Smith Still Waiting on Rutgers

Abdul Smith is a highly touted defensive back prospect that hails from Perkiomen School (Pennsburg, PA). Standing at 6-feet and 1/4" and 183-pounds, Smith now holds 20 scholarship offers, including several from very prestigious programs, but one offer has remained elusive.

Abdul Smith, in a similar nature to a number of other Garden State prospects this year, saw his recruitment get off to a relatively slow start. But when things picked up, they picked up a head of steam - and then some.

Smith has participated in a number of events thus far this spring, giving him the opportunity to match up against some of the east's top prospects. "I participated in the 5 Star Academy at Rutgers where I was among the top DBs. Some of the players there included the likes of Darrel Givens, Travis Hawkins, Stephon Morris, Dominic Clark and Derrick Thomas," stated Smith.

"I have been to the Scout.com and Badger National 7 on 7 in AKRON Ohio where I played against the likes of Taj Boyd, Logan Heastie and Gerald Hodges and I played on a team from PA with Dorian Bell and Cory Brown of Gateway HS. I made 1st team All tournament and my team came in 2nd place."

"I also participated in the Scout.com and Under Armour Combine in Pittsburgh, PA, which had players such as E.J. Banks, Dan Mason and Emanuel Yeager. I made 1st team All Combine."

"I also participated in the NIKE Combine in Baltimore, MD, with the likes of Stephon Morris and Darrell Givens. I also made 1st team All Combine and I hade a 105.43 SPARQ Rating which was in the top 10 out of over 1,200 athletes."

In addition, Smith also showcased his skills at the BigTime Showcase [also at Rutgers], where he put together a 4.55-40 yard dash and bench pressed 225-pounds an impressive 17 times. This Tuesday, Smith will take his talents down to Baltimore, where he will participate in the Under Armour/Scout.com Combine.

With a heavy load of camps/combines under his belt, Smith, now sitting on nearly two dozen offers, has decided that he won't be attending much in the way of collegiate camps. Indeed, the Garden State standout has turned down a multitude of invitations from schools such as LSU, Florida, Ohio State, West Virginia, Michigan, Tennessee and Connecticut. There is one school, however, that he may camp at, but all that depends. On what?

"Rutgers is a program on the rise and what attracted me to them is when coach Schiano talked about keeping the best players home. I take a lot of pride in that. But unfortunately Rutgers has not lived up to that at least in my situation. If Rutgers offers me in the next couple of weeks and really starts recruiting me like a priority, and not an option, then they have a chance to be among my top schools," stated Smith.

"Rutgers seems to be interested but for whatever reason they haven't offered. I receive handwritten letters from Coach Schiano and Coach Susan. I live 30 miles from Rutgers. I wonder if they are true about keeping the best players home. I am one of the top and strongest DBs/CBs/Ss/Aths in the country and people are amazed that they haven't offered. I'm wondering what 20 other schools see that Rutgers doesn't see."

Among those schools are some traditional powers, including Penn State, Wisconsin, Auburn, Colorado, and several others.

"I have visited Penn State, Pitt, Temple, UCONN and Mayland and of course Rutgers. But I had over 35 schools that came to visit me during the evaluation period. All the schools had their own uniqueness about them in one way or another, with Pitt which shares it's facilities with the Steelers, Penn State with over 100,000 in their stadium and UCONN's new 50 million dollar facility, and then you have Rutgers which is in the expansion stage [of its stadium], and the home crowd of New Jersey. They were all unique."

"From a coach's point of view I would have to say Coach Paterno [has impressed most] because of the legacy and history of his program and because he still has a lot of energy. Coach Wannstedt [has also been impressive] because of his personal approach towards me and his experience in the NFL and Coach Schiano because of his youth and what he has accomplished at Rutgers."

Smith, who recorded 60 tackles, a tackle for loss and four interceptions from his DB position as a Junior, has established a set of criteria that he will be using to narrow down his choice of schools.

"What I am looking for in a school is first and foremost honesty and integrity. A family environment, good business program, and a good program that I can have an immediate impact on. Right now I am open to everybody. I don't have any early favorites. I believe once I get to 25 offers, by the end of June, then I will be trimming the list. At that point, for the johnny come lately's it will be too late because if they were truly interested they would have offered."

Matei may be reached at mgeorge@rutgersfootball.com

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