Scouting Report: Calif's Ellusive WR Steve Smith

Last weekend our globe-trotting West Coast Correspondent Don Hoekwater jetted down to SoCal Friday to watch All-American wide receiver Steve Smith from Woodland Hills, California, Taft, The Insiders' #59 prospect. Here is his scouting report on the great wideout -- with photos.

How's this for a game start. Steve Smith's Woodland Hills Taft kicks off to Granada Hills. First play from scrimmage, Granada Hills fumbles and Taft recovers. Taft lines up with the 6-1 Smith split wide. First play is a completion to Smith who casually eludes the defender and glides 20 yards into the end-zone for a score. Thirteen seconds into the game and Taft is up 7-0. Ensuing kickoff, Granada Hills fumbles again, again Taft recovers. It was that kind of night. The LA Times' 6th ranked Woodland Hills Toreadors sailed on to an easy 42-0 home victory on a drizzling Friday.

Before the game I had a chance to chat with Taft coach Troy Starr, who delighted me with the fact his favorite player growing up was none other than Andy Cannavino, who was an All-Big Ten linebacker for the Maize and Blue circa 1980. Coach Starr even wore his number in college (#41). Immediately I was hoping that Michigan is a lock for Mr. Smith's services with that kind of U-M connection.

But alas, Steve is his own man, and he is taking full advantage of the recruiting process. After the game I spoke with Smith, who informed me he was heading for a visit to Tennessee the very next day (Sat). I asked him what he liked most about Michigan and he replied, "The tradition of excellence and the fact they put out so many great wide receivers." I asked if Michigan was recruiting him as a wideout and he told me, "Yes, but I'd play anywhere they want."

Being from California myself (although I gew up in Grand Rapids, Mich.), I have to ask these kids if they've ever seen snow. When I asked Steve this question he said, "Oh yeah, I have relatives in Chicago and I love the snow". He also told me his list of schools, in order, are USC, Tennesee, Texas, and Michigan. I asked him if he had set a visit date for Michigan and he mentioned it may be the 13th of December.

So much for the recruiting part, here's the scouting report, short and sweet. As a wide receiver Steve Smith has great natural ability to get separation from defenders. When he needed to get open there was no chance of any Granada Hills DB staying near him. Although he isn't absolutely-lightning fast, along with the opening 20 yard TD reception Smith also had a 58 yard TD romp in the 2nd half. He also played defensive back, but his natural home seemed to me to be on offense.

No one can touch Smith

TD #2 for #2 - The Bomb

The game was an impressive and easy victory for Smith and his teammates. The real challenge comes this Friday when Taft meets up with arch nemesis Birmingham. This game is for the West Valley League Championship and Smith has yet to beat Birmingham. If you are in the area I suggest you go watch this one, it reckons to be a real gem.

Yours truly will be back home in the Bay area this week catching up with Michigan commitment Sam Keller as his San Ramon Valley Wolves take on All-American QB Matt Wright and the Monte Vista Mustangs. I'll have a full report on the game as well as photos and commentary from Sam and his father, former Wolverine defensive end Mike Keller. Stay tuned to

He blocks too!

Smith lines up on defense

Mr. Steve Smith

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