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Freshman to watch: Geno Smith

During the summer, will look at different freshman from the 2012 recruiting class that could potentially make an impact during the upcoming season.

The Crimson Tide’s 2012 recruiting class for football was arguably one of the most diverse and successful classes Nick Saban has reeled in in quite some time. Saban, noted across the nation as one of college football’s greatest recruiters, had a little bit of help from this class.

Cornerback prospect Geno Smith committed to Alabama very early on and quickly became of of the Tide’s best recruiters. Smith spent time on social media sites urging other players being recruited by the Tide to join him in wearing Crimson for the next four years. When he visited Tuscaloosa for visits his impact was just as large.

But what Smith did to bring the 2012 recruiting class together is not his greatest accolade.  The 6-foot, 182-pounder from St. Pius X High School was rated as a four-star prospect by all major scouting services. His performance during his high school career surely validated those ratings.

Smith had three interceptions and 10 pass breakups as a sophomore, eight interceptions, 14 pass breakups and 47 tackles as a junior, and 80 tackles, three interceptions and more than 800 yards rushing as a senior. He is by far one of Alabama’s most versatile athletes from the 2012 class.

What Smith adds to the Crimson Tide cannot be understated. A good-sized cornerback that fits perfectly in a Nick Saban defense, Smith should make a lot of noise early in his career. While his first season may result in a redshirt, there is no doubt that Smith will be ready and able to play should he be called upon during the 2012 season.

He has excellent cover skills and and is known for being able to make phenomenal plays around the ball. His length is perhaps one of his biggest assets as he is always within reach of making a play on any pass thrown in his direction. He has been noted as being quite small and lean, but a few months at Alabama should help the talented cornerback bulk up.

With early enrollees and junior college transfers such as Deion Belue and Travell Dixon already having spent time learning what is required of defensive backs in Nick Saban and Kirby Smart’s defense, Smith likely won’t be in heavy contention for immediate playing time. He established himself as a great tackler during his years at St. Pius, and those skills will definitely help him should he be inserted into a special teams role.

Smith brings a diverse set of skills to the table and a passion for Alabama that cannot be undervalued. Whether Smith will see the field in 2012 remains to be seen, but the depth he brings as one of the nation’s top cornerback prospects coming out of high school will certainly help a Crimson Tide defensive backfield looking to replace two phenomenal talents at cornerback.

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