January 12, 2012
Smith: Alabama defense is best I've seen
After shutting out LSU in the BCS national championship and holding the Tigers' offense to under 100 yards in the game, the 2011 University of Alabama team is being considered one of the all-time great defenses in college football history.
Rivals100 cornerback Geno Smith may not be an expert yet, but the Crimson Tide commitment agrees this UA defense is one of the best he's ever seen.
"I'm no analyst, but that defense has to be ranked as one of the all-time greats," Smith said. "In a BCS championship game, they were able to hold an opponent to zero points, and the opponent wasn't able to get past the 50-yard line until the fourth quarter. It's definitely one of the best that I've ever seen."
As Smith prepares to one day play at Alabama, he knows there are some areas he could still work on, specifically getting off blocks. The Atlanta native watched UA cornerback DeQuan Menzie during Monday's game to see his technique.
"Specifically, I watched DeQuan Menzie," Smith said. "I know when I was at the Army game, one thing I needed to work on was getting off blocks, and DeQuan Menzie, he's a physical corner. He was able to get off blocks and make open-field tackles, so that was one thing I watched on him."
The national championship was the Crimson Tide's second in the last three years, and Smith is looking forward to continuing that legacy when he gets to Tuscaloosa. He believes this 2012 recruiting class can do special things.
"It's a great feeling just knowing that you're going into a winning program," Smith said. "The expectations are high and even higher now because they're coming off a 12-1 season with a BCS national championship. That's pretty cool.
"In high school, I was on a winning team, but we were never able to win a state championship. It was one of my bigger goals to win a state championship, but I feel like I have a great opportunity to win a national championship at Alabama, so I'm looking forward to it."
The week before Alabama's big victory, Smith got a chance to showcase his skills at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio. The game featured some of the top players in the country from coast to coast.
At the event, Smith roomed with fellow UA commitment T.J. Yeldon.
"For me and T.J. at the Army game, we had a great time," Smith said. "We roomed together, and we had a chance to bond and hang out together. We also hung out with Dillon Lee, who came later in the week. All three of us hung out quite a bit."
During the game, Smith got a first-hand look at how talented and athletic Yeldon is. The five-star running back hurdled his future teammate, leaving Smith on the ground in amazement. Yeldon hurdled three different players in the game.
"The first thing that got me was I was rooming with him the whole week, and just knowing him, you would never think he was the type to jump over somebody," Smith said. "He's a big kid. It seems like he was kind of a power runner, but he did it three times. He hurdled three players in that game. He's pretty good. I'm looking forward to being on the same team with him and competing."
Now that he's finished with football, Smith is leaning towards running track his senior year to help stay in shape. He also plans to hit the weight room hard this spring before he enrolls at UA in June.
Reach Greg Ostendorf at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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