Leaning toward defense

When you speak of Woodland Hills Taft HS (CA) athlete Malcolm Smith, it is not to question if he is talented, but what position college programs will eventually use his talents. Smith has starred at running back, fullback, linebacker, and safety for Taft HS. But many feel that his final destination will be on the defensive side of the ball.

And while Smith is in no hurry to make a final decision, he does admit to having a top five, with two schools out in front to attain his services.

"My top five right now would be Penn State, Michigan, USC, UCLA, and Cal. USC and Penn State are probably my top two, because those are the schools that I know most about."

Smith feels comfortable with the schools in his top five, and did have this to say about each of the schools he is considering.

Penn State – "I know they had a real good year last year and brought in a real good class. They proved a lot, and they have Coach Paterno, who has been there for a while."

Michigan – "It's Michigan, you know. You know they have the most fans in the Big Ten and they compete every year."

USC – "USC is right here, and my brother goes there. It's a great school, a great environment, and I know a lot of people there."

Cal – "They give SC a good game every year, and I have a teammate up there."

UCLA – "They're local, and I've seen them a couple times. Coach Dorrell is cool and they seem interested."

Smith has kept in close contact with SC over the process, and feels he has built a pretty good relationship with one coach in particular.

"Coach Sarkisian is in charge of recruiting me, and he's real cool. I've talked to him a few times, mostly in person."

There are few who question Smith's talent, just those who question where the 4-star prospect will eventually use his skills on Saturdays. Many felt that linebacker would ultimately be his final destination, but after the Scout Combine at Citrus College where Smith ran a 4.44 40 yard dash, many began to sing a different tune.

"I've heard a few things. But I'm starting to lean more towards the defensive side of the ball."

And while many felt that Smith would make a commitment by the end of the summer, he plans on taking trips and playing it out until the end.

"I'm going to be a late last minute decision unless something drastic happens."

Although the recruiting year is young, Smith has been talking to his long time friend and current USC commit Marc Tyler frequently about playing college football together.

"Yeah, that's my boy and we're with each other a lot. He's becoming one of USC's better recruiters."

And even though Smith is nowhere near a decision, he has set aside a few qualities he would like to see in the school he eventually decides to attend.

"Environment, academics, reputation, and consistency are what I will look for. Distance probably won't play a factor."

After an injury laced junior year, Smith intends to bounce back 100% and has a few goals in mind when it comes to his senior season.

"Individually, last year I got hurt and I'm just going to try and stay healthy and have a big season. As for the team, I mean we want to win the championship and go undefeated."

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