Decision likely imminent for Smith

Three-star running back Adonis Smith hasn't set a deadline for himself, but he does have some plans for making a decision. The San Mateo, Calif., running back talked with Purple Reign and said the one thing he's waiting for before pulling the trigger on a commitment. He also named some of the factors he is considering. And one of them – it's not education – could favor Northwestern.

One more formality to take care of, and then it will likely be decision time for Adonis Smith.

Smith, a three-star running back from San Mateo, Calif., has made all of his visits – including one to Northwestern on Dec. 19. He's mulled his options. And he's ready to go ahead and make a commitment.

Almost.

Rated as the No. 62 back in the 2010 class, Smith told Purple Reign that he is waiting to have an in-home visit Thursday with Washington State. After that, a decision will be imminent.

"After I have my in-home visits, the next day I'm going to sit down with my parents and make a decision," Smith said, adding also that he doesn't plan on taking any more visits.

"I'll need to talk with my parents, but maybe in the next day or two (after the in-home visit)."

That means, obviously, that Northwestern could have a three-star running by the weekend.

The 5-11, 185-pound Smith also confirmed that he is currently considering Northwestern, Washington State, San Diego State and Utah. As of now, there is no favorite – everyone is equal.

Along with how he thinks he would fit in – both on campus and with the team – Smith said that a big factor in his decision would be playing early.

"Basically I want to make sure I'm going to feel comfortable there," Smith said. "And the ability to play right away is important, and just the coaching staff just getting a feel for everything."

How comfortable he feels and how well he jells with the coaching staff are tough things to gauge. But the part about playing right away – that could be a boon for Northwestern.

First off, Northwestern's only other 2010 running back commit, Shontrelle Johnson, decommitted in December and, on Jan. 1, opted for Iowa State. So should Smith commit, he'd be – for the moment, at least – the only running back of the class.

Moreover, NU proved last season that freshman backs can get carries. Freshman Arby Fields led the running back corps in carries, yards and touchdowns. Plus, with the Cats' well-documented trouble running the ball in ‘09, it would seem that playing time is there for anyone who proved himself capable: No returning player next year had more than 302 yards rushing this season. And with 1,500 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior – plus a 4.5 40 – Smith could be a viable option at running back.

Depending on how much Smith's decision hinges on playing time, Utah could be in a bit of trouble. The Utes had a 1,000-yard rusher, Eddie Wide, who was only a junior this season. They also had Sausan Shakerin, a freshman who averaged 5.5 yards per carry. It'd be tough to tote the ball much with those two already entrenched.

SDSU and WSU are less loaded at running back. Now, SDSU does return its top three rushers – a junior and two freshmen – but none of them had staggering seasons; the best of the bunch had 558 yards and just 3.6 per carry. And at Wazzou, two of the team's top three backs will be back, but neither of them had more than 175 last season.

Addressing that comfortable factor, Smith said of his visit to Evanston: "It went good, actually, even though there weren't any students. It was just a good atmosphere. We got to see Chicago a little bit. It was my first time (to see Chicago). It was a beautiful city."

So beautiful that Smith could make himself local? We should know in the coming days.

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