Possible Pitt Recruit: Vernon Smith Update

Vernon Smith, a stout middle-linebacker from Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) North Lauderdale Academy, is one of the most heavily recruited players at his position in the country. Coaches from all over make the trip down to Broward country to get a peek at what everyone has been talking about.

The 6-foot-1 and 230 pound first team all-state linebacker has lived up to his early hype. Defensive powerhouse Oklahoma was one of the first teams to make Vernon Smith an offer. Other big-time schools such as Miami, Ohio State and Pittsburgh followed suit by offering a Smith a full-ride to their respected universities. As of the end of May, he is now sporting 30 scholarship offers, with many more expected.

Pittsburgh has been recruiting Smith very hard. What type of shot do the Panthers have with him?

"Pittsburgh has an excellent shot with Vernon," head coach Harold Pearson said. "He really likes defensive coordinator [Paul] Rhodes a lot."

Coach Pearson told Pitt Insiders that Smith would most likely end up playing his college ball out of state. Some of the early front-runners for his services are Oklahoma, Ohio State and Pittsburgh.

Last year as a junior, Smith recorded over 100 tackles and six sacks. On Saturday night in Homestead (Fla.), the North Lauderdale Academy senior to be, picked up right where he left off by starring in his team's spring jamboree.

Smith, who hardly takes a down off, stared on defense (linebacker), offense (full-back) and special teams. On offense, he had several pancake blocks and he scored on a 50-yard pass reception. On defense, he recorded several bone crushing tackles.

Scouting report:
Smith is your prototypical middle linebacker. His main strengths are hitting and attacking the football. He looks like he would fit perfectly into a defensive system that specializes in stuffing power running backs. Smith is very strong and he very rarely is knocked-back. He's always moving forward in the attacking mode. After viewing his highlight tape and watching him play live, it's this writer's opinion that he would fit nicely into the Pittsburgh defensive scheme.

Dave Peters

Panther Digest Top Stories