Gardena (Calif.) Serra four-star athlete Kobe Smith isn’t the flashiest player on the seven-on-seven circuit, but his potential has a vastly higher ceiling than his peers.
Unassumingly, Smith has put together a stretch of tremendous performances at his last few passing tournaments playing wide receiver.
When Smith wasn’t participating in passing tournaments this spring, he was at USC watching the Trojans practice.
“I went down there to feel the vibe at USC,” said Smith. “There’s a real warm family vibe there, and they practiced with a lot of
“I mainly watched Tee Martin and how he was instructing his guys through drills. I was watching specific players like Jalen Green, Deontay
Smith spoke to USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin after the Trojans’ spring game as well.
“He just wants to see me become more of a leader for my team,” said Smith. “He’s known me since I was a freshman, so he wants to see me develop and be ready for the next level. That’s whether I go to USC or not.”
Smith gleaned a few pointers from watching those USC wide receivers in action.
“I learned that you always have to go hard,” said Smith. “The routes they were running on air were the same they were running against the defensive backs during one-on-ones.”
Ending last season with nine straight wins, USC is in a much different place this spring as opposed to Clay Helton’s first spring as head coach.
Wins and losses aside, Smith sees the bigger picture when comparing and contrasting schools.
“I feel like USC is a 40-year plan and not just a 4-year decision,” said Smith. “It’s like with Serra. You’re always going to have somewhere to go after you graduate because of the gear people that have come through the program.
“With USC, it started with Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. They were great players and great guys. When you look at where they went, you wonder, who wouldn’t want to follow in their footsteps? Why wouldn’t you want to be a part of that?”
Outside of Tee Martin visiting campus, a host of other college coaches will be stopping by Serra this week to check in on Smith.
“Cal, Oklahoma, Nebraska, ASU, Arizona, UCLA… a bunch of schools,” said Smith. “I’m going to sit back and have fun. I’m not too worried about making a decision right now.
“Like my coach said, ‘just let it all come to you.’ I’m just going through the process right now. All of these schools are equal.”
But Smith has been to USC numerous times and is considering the Trojans for several reasons.
“It’s a home environment, and what I keep hearing from the people that go there, is that it’s a good place to be,” said Smith. “I know so many people that go there I can find out how things really are.
“Every college has a good educational system, but at USC, when you’re done with school, you’re still going to be right. Even if you don’t make to the NFL, you’re set.”