Exclusive Update with Vernon Smith

Many rumors have been running rampant on the academic status of 2004-recruit linebacker Vernon Smith of Dillard High School. Of course, we at the Panther Report got the inside scoop straight from Vernon himself. Vernon was on his way to a workout and he took the time to fill us in on his academic situation and his future as a Pittsburgh Panther.

Vernon Smith was one of the top prep linebackers in the nation last season. He chose Pittsburgh over Kansas State, Oklahoma, and Mississippi State. All tolled Vernon had over 40 scholarship offers on the table. The All-State selection from Florida made 118 tackles, 6 sacks, 2 interceptions, and 12 tackles for loss during his junior season.

Vernon is 6-1, 230, 4.6 and rock solid right now. He has been running and lifting religiously. Keeping his body in top shape is very important to him.

"I am always trying to get bigger, stronger, and faster," said Smith.

Smith's physical or athletic ability has never been questioned. What have are his academics and College Board scores. Vernon finished the term at Dillard with a core GPA of 2.2. By NCAA standards, he needs approximately a 940 score on his SATs. On the last test results that Vernon got back, he scored 780. He took the last test on June 5th and is still awaiting the results.

The University of Pittsburgh has promised Vernon that they are holding his scholarship until January of 2005. If Vernon scores high enough on the June 5th test, he'll be a Panther in August. What are his plans just in case he doesn't make it?

"I'm not planning on prep school. I will continue to try and pass the test. I am going to call one of my teachers today and she said she'd help me prepare for the test. I was pretty close last time, so I'm hoping I made it this time."

Most Panther fans are afraid of you going to a prep school and opening your recruiting back up. Will that be the case?

"No. I committed to Pittsburgh. They still maintain contact with me and are supportive of me. I am trying to get there this season. If not, I'll be there in January."

Are other schools still trying to recruit you?

"I am getting stuff from JUCO's and prep schools."

Good luck to you Vernon and hopefully the fans of Pittsburgh will get to see you patrolling the field this fall.

"Thank you sir, I'm trying."

The Panther Report will have another update on Vernon Smith next month. We'd like to thank Dave Peters and Charles Fishbein for their help of tracking down the elusive Vernon Smith.

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