June 17, 2010

Rebels jump into mix for Orlando defender

His friend, Serderius Bryant, has been talking Ole Miss up to LaQuentin Smith for weeks.

Late last week, Smith heard a lot more about the Rebels, this time from Ole Miss defensive line coach Terry Price, who issued a scholarship offer to the three-star athlete from Orlando (Dr. Phillips), Fla.

"I haven't talked to him a lot but when we talked we had a long conversation," Smith said. "Ole Miss is recruiting a lot of people from Florida. Serderius Bryant tells me a lot about Ole Miss and I know they beat Florida a couple of years ago. There must be a lot of good things going down in Oxford."

Smith also picked up an offer from Michigan State late last week, bringing his total to 18. South Florida, from nearby Tampa, continues to lead for Smith's services, but it's close and the 6-foot-1, 205-pounder plans to look around some before making a decision.

"South Florida leading but it's not a big lead," Smith said. "I'm wide open, but I have a good relationship with the (USF) coaches and it's close to me, too."

Ole Miss, Smith said, is "trying to get me there this summer, show me the program. They want me to see the whole place. I'm going to try to see some places, but it's going to be kind of hectic."

Smith also has offers from Arkansas, Cincinnati, Colorado State, Florida International, Illinois, Memphis, Michigan, Purdue, Tennessee, Central Florida, Wake Forest and West Virginia. Some of those schools, Smith said, are recruiting him as an outside linebacker. Others are recruiting him as a strong safety.

"It really doesn't matter, but I think I want to play strong safety at the next level," Smith said.

Smith said he has one official visit lined up already. He'll visit Arkansas when the Razorbacks entertain defending national champion Alabama in Fayetteville. He plans to take four other official visits, though he hasn't decided when or where.

Smith, ranked the No. 68 athlete in the country by Rivals.com, has a 3.0 grade-point average and a 17 on the ACT.

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