"With the Super Bowl and stuff, I had to miss the junior day which I'd planned on going to. He wrote me telling me to come out to their stuff. It really meant a lot that he would do something like that for me. They have been 'the school' since the beginning."
Iowa has one thing Smith is really looking for, and that's a history of outstanding fan support.
"I'm big on tradition," Smith said. "From what I see with Iowa, since there's nothing else in Iowa, everybody loves going to football games and stuff like that. That's probably the biggest thing with me. I want to go somewhere where football is big."
Smith said he currently favors Iowa over Wisconsin and Illinois. We'll stay in touch with Smith throughout his recruitment and see how his summer goes.
Brian Finley can be reached at email@example.com