"He's the best receiver we've ever had"
DeAngelo Smith, who measures in at an athletic 6'0" and 170 pounds, became South Carolina's first wide receiver commitment of the 2009 class on Friday night when he gave his pledge to USC following the first annual Gamecock Showcase Camp.
Smith is somewhat of an unknown commodity in the recruiting world because he plays in Camden County's Wing-T based offense and hasn't had many opportunities to showcase his talents in the passing game, catching only 21 balls for 86 yards and 7 touchdowns in his junior season. However, Smith's head coach Jeff Herron says not to let the lack of productivity fool you - his star wide receiver is an excellent prospect.
"He's been very good for us. He's made a lot of big plays for us since he was a sophomore, and he's a very dependable receiver. He doesn't have a ton of catches because we don't throw it a lot, but he's done a good job of blocking and making plays when we've needed him to," said Herron. "Right now the biggest thing he's lacking is a great deal of experience in the passing game because that's just not been our forte. But he's a very talented kid that has a lot of upside."
When asked to describe what type receiver Smith is on the gridiron, Herron replied that his star pupil is the complete package and is the best receiver to ever come through Camden County.
"He's always had good hands and has run good routes. The thing we're excited about this year is he's physically matured now. He's pretty good in all areas as a receiver. He's fast and has great hands," he said. "He's certainly the best receiver we've ever had at Camden County. I don't think there's any question of that. He's a pure receiver."
With such a special talent on his roster, Herron plans to find more creative ways to utilize Smith in the Camden County offense this fall.
"I certainly hope so," Herron replied when asked if he planned to get Smith more touches this fall. "When you have a kid as talented as DeAngelo, we'll certainly try to get the ball in his hands more this year. We've got to do that."
Herron believes that South Carolina is a very good fit for Smith and that he'll flourish in Steve Spurrier's receiver-friendly offense.
"Coach Spurrier's got a great reputation for developing quarterbacks and receivers. I know DeAngelo will succeed there. He's a good kid, and he learns quickly. He's very coachable," he said. "I think (South Carolina) is a good fit for him. In that system, I certainly think he can flourish."
According to Herron, Smith has added nearly twenty pounds of muscle to his frame over the last two years and is physically impressive as a rising senior in high school. However, he knows that Smith will need to continue working hard off the field to compete on the SEC level.
"He works very hard in all areas. Certainly to play in the SEC he's going to need to get bigger, stronger, faster, and learn the game even better."
After coaching him throughout his high school career, Herron is proud of the young man that Smith has become outside of football.
"He's a good kid. He's respectful. He's very quiet until you get to know him, but he's got a playful streak in him too. He's a very good kid. We're very proud of him."
Smith, who consistently times in the 4.45 to 4.49 range in the forty yard dash, was a standout performer at the Jacksonville Scout.com/Under Armour combine back in March and was named to the All-Combine Team. He chose South Carolina over offers from Illinois, Indiana, East Carolina, and others. He benches 260 pounds and squats 350.
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