Abdul Smith, the 6-foot, 185-pound three-star cornerback/safety from Perkiomen School in Pennsburg, Pa., primarily played quarterback as a junior, finishing the season with 800 yards passing for eight touchdowns. He also had 900 yards rushing with 10 scores on the ground. Defensively, he had about 60 tackles and four interceptions.
"I know the game really well," Smith said. "I love watching tape and studying game film. I'm a true student of the game.
"I'm a great athlete too and know which angles to take and which cuts to take," he said. "I'm an all-around type player, but I played mostly quarterback and safety, so I need to get better at corner. I want to work on my back pedal and my footwork. I'd like to get faster too (claims to run a 4.5 forty, but was timed at 4.7 at the Pittsburgh Scout.com combine)."
Smith, Scout.com's No. 27 safety, has around 20 scholarship offers, but says he still hasn't come up with a solid top five. "I'm looking at a lot of schools still," he stated. "I'll probably start narrowing them down soon."
One school that is sure to be in Smith's top five is Maryland. "They're probably my favorite right now," he added. "I've been up there several times and I'm really comfortable there. I'm good friends with (sophomore linebacker) Dominique Herald too. He's real cool and he'd like it if I went there too. But he said that when I go to a school, I'll just know when it's right.
"Maryland always seem to go to bowl games," he said. "And they need defensive backs, so it would be a good opportunity to play early."
Another plus for the Terps is their location. Smith attends boarding school in Pennsylvania, but lives in New Jersey (about one and half hours away) with his dad. His mom, however, lives in North Carolina. "Maryland is pretty much right in between my mom and my dad," he said.
"I'd like to have a chance to play early and be somewhere I feel like I could live and be happy for four to five years," Smith said. "I'd also like to get my degree and good to a school with a good business program."
Smith says that Maryland now leads slightly over Pittsburgh, Penn State, Colorado and Iowa. All of his favorites have offered as well as Auburn, Cincinnati, Louisville, Purdue, Boston College, Virginia, Syracuse and Temple, among others. Curiously absent from Smith's offer list is local favorite Rutgers.
"That's been a surprising question mark," Smith admitted. "I live in Jersey and am about 30 minutes away from Rutgers. They've been recruiting me, but not hard. It's been really back and forth and I don't know why that is.
"I've looked at their depth chart and they need defensive backs, so I guess they must feel like they'll get some of the guys they've already offered. They said they want me to come to camp, but I'm not going to any camps this summer. If they offer me within the next few weeks, they'll have a shot to make my top five. But if it's like a month or more, I don't think I'll be looking at them anymore."
Smith says he plans to start narrowing his final list soon. "I'd like to narrow it down to a final six or seven this summer and then make some more cuts early in the fall. I plan to take all five of my visits and really get a good look at all the schools."
Besides Maryland, the only other two schools he's already visited are Pittsburgh and Penn State. "I'm going back to visit Pittsburgh this weekend (June 14)," he said. "I like the talent they have and they are only going to be getting better. Coach Dave Wannstedt is a great coach and Pittsburgh is a great sports town."
Smith says he was equally impressed by Penn State. "It was a great experience," he said. "They are a top-ranked program and it's a crazy college town. It's a huge stadium and it's just crazy there. They love the football team.
"I really like getting to talk with coach Joe Paterno," he said. "He's a funny guy and he's got more energy than most head coaches. It was like a dream talking to him because you never expect something like that to happen. He says he wants to go out winning a big one, so I think he'll be around for a while."
Another school that Smith says he may try and visit is Iowa. "(Linebacker) coach Darrell Wilson is a Jersey guy and he's recruiting me," he said. "I also talked with (head) coach Kirk Ferentz a few days ago and he writes me personal notes like a few times a week.
"I really like the players they've had and the guys they've sent to the pros," he said. "They always are a great defensive team. And they have one of the best grad rates in the Big 10."
The first school to pull the trigger and offer Smith was Colorado, shortly after Smith's sophomore year. "They have a great defense too," he said. "I like the defensive back coach (Greg Brown). He's been everywhere and has coached like two defensive All-Americas and even coached in the NFL. He has a great track record and his stats speak for themselves.
"Colorado is an up-and-coming program and they just signed a really good recruiting class," he said. "I'm excited about the direction the program is going."
Smith said he feels that the Buffs may be a bit far away, but says that won't be a major factor. "I think I'd still like to go there and see what it's like."
Growing up Smith says he followed Florida State, but says he's not considering the 'Noles. "I used to like them a lot," he said. "I don't even know why I followed them. I guess it was because they won a lot. But I didn't send them a tape or anything. I'm not planning on going there."
Smith also plays basketball and was his team's leading scorer as a sophomore with 15 points per game. As a junior he averaged 13 points, five assists, five steals and four rebounds per game. He only plans on playing football in college.
He says he can bench 225-pounds 17 times. He squats 450 and has a 35-inch vertical jump.
Smith plans to major in business management and reports a 2.6 core GPA and a 1360 SAT (three-part), which he retook on June 7.