FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Florida State commitment Kendall Smith is one of the top linebackers in the country. He is preparing for the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl this week, and he has really stood out so far in practices.
"I have been getting a lot of help on my coverage skills this week," said Smith. "A lot of things I didn't learn at my high school I am learning here now, and it is helping me as a linebacker.
"I am more of a run-stopping guy really, but I have been getting better in coverage this week. I just like to play with speed and make big hits."
Speed is definitely something the Bushnell (Fla.) South Sumter standout doesn't lack.
"I have a lot of speed," said Smith. "That really helps me get to the ball and make a lot of plays. When I get there, I make the tackle and lay the wood to them. That is my style."
Smith will be using that speed in Tallahassee down the road.
"I picked Florida State over a lot of people," he said. "I picked them over Florida, Miami, South Carolina, Tennessee, N.C. State, and LSU. I just like their style of defense. I like how they get to the ball and how they play at full speed.
"That is what they liked about me when they came down to watch me play.
They said they liked my speed and they liked how I zipped to the ball."
This Rivals100 linebacker keeps his eye on other standouts, too.
"Of course I watch Earl Everett (UF LB that played South Sumter). He has a good head on his shoulders and he is known as a speed linebacker like me. I like to follow Ernie Simms, too. But my favorite linebacker is Ray Lewis. He is a beast."
Smith's childhood dream is close to being fulfilled.
"It has been a dream for me to play at Florida State since I was little,"
Smith said. "Me and my brother used to talk about it, and it is about to come true. My brother wanted to play at FSU too, but it didn't work out .I am fulfilling both of our dreams."
Before signing with FSU on Feb. 7, Smith has a big game to play.
"This (Offense-Defense Bowl) means a lot to me," he said. "Last week I played in the North-South game here in Florida, but now I am playing with some of the top athletes in the nation. This game shows you where you are really at."