John 'JuJu' Smith is going to be one of those players who will light up highlight reels all year long. The Long Beach (Calif.) Poly High athlete is already being heavily targeted by most of the West Coast schools.
Smith is an athlete and is being recruited either as a safety or a wide receiver. He stands at 6'1 and weighs 190 pounds, giving him more of a frame suited for the defensive side of the football, but there's a good chance he can stand to play on either side. Smith is a consensus four-star recruit. 247Sports places him 19th, ranking him the third-best safety and the second-best prospect out of the state of California. Rivals ranks him 111th nationally. ESPN notes his versatility, his ball skills, and his ability to make plays.
Smith enjoys offers from UCLA, USC, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Cal, Washington, Arizona, Arizona State and other programs.
Derrell Warren, SB Nation West Coast Recruiting Analyst (@yssd): Smith is one of the top recruits in the country. A two-way player, he projects best on defense but is also impressive lined up as a pass catcher as well. From a physical standpoint Smith possesses a near prototypical size for his likely college position of safety.
Smith has excellent body control for such a big-framed kid. On offense this attribute is shown with his ability to contort his frame to adjust to off-target throws. He also exhibits plus level suddenness when executing double moves as a receiver, able to turn his hips to sell a sharp cut before accelerating vertically.
Smith is relatively new to the safety position but flashes the ability to redirect in space and close quickly. He is efficient with his footwork and takes great routes to the play. Would like to see him be slightly more decisive when coming downhill versus the run, but is a physical striker with great balance.
An excellent pass defender, Smith has some of the best ball skills of any player in the nation (regardless of position), consistently winning in "50/50 ball" situations by using his big frame to get in position to make plays on the football.
Due to how big he projects to get physically, Smith might be best served operating in a two-deep shell alignment or as a box defender in cover three. Regardless, he carries the upside to mature into a multi-year starter at a high BCS program with All-Conference and All-American potential.
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