UCLA Still In It for Juju

The five-star from Long Beach (Calif.) Poly, Juju Smith, will likely visit UCLA unofficially...

Juju Smith is the No. 2 player in the West region and a top 10 player nationally. He has the ability to play safety or receiver at the next level and is one of the few players who could legitimately play on both sides of the ball when he gets to college.

On the recruiting front, Smith took his first official visit to Ohio State two weeks ago and said he was blown away by the experience.

"It was like a different world out there, I loved it," Smith said. "My mom came with me and she loved it too. The overall environment and atmosphere really stood out for me. Meeting Coach (Urban) Meyer was the highlight of the visit for me, he's an incredible man and a great coach.

"He's a very impressive person, very honest and he keeps it real. I liked the city of Columbus a lot as well. It's not a big city but I like how everything is close by and easy to get to. It's a very calm place, I was real comfortable there and like it a lot. The players on the team were great with me as well. They treated me like family and that's what I'm looking for."

Smith said he's not ready to name a favorite but the Buckeyes definitely made a big impression.

"They set the bar very high for everyone else to follow," Smith said. "They're very high on my list and I have high standards for what I'm looking for and they met them all. It's going to take a lot to compete with Ohio State right now, I can say that for sure."

This past weekend, Smith was in Seattle to watch Washington host Oregon on an unofficial visit.

"Washington is on the rise," Smith said. "This was a big time Pac 12 game between two teams I like a lot so I wanted to get out there and check it out. I already have all my official visits set so I wanted to get out to Washington and give them a close up look.

"Washington has one of the top medical programs, I like their coaches a lot and they graduate both of their safeties so I definitely have interest. I saw a great game, it was close until Oregon pulled away late but I was still really impressed. I didn't really get to see much of the campus since I was only there for the game but I did get a little glance and I liked what I saw."

This weekend, Smith will take his second official visit of the year when he heads to Notre Dame.

"I can't wait for this one," Smith said. "Notre Dame is a great program with great tradition. They're playing USC, who has new energy now that Coach O (Ed Orgeron) has taken over so it should be a great rivalry game. There are a lot of other Cali players coming up so it will be fun to hang out with everyone.

"I'm interested in watching USC too. They beat Arizona but still have a lot to prove. I want to see how they do against teams like Notre Dame, Stanford and UCLA. UCLA is looking good too and I like their defense. I'm going to do unofficial visits to USC and UCLA and then my last three official visits are still locked in with Oregon, Alabama and Michigan. Hopefully I can make my commitment at the Under Armour All-American game if I'm ready."

Greg Biggins has been covering recruiting for over 16 years, covering the West since the mid-1990's and currently serves as a national analyst for Scout.com/FOXSportsNext.
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