Miramar, Florida quarterback Eugene Smith made West Virginia fans and coaches ecstatic on Monday by choosing the Mountaineers. In the process he turned down offers from several other high-profile programs.
The 6-foot-3, 182-pound athletic signal-caller made his verbal commitment public today, becoming one of the newest additions to West Virginia's Class of 2009.
"I decided (to commit) over the weekend and I made it official after football practice," Smith explained. "I was on the air on a radio station in West Virginia.
"It was just a gut feeling. The decision had a lot to do with playing time, so that was a big part of it. It also helped being around the coaches and players, and sensing that family vibe. The entire atmosphere was great, and I loved everything about the campus."
Smith took an official visit to West Virginia over the weekend and that was enough to close the deal. However, he made it clear that he is only a soft verbal commitment and plans on evaluating all his options as the process goes on.
"I'm a soft verbal," he said. "I'm not closing the door on schools as far as recruiting goes. I'm still going to evaluate everyone else fairly and take some visits. Right now I just feel like West Virginia is where I'm supposed to be.
"I do plan on taking visits to LSU and South Florida as of right now. I'm not sure who else I'll visit, but those two are the main ones other than West Virginia."
Smith has spoken with a coach from West Virginia since his visit ended and that was to let him know of his decision.
"I spoke with Coach (John "Doc") Holliday and he was very excited. He told me I was making a good decision and he really wants me to be a Mountaineer. He was just really excited for me. I told him I'm going to evaluate my other options and he said that was fair. He just wants me to keep them in the front of my mind."