Petey Smith is one of the top middle linebackers in Florida for the 2009 recruiting class. The two-time All-State prospect has been one of the best players in the Tampa area since his sophomore year. Now that his senior year is close, his recruitment has begun to heat up. "Recruiting is going real good right now. Auburn, Georgia and Ohio State have been recruiting me hard. Coach (Jim) Tressel came to my school the other day. That was pretty good. He brought the linebackers coach with him. Building a relationship with me is the goal for him, he said. I have offers from a lot of schools. I think I am over 20 now," said Smith.
Smith grew up a fan of the Florida State Seminoles and often dreamed about playing for them when his time came. So, is FSU in it for him and are they a school he is considering? He said, "Being that I grew up a fan of them, it could play a part. I kind of pushed them away from the table a bit when they didn't recruit my brother. Right now I don't get a lot of mail from them. Coach (Lawrence) Dawsey is my recruiting coach. He tells me to call him, and when I do he isn't available. I really haven't heard much from them at this time. I still have a while, but they aren't in my picture right now. Honestly, if they showed me interest and we built a relationship, they'd probably be my number 1 or I'd maybe be committed."
While it looks like FSU is not in the picture, it must be said that when/if they begin pursuing him, they'll be a favorite. Some people have thought that since his brother, Eric Smith, signed with Auburn, the Tigers may be a favorite. Petey talks about that, saying, "I'm going to go where is best for me, but it is going to play a little bit of a role. I am my own man and I want to go through my own recruiting process. I'd day right now I am pretty open. In the summer I plan on narrowing it down to 5-7 schools and just going from there."
Petey learned a lot from his brother's recruitment, but he is looking for aspects from a school that he wants. "Location is big for me. I want to stay close to home. Education is always important. I want to talk to the redshirts and back-ups to see if they are treated like the starters. That's really all I am looking for. I want the best overall fit, you know," said Smith.
The 6' 245 pound linebacker missed 7 games last year due to an abdominal injury. It cost him the majority of his junior season, but he was still able to account for over 70 stops on the season. He says leading into the summer there are things he wants to work on, saying, "I had the abdominal injury last year. I got hit real hard in that area and it hurt. The doctors said it may have come from when I was younger, but I'm not sure. It was like a hernia or something. I missed 7 games, but now I am good to go. I am just now getting to being 100%. I think that's why I put on the weight because I wasn't able to do what I need to. I'm planning on working on my quickness and losing weight. I want to get to around 230 before my season starts."
Stay tuned to NoleDigest with Petey and the rest of the 2009 recruiting class.