Geno Smith an elite prospect

Metro Atlanta's Geno Smith looks like a long shot for Stanford – Scout's No. 4 cornerback in its 2012 class has no shortage of local options and hasn't yet seen West Coast schools. Then again, Atlanta may well be the most-represented city on Stanford's current roster, and Smith may be planning a West Coast tour in the future.

"I know Stanford's a great school," Smith told The Bootleg. "It's very prestigious, on an Ivy League level. I'm planning taking a trip out West. If I do, I'll definitely stop by and would make my way to Stanford."

Smith would consider visiting four schools on a potential West Coast swing.

"The four would be Oregon, USC, UCLA and Stanford," he said. "If I do go out West, I don't plan on visiting all four. It's just going to be kind of tough, summer track and football workouts, but I want to get out there. I'm just not sure if I can or not."

Smith has offers from at least 26 schools (we could only find 26 at press time, but at this rate, he could be at 30 now), including Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma and USC. Plus, he lives in the South, home of the last five BCS champions. Why even consider visiting elsewhere?

Every school is different, so I want to get out and see what they have to offer," he explained. "I want to give everyone a fair shot."

Perhaps part of Stanford's appeal is the phone calls he's had with Stanford's coaching staff.

"I haven't talked to Coach in a minute, but it was a good conversation," Smith said. "He told me about tradition, academics and the type of defense they play."

Smith identifies a No. 1 school, a No. 2, and plans to focus in on a group of schools moving forward.

"Right now the two would be Alabama, your leader and then Tennessee," he said. "But I plan on having a top ten in the middle of may summer and that's where I'll take my unofficials to during the summer."

How should schools try to make Smith's top ten?

"It won't be tough for schools," he said. "I just want to make contact with the coaches and build a relationship."

A few schools are trying to build that relationship with the defensive back. Smith highlighted two traditional Midwest powers, Notre Dame and Ohio State, as schools in particular where he's forging a connection to the coaches. But there's another school, literally and figuratively closer to Stanford, that may be on the verge of offering Smith.

"Oregon said they're going to offer, but they want to ‘come down and see that you're not 5'5,'" the 6-foot, 170-pound Smith explained the Duck staff joked with him.

Smith grew up watching the local team, UGA but stressed that childhood affection won't play into his decision. Indeed, it's the Crimson Tide who currently lead in the chase for Smith.

"With the assistant coaches, I've built great relationships," he said. Coach Saban, he has a reputation for coaching great games, and the defense, the style of the program, it's professional."

Per Smith's tally, at least four 4 ATLiens committed to Saban and the Tide this year.

Smith identifies factors, academic and football-based alike, that will factor into his final decision.

"I plan on majoring in broadcasting so a school known for a good broadcast program," he said of a key deciding factor. "And just the relationship I build with recruiting coach and defensive coach. The scheme and how they use the cornerbacks, and their history of getting DBs to the next level."

Smith models his play after a cornerback who set the standard for college defensive backs, and has had no problems whatsoever excelling at the next level.

"I'm kind of a Charles Woodson," Smith offered. "He's a tackler and likes to tackle up the field. He doesn't mind hitting is the one thing. Put me in the slot, let me sack the quarterback, press, cover-2, cover-3, the main thing is to be aggressive."

Like Woodson, Smith developed an early love for the game, and the subsequent years have only reinforced his bond with the gridiron.

"It's always that when I grew up I'd play with a football, so when finally I went out there, according to my mom something just clicked," Smith said. "I just enjoyed it and always talked about it."

Any guesses as to when Smith started down this football path?

"I started at the age of four," Smith said.

Fair to say that football is in Smith's blood, and if his lofty rating is any indication, Smith appears to have a good of a shot as anyone at keeping football in his blood for years and years to come.

Academically, Smith reports a 3.0 GPA and has yet to take the SAT.

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