Smith re-opens recruitment; Enjoys UofL visit

Justin Smith committed to Arkansas last summer. But the 6'4, 275-pound two-star defensive end from Chattahoochee (GA) hasn't heard from the Hogs since Bobby Petrino took over last month and has re-opened his recruitment. Now, Smith, who visited Louisville last weekend, is strongly considering playing for the Cardinals next season.

Justin Smith committed to Arkansas last summer. But the 6'4, 275-pound two-star defensive end from Chattahoochee (GA) hasn't heard from the Hogs since Bobby Petrino took over last month. Now Smith, who visited Louisville last weekend, is strongly considering playing for the Cardinals next season.

"It was a good visit," Smith said. "I enjoyed meeting with all the position coaches and I met with some of the players. I liked the campus a lot and they were some of the best facilities I've seen out of all my visits that I've taken."


Justin Smith has re-opened his recruitment and
is considering Louisville.

Smith was hosted by Louisville senior tight end Johnny Burns on his visit. He also was interested to learn what new defensive coordinator Ron English would have in store for him next season if he signs with the Cardinals next month.

"I met all the new coaches," Smith said. "Ron English is a nice guy. We didn't get into defensive as far as scheme or anything like that. All the coaches were really nice guys. I enjoyed hanging around with them."

Smith could be just what English is looking for: A physically imposing defensive lineman who appears ready – at least physically – to play right away next season.

"His pass rushing skills are just unbelievable," Chattahoochee coach Terry Crowder said. "He has such a long reach. Justin is just physically gifted. It is just what schools are looking for in a defensive rush end. Every coach has told me that he more than passes the eye test. He just looks like he is already in the NFL."

As a junior, Smith led his team in sacks with 13 and helped lead stout defensive unit that set Georgia 5A state record for fewest points given up in a year. This season, Smith earned first-team All-North Fulton as a senior. He has offers from Boston College, Wake Forest, Michigan State, Ole Miss and Arkansas.

"He just absolutely dominated our Region," said Crowder. "I was at Camden County when we set the 5A state record for fewest points given up in a year. We sent three players on our line to the ACC and one played for Florida's national championship team last year. Justin would have started on that line. He is the best defensive linemen I have never been around."

Smith hoped to attend Arkansas next season. That's why he verbally committed to Houston Nutt last summer. Since Bobby Petrino took over for Nutt last month, though, Smith hasn't heard much from the new Hogs new staff.

"I'm open," a hesitant Smith said. "I'm still considering Arkansas but I haven't heard from anyone there in a while."

Smith says he is scheduled to make an official visit to Ole Miss (1/18)next weekend. He's also planning a visit to Arkansas (1/25) the following week.

How seriously is he considering Louisville?

"Everyone is even right now," Smith said. "How soon I can play is important. I want to go some place where I can get a good education. And I want to find a place that is not too far from home."

Smith said Louisville fit those criteria "pretty good."

"Louisville said I can probably get in pretty soon and play," Smith said.


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