Smith: Life after commitment

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Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley has zoned in on local talent in Knoxville as of late grabbing commitments from three local athletes in the 2013 recruiting class including wide receiver Josh Smith.

The Christian Academy of Knoxville (Tenn.) prospect says his public image has changed quite a bit since his commitment to the Volunteers.

"It is a lot different," Smith told InsideTennessee. "People notice me a lot more as not just a CAK receiver, but as Josh Smith, Tennessee commitment. It is a big honor to be recognized that way."

However, the change in public image is sure to spread to opponents, which is something Smith is preparing for each day.

"I definitely think people will be gunning for me," he said. "I am going to have a massive target on my back. I am sure I am going to get everyone's best. I am expecting the most from defensives now and I expect to get doubled. I will just take that as it comes.

"I am going to play just like I did junior and sophomore year. I am going to play my game. I want to just have fun playing football. If the defensive backs start talking trash I usually just stay quiet and let my game speak for itself."

Smith, a 6-foot, 183-pounder, reeled in 96 receptions for 1,911 yards and 22 touchdowns during his junior season with CAK, but his future at Tennessee only has him grinding harder this off season.

"I have been working a lot harder this off-season because I have a lot of motivation now," Smith said. "I want to keep Tennessee in the back of my mind, but at the same time try to enjoy my senior season with all my friends and stuff like that. I want to try and savor the moment then when I get to UT hit it really hard."

While Smith's recruitment didn't last long with Tennessee, he has enjoyed getting to know the coaching staff as a commitment rather than a recruit.

"I think my relationship with (wide receivers) coach (Darin) Hinshaw has grown a lot since I committed to Tennessee," he said. "I try to talk to him once a week and I want to get down there as much as possible. They make me feel like I am at home at Tennessee. I am from Knoxville, but it is a good feeling that the coaches care and are looking out for me."

The Knoxville, Tenn., who has 4.51 40-yard dash speed is especially excited about playing with teammates and Tennessee offensive lineman commitment Brett Kendrick.

"It means a lot to be able to play with Brett," he said. "Just the fact that we both got Division I offers is crazy. It definitely gets our confidence up there. It is cool going in there knowing someone really well be a fun time too."

You can see highlights from Smith's junior campaign below courtesy of James W. Smith:

October - November 2011 Football Season from James W. Smith on Vimeo.

Stay tuned for more Tennessee football recruiting updates from InsideTennessee.

Chris Price is a staff writer for InsideTennessee.com. He was previously an intern for the site for two years before graduating from the University of Tennessee. He joined the InsideTennessee team in 2009.

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