The Gamecocks picked up a surprise commitment over the weekend: 5'11 / 185 ATH Jamari Smith, who projects as a running back. Smith is rated as a three-star prospect by the major services. He had offers from Auburn, Arkansas, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, Penn State, and Wake Forest among others. He reportedly chose Carolina over Auburn and Wake. As you might assume based on the interest in places like Tech and Wake, Smith is a good student in addition to being a good athlete. He rushed for over 2000 yards and over 20 TDs last year at Fletcher / Neptune Beach, FL, an impressive feat considering the quality of the league he played in.
After watching his film, I'm pretty excited about what this kid can do for us. He's got decent size--not quite a Lattimore, but with his frame, you'd think he can get well above 200. He's also very fast. He's been clocked as having as low as a 4.4 40, and you get a taste of that from watching the Youtube highlights and seeing him blow past defensive backs. Lastly, he seems like a smart back with good vision, one who picks his holes well and doesn't dance around. He keeps rocking down the field until someone stops him. It should also be noted that he is an accomplished defensive back, so if he finds himself crowded down on the depth chart at running back, perhaps he can help us on defense.
I've seen some concern expressed that we shouldn't have accepted a commitment from Smith this early in the process while we still have more highly rated prospects on the board, but I wouldn't worry too much about that. If David Williams or Greg Bryant want to come, you have to think that the staff will figure out a way to make thing work unless our backs are absolutely to the wall. Don't forget; the staff may want to take two backs this year. Kenny Miles is graduating and Marcus Lattimore may declare for the NFL Draft.