Where did he come from?
Proud to say I'm a 2015 commit!!! #VOLS pic.twitter.com/r6JOsgCr6R— Austin Smith #11 (@AustinZSmith24) June 22, 2014
Austin Smith committed to Tennessee out of Buford High School in Georgia, a powerhouse program that has sent numerous players to BCS programs, including fellow Vol commit Quay Picou.
How did he end up at Tennessee?
#Tennessee pic.twitter.com/FPzqhM5Dta— Isaac Nauta (@inauta24) June 21, 2014
Smith had more than eighteen major college offers, including Alabama, Florida, Miami, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, but was widely thought to be headed to either Georgia or LSU. Smith was apparently very impressed with the Tennessee facilities and the team atmosphere, telling 247 Sports, "Family was a big thing for me, and I felt like family was here." 1 As with fellow Orange Carpet weekend commit Alvin Kamara, Smith specifically mentioned the importance of playing with fellow Georgia native and current Tennessee wide receiver Jason Croom, who must be majoring in recruiting.2
How will he fit into the Tennessee defense?
Smith is listed at a shade under 6'4 and 230 pounds in his 247 Sports profile, but looks significantly lighter than that on film. With time in the Tennessee strength and conditioning program, Smith will probably fill out to the 240 pound range. Depending on his physical development, he could stay at outside linebacker or move forward to a defensive line position.
A speedy outside linebacker with good range, Smith appears equally comfortable rushing the passer off the edge or covering tight ends down the field. Smith plays for a powerhouse program in the top division of Georgia high school football, but still stands out on film despite playing against other well coached BCS prospects.
Smith is rated a middling three stars (and the 67th best OLB) by the 247 Composite, but his offer list shows that college coaches believe he is an elite prospect. The discrepancy is probably explained by the impression that Smith is not a finished prospect from a physical maturity standpoint: he could easily add additional weight, and it's tough to project what position he'll eventually end up at.
1. 247 Sports: Smith joins 'family' at Tennessee.↩
2. Sample class: Recruiting 104: An Introduction to Celebratory Chest Bumps taught by former UT assistant coach Trooper Taylor.↩