The "UP NEXT" series is dedicated to bringing some of the state's most unsung talent to the forefront. Woodruff OL/DT Caleb Smith is a player who we're extremely high on and he's already landed his first scholarship offer from an in-state program. The 6'4 280 pound prospect also reminds us of another former in-state prospect who is doing extremely well on the college level currently.
As we've already stated Smith holds an offer but they aren't the only ones currently involved with the talented Woodruff star. He talked about the schools that he's hearing from and which of those schools are recruiting him the hardest at this point.
"I have had many schools that have visited and talked to me, but feel that the main schools interested in me are South Carolina, Clemson, Appalachian State, Georgia Southern, The Citadel, and Wake Forest."
"I received a offer from Newberry College, but feel that South Carolina, Georgia Southern, and Appalachian State are trying to recruit me the hardest. I have become very close with coach Elliot of South Carolina. I have talked to Brent Davis of Georgia Southern several times and have had personal calls made from Appalachian State."
The recruiting process has afforded Smith the opportunity to take some visits early on and he talked with us about where he's been and what he liked most about those programs he's seen.
"I have visited South Carolina and Clemson multiple times. I have also visited The Citadel, Newberry, Georgia Southern, and plan on visiting Appalachian State soon.
"The things I like about South Carolina are that they are very straight forward with you and they treat you like you are a part of the team every time you meet with them. What I like about Clemson University is they want you to be as comfortable as possible when you are in their coach's presence."
"The things I like about the Citadel are that they show how respectful they are and how respectful they want you to be. They train you for what life really has to offer. Things I like about Newberry is that they in trusted me with a scholarship, showing how much they believe in me. Things I like about Georgia Southern are that they always push you to do better academically as well as athletically. I have high expectations for my visit to Appalachian State too."
Does the 2012 prospect feel like he could be on the verge of landing more offers soon?
"I feel and hope that The University of South Carolina, Appalachian State, and Georgia Southern will offer me soon."
Smith says most schools are recruiting him as a center as well as offensive guard.
We found it intriguing because Smith reminds us a lot of former Aynor High standout and current South Carolina Gamecock T.J. Johnson. From the way he dominates up front, plays with a big time mean streak, as well as his physical traits it's eerie to us how similar the two are at this level. Johnson has been a force up front for the Gamecocks and is on the Rimington Watch List for this upcoming season.
Smith is a monster in the weight room and it has translated to the field in terms of his performance and his testing during some combine events. He shared with us some of his amazing weight room measurables considering his 6'4 280 pound size.
Bench press: 370 pounds
Squat: 515 pounds
Power clean: 300 pounds
Fastest 40 time: 4.9 seconds
Pro Shuttle: 4.49 seconds
Already one of the strongest players we've seen in quite some time Smith recently went out and backed that statement up by pressing 185 pounds for 30 reps at a NUC event earlier this year. His agility is easily seen with a 4.49 second time in the pro shuttle.
Smith believes in himself and he talked about what he feels makes him an outstanding prospect.
"I feel that my biggest strengths are my strength, fight to win, and willingness to sacrifice for my "team" family."
Smith is one of coach Brian Lane's hardest workers and he won't sit by idly this off season as he talked about what areas he wants to improve on the most this summer.
"I am working to improve my speed and agility off the ball so that I can better positioning on the opposing player."
Last season as a junior Smith graded out at 85 percent and had 56 pancake blocks. He gave us a quick rundown of his best game last year as well.
"I believe that my most memorable game was against the Clinton Red Devils. Clinton is a big time rival of the Woodruff Wolverines. I believe in this game I graded out with a 93% blocking average along with 8 pancakes and 10 domination blocks."
Smith already has some goals in mind for his Wolverines' squad heading into his senior season next year as well as some goals he'd like to achieve on a personal level.
"My goals for the team next season are to increase and improve throughout the entire season but the number one goal that I have for my team is win the class 2A state title."
"My personal goals are to surpass my personal records from last year. I would like to be an all-region, all area, and all state football player. I would also like be given the privilege to play in an all-star game."
Smith already has a strong idea of what factors he's going to give the most consideration when looking at potential colleges and he shared that list with us.
1. Education and graduation rates (Education is most important to me)
2. Conference Strength (I love challenges)
3. Atmosphere (Fans must love this wonderful game as much as I do)
4. Coaching staff (We are a family and should treat both with high respect)
5. Facilities (I will adapt)
6. Style of Play
7. Field of Study
So what is Smith's course of action and timetable for making a decision?
"I will commit at any time to the school that I know is right for me."
FUN FACTS WITH...CALEB SMITH
Favorite food: Everything (Mac and Cheese)
Favorite subject in school: Science
Favorite movie: Remember the Titans
Favorite music artist: Corey Smith (Listen to all styles of music)
Favorite thing to do when not playing football: Go fishing in local ponds and lakes
Dream school: University of South Carolina
Tell us something that most people would be surprised to know about you: I am a momma's boy will do anything for her!
Stay tuned to SCPrepNation.com and the Scout.com team as we'll bring you the latest updates with top prospects like Caleb Smith each and every day as we're the #1 leader for recruiting coverage of South Carolina's top football and basketball prospects!