It's rare that you see a player offered who doesn't have a recruiting profile on the Internet at this point of the recruiting cycle. But that's what will [officially] happen in the morning when Christian Academy of Knoxville wide receiver Josh Smith will commit to Tennessee, he confirmed to news outlets Wednesday.
He doesn't have any high major offers, though his personal website says he is "considering" Oklahoma State, Clemson, Duke, Notre Dame, Furman, Liberty, Carson Newman, Princeton, Dartmouth, University of Tennessee, University of Kentucky, University of Georgia, Michigan and Syracuse.
This commitment at this stage of the game is quizzical, at best, but Derek Dooley, Jim Chaney and UT coaches got to see Smith up close and personal this week when they worked out quarterback Charlie High and three receivers from the CAK team that won last year's state championship. Smith, according to Ryan Callahan at govols247.com, ran two electronically-timed 4.51 40-yard dashes and really impressed coaches with his speed and hands.
An offer came today, and the newest Vol apparently is coming down in the morning ... as first tweeted by UT's second-newest Vol, 6-foot-6, 295-pound Brett Kendrick, Smith's teammate at CAK. High has yet to receive a Tennessee offer and measured in at just below 6 feet tall during the workout drills.
As for information on Smith, good luck finding anything from recruiting services. The Vols keep pulling commitments from players few folks have heard of. While I trust coaches to make solid evaluations, you can't build an entire class out of unknown "diamonds in the rough." If it sounds like I'm frustrated, that's not exactly true. I just know nothing about these guys, and, frankly, Dooley has proven he doesn't care just how coveted players are.
Dooley has shown he doesn't have to take the highest rated kids or the kids with the most or best offers. If he sees them and likes them, he'll offer -- for better or worse. Hopefully, Smith can be a quality possession receiver who can make things happen with the ball. He doesn't look a whole lot different than Connor Crane, a kid the Vols tried to recruit out of Texas last year who wound up at Stanford.
According to Smith's website, he's 6-1, 182 and as a sophomore in 2010, he had 15 touchdowns, over 1,000 yards receiving and made all-district. His stats also say during last year's state championship run, he was High's top target, hauling in 96 catches for 1,911 yards and 22 touchdowns in a high-octane spread offense. His accolades included TSSAA All-State first team wide receiver and district offensive MVP.
What's not to love from a measurables and statistics standpoint? He has worked out for coaches, he has the numbers and he ran -- really fast -- at UT yesterday. I mean, sure, he's a white wide receiver, which will be a knock in some circles [let's be frank ... it's just the way it is in recruiting, but it isn't fair] but that doesn't mean he's unathletic. Even I'm guilty of comparing him to every white wide receiver in the book [see Crane comparison above and Blanc comparison below; hey, at least I didn't say he'd replace Zach Rogers, did I?]
I'd like to hear from some folks who've seen him in person and know what they think of him. The tough thing about the commitment is it's eight months until National Signing Day, and this is one UT may have been able to wait on. But even that's probably not fair.
If the kid worked out and looked good enough to earn an offer, he's obviously a player the coaches really like. Some of the message board fallout resembles that of the commitment of Knox Central's Cody Blanc last year. Many were puzzled by that one, but Blanc, who was a midterm enrollee, looked like an exceptional athlete this spring who can help on either side of the ball. Dooley also has taken commitments from local product Devrin Young, who looks like a potential dynamic playmaker, and George Bullock -- who many believe is the kicker of the future.
If it sounds like I'm trying to talk myself into accepting a commitment from Smith at this time ... guilty. I know nothing about him, and I'm afraid he's the product of a pass-happy system. So, while I'm not one of the haters, I'm certainly somebody who is wondering aloud about taking Mr. Smith at this juncture. He is the ninth known commitment for Dooley and the Vols, who are about to start their camp circuit this week and have limited spots unless some major attrition occurs.
Regardless, maybe Smith will come in with something to prove and make his mark on the program. Whether he's Craig Faulkner or Zach Rogers [there I go again], we'll see in time.