Cali. Back High on Lions

Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft athlete Malcolm Smith (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) is holding a handful of scholarship offers, but Smith has narrowed it down to six schools he's strongly considering. Find out which teams made the cut and where the Nittany Lions stand with the West Coast back.

"I'd say USC, UCLA, Penn State, Notre Dame, Michigan and Arizona," said Smith. "They all offered me except for Notre Dame, but Notre Dame could during the season."

From his top six, though, two schools have emerged as frontrunners.

"Penn State and USC are the favorites. USC, that's a school I've liked for a long time and Penn State came on and has been recruiting me a lot for a while now," Smith said.

Smith plays linebacker and running back and, with his size and speed (he ran a 4.4 at the Combine), could play safety in college. "I'm getting recruited as an athlete basically," said Smith. "I haven't figured out exactly what position I'll play. I play running back and linebacker, but the linebacker is a rover position."

With his older brother Steve set to begin his senior year at USC, Malcolm said he used his experiences with recruiting four years ago to help him with his own recruitment.

"I just saw what he went through, so I kind of knew what to expect. It wasn't a surprise to me. I can ask him questions if I need," said Smith. "Honestly, I've avoided recruiting unless I had to."

Smith attended only the Combine and no other camps or combines this spring. He said, "I was just working out with the team, getting together with a few players and getting ready for the year. I'm hoping for a real comeback season."

He plans to take all five of his official visits, but said that when it came to USC and UCLA, he'll likely settle for unofficial trips there so he can maximize his opportunities for official visits to out-of-town schools.

Smith said a decision wouldn't come until closer to Signing Day.

As a junior, Smith rushed for 639 yards on 73 carries and caught 26 passes for 399 yards. He also added 41 tackles at the linebacker position.

Academically, he has a 3.3 GPA and scored a 1600 on the new SAT.


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