In late May, the Texas Longhorns extended a relatively surprising offer to undersized Miami (Fla.) Jackson defensive end Shemar Smith.
Now the Longhorns are at the top of the 6'1, 197-pounder's list, according to Scout:
"That's my No. 1 school, but I haven't committed there yet," Smith said. "I'm going to wait until I officially visit to commit. I like the tradition of the Longhorns, and me and the coaches have a good bond. They talk about academics, so that's a plus right there."
The official visit will happen for the September 26 contest against Oklahoma State, so circle that date on the calendar as one that could produce a commitment from the consensus two-star prospect who is ranked as the No. 134 outside linebacker nationally in the 247Sports Composite rankings.
Smith also holds offers from schools like Illinois, Indiana, Louisville, Oregon State, Purdue, and Syracuse, among others. It's not exactly full of power programs. Combining that fact with head coach Charlie Strong's sterling reputation devleoping players from South Florid makes it easy to understand why the Horns are "pretty far ahead" of everyone else at this point.
But how much sense would it make to accept a commitment from Smith? As evidenced by the offer, Strong clearly sees something that he likes, but he doesn't have ideal size to play in a three-point stance on the defensive line, needs to put on a significant amount of weight, and posted a 4.84 40-yard dash and 4.78 shuttle at The Opening Miami Regional this year.
However, there's no question that his on-field production in pads is much more impressive than his measurables. And players coming from South Florida tend to possess higher upside than their Texas counterparts, who benefit from better coaching and strength and conditioning programs. It's quite possible that Smith could add 20 pounds or more of muscle quite quickly at Texas and blossom into a contributor at the Fox end position.
Given that the Horns have missed on so many in-state edge rushers to fill the critical position in Strong's defense, taking a commitment from Smith makes more sense now than it would have when he originally picked up his offer. Even in a vacuum, if Strong thinks that a raw kid from South Florid can succeed in his system, he's probably right.