Gamecocks Shake Things Up For 4-star WR/DB

South Carolina recently extended an offer to one of the top overall prospects in the Garden State's class of 2008, shaking up the top five list of schools that the versatile athlete had previously named. Who is this elite New Jersey prospect, and where do the Gamecocks currently stand with him? Read inside to find out.

New Brunswick (NJ) 4-star athlete Brandon Smith is rated by as the #6 safety prospect in America this recruiting year, but the 6'2", 210 pound playmaker is versatile enough to play multiple positions on the college level, including wide receiver, linebacker and possibly even quarterback. Smith, who racked up over 1,700 total yards and 25 touchdowns on offense last season along with 60 tackles and 9 interceptions on defense, recently saw his offer list grow to thirty-two schools when he got a surprise offer from Coach David Reaves and the South Carolina Gamecocks.

"The last school to offer me was South Carolina a few weeks ago. I was pretty surprised when they offered. I'm not too familiar with them, but when you hear South Carolina, you think of their great coach in Steve Spurrier. I talk with Coach (David) Reaves pretty often, and he's told me a lot about them," said Smith. "I hear it's a great school, and they have a great coach in Coach Spurrier. He's one of the best in my time. I feel like he's one of the best active college coaches right now. It'd be an honor to play for him."

While many schools are recruiting him to play strictly on offense or strictly on defense, Smith likes the approach that the Gamecocks are taking with him.

"South Carolina's actually recruiting me for offense and defense. They want me to play a little safety and play a little wideout. They even said I could play a little quarterback for them. They've asked me to play both ways for them."

Smith had previously named a top five of Michigan, Wisconsin, Louisville, North Carolina State and Rutgers, but after picking up the offer from South Carolina, Smith has decided to re-open his recruitment.

"I had a top five, but I felt that South Carolina (offering) opened my top five back up. I feel like I'm open to everybody again. I was pretty focused on that top five that I had, but then South Carolina offered me and I was like, 'Forget it. I'm back wide open to everybody.'

According to Smith, he plans to take all five of his official visits to get a better feel for the schools that are pursuing him.

"I'm definitely going to take all five of my official visits. My first official is actually coming up pretty soon. I'm taking my first official to Michigan on (September) 21. I had set that up a while back. Then I'm looking to set the rest of them up. I'm probably going to take an official to Wisconsin. I'm not sure of everything else right now, but I'm definitely considering South Carolina."

Smith is in no hurry to make a decision on his college choice, as he plans to wait until National Signing Day before announcing his commitment.

"I'm definitely going to commit on Signing Day. On February 6, I'll make an announcement on the school where I'll commit to."

When the time does come for him to make a decision, Smith said he will look for a few key factors when choosing which school is right for him.

"The most important thing to me is - Can I live there for four years of my life? I have to be comfortable enough that I can live there for four years of my life. Then the academic program has to be great. A lot of the schools that I talk to have excellent graduation rates. Another thing is playing time. That's the last thing on my list. It's important, but at the same time, the biggest things for me are being comfortable at the school and coming out of the school with a degree."

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