St. Louis Honolulu defensive end Scott Smith gave the Bears word today that he committed to Cal. The 6-7/240 Smith was a high priority for the Bears, with the impending graduation of defensive ends Nu’u Tafisi, Abu Ma’afala and Steve Kelly and a serious injury to Philip Mbakogu, who missed all of the 2006 season when his knee failed to respond to surgery.
“We’re very proud and very happy for Scott,” said Brenda Smith, Scott’s mother.
The Smith’s hosted Cal Head Coach Jeff Tedford and Defensive Line Coach Ken Delgado this week before Smith made his decision.
“Both are fantastic people,” said Mrs. Smith. “Coach Tedford really moved us both. We just liked everything he had to say. And Coach Delgado –they’re both great people. We’re just really glad we were all able to make this decision.
“We really think that Cal’s the best place for Scott,” said Smith’s father, George. “Coach Tedford’s a heck of a coach and a heck of a person and with Coach Delgado, he’s patient in his coaching and we were really impressed by both of them. They’re just good people, with nothing but positive things to say – about Scott and about all the other programs that wanted him.
“Coach Tedford’s a quality guy,” continued Smith. “The way he dealt with Tyson Alualu (another St. Louis grad) when he had his issues –he stood by him and held a spot for him. That all stands for something.
“We just felt with Cal being ranked so highly, it was a great opportunity for Scott. A lot of other programs talked about what they were going to do in the future, but Cal’s there. We don’t have to wait for that to happen. Scott will be going into a winning program and it’s a good situation.”
The recruiting battle for Smith increased in intensity in recent weeks.
“It’s really tough for Scott because the other programs that are recruiting him aren’t letting go and he’s established some good relationships with coaches,” said Smith’s father. “But hopefully they’ll just respect Scott’s decision and let him enjoy the moment.”
Smith put up numbers as big as his frame for the talented St. Louis squad this season, racking up 14 sacks as well as an interception returned 35 yards for a td. Smith is rated the #5 prospect overall in the state of Hawaii this year. Smith was also rated 1st team All-State by the Honolulu Advertiser.
Smith led the Crusaders to the Hawaii state championships this year, with 11-1/7-0 St. Louis suffering a tough last-second loss to state champion Kahuku in a 7-6 nailbiter.
Smith was off the recruiting radar for a while, having missed time with a pulled hip muscle. However, Smith recovered and got noticed in a hurry, earning ILH league Defensive Player of the Year for St. Louis.
Smith is also busy on the hardwood, playing center for the Crusaders this winter and dominating the front court with teammate and fellow Cal recruit Solomona Aigamaua. The duo combined for 24 points and 12 rebounds in their victory over Kamehameha last night for the 3rd ranked Crusaders.
The Bears beat out Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Boise State and Hawaii for Smith’s services.
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